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Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002


Section 152: Arrest by immigration officer

383.At present, the employment offence in section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 does not carry the power of arrest. To date the only way that it has been possible to make arrests by relying on police powers in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”).

384.However, these powers only apply to constables and do not allow immigration officers to make arrests. Section 152 adds a separate power of arrest by warrant in relation to the section 8 offence. In addition, it remedies an anomaly in relation to offences under section 24(1)(d) of the Immigration Act 1971 – failure to comply with a requirement to report to, attend or submit to a medical examination. There is currently a power under section 28B of the 1971 Act to enter premises under a warrant in order to search for and arrest someone who is liable to be arrested for the section 24(1)(d) offence, but there is currently no free-standing power of arrest. Section 152 provides one.

Sections 153 and 154: Power of entry and to search for evidence

385.Section 153 gives immigration officers and police officers the power to enter business premises to search for, and, where appropriate, arrest immigration offenders where they have reasonable grounds for believing that such an offender is on the premises. Authorisation to use this power must be given by a senior officer (either an Assistant Director of Immigration or a Chief Superintendent of police) and is valid for a period of seven days beginning on the day it was given.

386.Section 154 gives immigration officers and police constables powers to search business premises without having to obtain a warrant if a person liable to arrest for an offence under section 24 or section 24(A) of the 1971 Act or paragraph 17 of Schedule 2 to that Act has been found on those premises, and the officer reasonably believes that an offence under section 8 of the 1996 Act has been committed and that there are employee records on the premises which are likely to be of substantial value in the investigation of the offence. These powers also allow the constable or immigration officer to seize records of value to the investigation of an immigration employment offence or an offence under section 105 or 106 of the 1999 Act. However, they do not allow items subject to legal privilege to be seized.

387.Separately, section154 also gives immigration officers a power to obtain a warrant in order to search business premises by warrant where the officer reasonably believes that the employer has provided inaccurate or incomplete information under the compulsory disclosure provisions of section 134 of this Act. Officers will be able to seize and retain employee records (other than items subject to legal privilege) where they suspect that they will be of substantial value to the investigation of an offence under section 137 of this act or under section 105 or 106 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Section 156: Time limit on prosecution

388.Where an offence is triable only summarily, proceedings have to be brought within 6 months of the offence being committed unless the legislation provides for a longer period. Offences under section 24A and 25 of the 1971 Act will no longer be summary offences. Section 156 amends the sections of the 1971 Act which provide that an extended time limit shall apply in respect of those offences accordingly.

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