Explanatory Notes

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002

2002 CHAPTER 41

7 November 2002


Part 1 - Nationality

4.The provisions:

Part 2 - Accommodation Centres

5.Part 2 of the Act makes provision for the introduction of accommodation centres, built or adapted to accommodate and provide services for a number of asylum-seekers and their dependants on one site. The centres will be introduced on a trial basis. A proportion of new asylum-seekers who request, and are eligible for, support will be offered places in accommodation centres. Those who refuse the offer of a place, voluntarily cease to reside in a centre or breach their conditions of residence will not qualify for other forms of support. The centres may provide for a number of facilities and services, including:

Part 3 - Other Support and Assistance

6.The new asylum system will be based on a network of induction, accommodation and reporting centres as well as existing National Asylum Support Service (“NASS”) accommodation. Part 3 of the Act enables reporting and residence requirements to be imposed on all asylum-seekers and allows for the discontinuation of support to asylum-seekers who fail without reasonable cause to report as required. The Act also includes a number of provisions about the way in which those in the asylum system are supported. It also includes a provision for the Secretary of State to make payments to local authorities and voluntary organisations to reimburse them for the support they have provided for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (“UASCs”). This does not affect the amount paid to local authorities.

7.Part 3 of the Act also contains provisions making certain categories of person ineligible for support unless provision is made in regulations to the contrary. Examples include those who have refugee status in another EU Member State and persons unlawfully in the UK. Part 3 additionally prohibits, subject to certain exceptions, the provision of support to asylum seekers who fail to make their asylum claim as soon as reasonably practicable after their arrival in the UK.

8.This Part of the Act also contains provision enabling funding of a voluntary assisted return programme (“VARP”) and international projects. The VARP is a means by which assistance is provided to asylum-seekers who wish to return home. The current VARP scheme is administered for the Home Office by the International Organisation for Migration in partnership with Refugee Action. Examples of international projects that may be funded under the power include resettlement and the "interception assisted return programmes". The power would allow funding of a United Kingdom resettlement programme which would allow a scheme to be established whereby those who cannot be protected in their region of origin may be entitled to have their claim for protection considered before they reach the United Kingdom, and enable the cost of their travel and settlement here to be met. Any resettlement programme would operate in addition to the current asylum determination procedures. This provision also enables the Secretary of State to participate in research projects relating to migration, and fund organisations and bodies that are involved in such projects.

Part 4 - Detention and Removal

9.Part 4 of the Act contains a number of measures designed to simplify the process of removing those who have no right to stay in the United Kingdom. These include:

10.This Part also contains a provision allowing a residence restriction to be imposed on an asylum-seeker requiring him to reside for up to 14 days at a specified location at or near a place where an induction programme is to be made available to him. In addition a provision has been included which creates a rebuttable presumption that someone who has been convicted of a crime and given a custodial sentence of two years or more or an offence specified by order has been convicted of a particularly serious crime and is a danger to the community for the purposes of Article 33(2) of the Refugee Convention and accordingly cannot rely on that Convention to prevent their removal.

Part 5 - Appeals

11.The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (“the 1999 Act”) introduced a one-stop appeal requiring an adjudicator considering an immigration appeal to deal with any other appealable matters raised by the applicant at the same time. The provisions in Part 5 of the Act aim to re-structure the appeals system and will:

Part 6 - Immigration Procedure

12.Part 6 of the Act contains provisions that allow a fee to be set for work permit applications, and bring work permit advice within the remit of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

13.The Act also contains provisions to introduce a scheme to require physical data, such as iris or facial images, to accompany applications to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State may also operate a scheme to allow people voluntarily to provide such data to assist their entry into the United Kingdom. There is also provision which allows the introduction of an Authority- to-carry ("ATC") scheme. This provides for regulations to require carriers to check the details of passengers against a Home Office database to confirm that they pose no known immigration or security risk.

14.The Secretary of State will also be able to require an employer, financial institution, or local authority to supply him with specified information. The Inland Revenue will be able to supply specified information to the Secretary of State for certain purposes, and port medical inspectors and staff working under their direction will be able to disclose information to specified health service bodies where necessary for certain medical purposes. The disclosure gateway at section 20 of the 1999 Act is also extended.

15.This Part also introduces Schedule 8, which amends the existing carriers’ liability provisions in Part II of the 1999 Act. This establishes a more flexible penalty regime, introduces a statutory right of appeal and modifies the provisions for the detention of transporters. The provisions also apply to the rail freight regime (section 39 of the 1999 Act) and the carriers’ liability regime (sections 40 to 42 of the 1999 Act).

16.Part 6 also includes provision for a power that would allow the UK to operate immigration and other frontier controls at an European Economic Area sea port such as Calais, subject to an international agreement. In addition, it would allow the Secretary of State to make any necessary legislative arrangements to accommodate French immigration control in UK Channel ports such as Dover.

Part 7 - Offences

17.Part 7 of the Act includes new criminal offences of: assisting unlawful immigration; trafficking of people into, out of or within the UK for the purpose of prostitution; forgery and similar activities relating to the Application Registration Card; failure to comply with a notice requesting information in respect of suspected immigration offending; and an offence relating to the possession of an immigration stamp, whether genuine or a replica, without a reasonable excuse. This part also amends and modifies the law on offences relating to the employment of persons who are subject to immigration control; This Part also contains provisions which give police and immigration officers the power to enter business premises to search for and arrest immigration offenders, and to inspect and seize personnel records following the arrest of an immigration offender on those premises.