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Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Section 29: Facilitation of entry

108.Under section 25(1) of the 1971 Act, it is an offence knowingly to facilitate the entry of illegal entrants, knowingly to facilitate for gain the entry of asylum claimants and knowingly to facilitate the obtaining of leave to remain by deception. Section 29 amends section 25 of the 1971 Act in the following ways.

109.Subsection (2) increases the maximum custodial sentence that can be imposed following a conviction on indictment from seven years to ten years’ imprisonment. This follows comments by the Court of Appeal earlier this year suggesting that an increase was necessary to allow flexibility when sentencing people convicted of a single act of facilitation relating to the entry of a number of people.

110.Under section 25(1) of the 1971 Act, as amended by the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, it is an offence to facilitate the entry of an asylum claimant. Section 25(1A) of the 1971 Act makes further provisions in relation to this offence which are replicated in subsection (3) of this clause. However, subsection (3) also extends the definition of asylum claimant to include someone who intends to seek protection under the ECHR. Currently, the offence under section 25(1) does not apply to the actions of those who are employed by bona fide refugee organisations. Subsection (3) extends this so that the offence does not apply to the actions of those who are employed by any bona fide organisation whose purposes include providing assistance to people in the position of the asylum claimant in question.

111.Under section 25(5) of the 1971 Act, actions committed by a British citizen (or a British Dependent Territories citizen, British Overseas citizen, British subject or British protected person) outside the United Kingdom in order to facilitate the entry of an illegal entrant are an offence under United Kingdom law. Subsection (4) extends this to such actions committed in order to facilitate the entry of an asylum claimant where this is done for gain. (Facilitating the entry of an asylum claimant is not an offence if it is done otherwise than for gain or by someone in the course of their employment by a bona fide organisation whose purpose it is to assist persons in the position of the asylum claimant.)

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