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Written Question
British National (Overseas): Airports
Thursday 15th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders to use e-gates at the UK border.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Government regularly reviews eGate eligibility for all groups, including British Nationals (Overseas). We have set out an ambitious vision for the future border in the New Plan for Immigration and remain committed to increasing the use of automation amongst those currently eligible and exploring options to allow more cohorts to use eGates.


Written Question
British National (Overseas): Voluntary Work
Thursday 8th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing British National (Overseas) passport holders to undertake voluntary work as (a) sportspersons and (b) sports coaches.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The restriction on working as a professional sportsperson applies to those holding permission on certain visa routes, including the British National (Overseas) visa. If an individual meets any of the indicators listed in the definition of a professional sportsperson at Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, they are classified as such, and if the restriction on work as a professional sportsperson is present in their visa conditions, they would therefore be breaching the terms of their visa.

However, it is not this Government’s intention to restrict anyone coming to the UK and taking part in sport recreationally. ‘Amateur’ is defined in the Immigration Rules as:

“Amateur” means a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.”


Written Question
British National (Overseas): Pensions
Wednesday 7th February 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the documentation provided to British National Overseas passport holders to access mandatory provident fund monies.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The UK firmly opposes the discrimination that British National (Overseas) status holders are facing in applying for early withdrawal of their pension funds held by the Mandatory Provident Fund in Hong Kong. The documentary requirements for accessing the scheme are a matter for the Hong Kong authorities. We have urged them to facilitate the early drawdown of funds as is the case for other Hong Kong residents who move overseas permanently and will continue to do so.


Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department provides (a) training and (b) guidance to accommodation providers on how to assess suitability for room sharing between unrelated adults in addition to that which is required by the Asylum Accommodation and Support contracts.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers in our care is of paramount importance to the Home Office. The Asylum Accommodation Support Contract (AASC) Statement of Requirements below gives a detailed breakdown of all of the services to be undertaken by our accommodation providers and to the standards we expect. This includes training requirements for provider staff, room sharing guidance and suitability requirements, and guidance on incidents of harassment. Full details of our polices: AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf (parliament.uk).

When considering room sharing facilities, we will ensure that rooms are an appropriate size for the number of occupants and the occupancy in each bedroom shall not exceed that specified in the appropriate space standard, as defined in relevant legislation and/or in local authority licensing requirements, as well as ensuring that we are adhering to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance where applicable. Room sharing with friends is encouraged and the Home Office encourage individuals to speak to their housing officer if they know someone that they would like to share a room with. Every effort will be made for room sharing with a friend or family member, if they are the same gender. All personal circumstances will be considered before deciding if room sharing is suitable.

The Home Office has published the Asylum Support Contracts Safeguarding Framework at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-support-contracts-safeguarding-framework. This framework sets out a joint, overarching approach, as well as the key controls and reporting mechanisms in place, across the AASC contracts, for safeguarding arrangements.

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns regarding accommodation or support services, and they can get information about how to obtain further support.


Written Question
Asylum: Temporary Accommodation
Monday 15th January 2024

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what guidance his Department provides to asylum accommodation providers on how to respond to incidents of harassment in asylum accommodation.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers in our care is of paramount importance to the Home Office. The Asylum Accommodation Support Contract (AASC) Statement of Requirements below gives a detailed breakdown of all of the services to be undertaken by our accommodation providers and to the standards we expect. This includes training requirements for provider staff, room sharing guidance and suitability requirements, and guidance on incidents of harassment. Full details of our polices: AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf (parliament.uk).

When considering room sharing facilities, we will ensure that rooms are an appropriate size for the number of occupants and the occupancy in each bedroom shall not exceed that specified in the appropriate space standard, as defined in relevant legislation and/or in local authority licensing requirements, as well as ensuring that we are adhering to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance where applicable. Room sharing with friends is encouraged and the Home Office encourage individuals to speak to their housing officer if they know someone that they would like to share a room with. Every effort will be made for room sharing with a friend or family member, if they are the same gender. All personal circumstances will be considered before deciding if room sharing is suitable.

The Home Office has published the Asylum Support Contracts Safeguarding Framework at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-support-contracts-safeguarding-framework. This framework sets out a joint, overarching approach, as well as the key controls and reporting mechanisms in place, across the AASC contracts, for safeguarding arrangements.

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns regarding accommodation or support services, and they can get information about how to obtain further support.


Written Question
Hate Crime: Transgender People
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Official Statistics on Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2022 to 2023, published on 5 October 2023, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the increase in hate crime against transgender people; and what steps her Department plans to take to tackle hate crime against transgender people.

Answered by Sarah Dines

The Government is clear that all forms of hate crime - including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime - are completely unacceptable.

We have a robust legislative framework in place and expect the police fully to investigate these abhorrent offences and make sure those who commit them feel the full force of the law.

Whilst part of the increase in transgender hate crime may be due to a genuine rise, the biggest driver is likely to be general improvement in police recording and identification of a hate crime, along with increased victim willingness to come forward. This is positive and reflects the hard work that has gone in to ensuring that police can target their resources, understand the scale of the challenge and ensure that victims get the support they need.

Our absolute priority is to get more police into our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting police by providing them with the resources they need, including having recruited 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023. We also engage with relevant stakeholders when appropriate to do so.


Written Question
Asylum
Monday 23rd October 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC on 26 September 2023, whether she plans to change the asylum application process for people applying on the basis of persecution due to a protected characteristic.

Answered by Robert Jenrick

To support decision-makers and our Courts we have clearly defined what persecution means in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. This includes providing a non-exhaustive list of examples of the types of acts which may constitute persecution.

Under Paragraph 328 of the Immigration Rules, all asylum applications continue to be decided in accordance with the Refugee Convention.


Written Question
Hate Crime: Transphobia
Monday 22nd May 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle the rise in transphobic hate crime.

Answered by Sarah Dines

The Government takes all forms of hate crime seriously. We expect the police to investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.

We also welcome the apparent greater willingness to report hate crimes to the police and that the police are better at identifying them. That helps to explain the increase seen in hate crime.

Our absolute priority is to get more police into our streets, cut crime, protect the public and bring more criminals to justice. We are supporting police by providing them with the resources they need. This has included the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers.

The Government has also worked with the police to fund True Vision, an online hate crime reporting portal, designed so that victims of hate crime do not have to visit a police station to report. The Government also funds the National Online Hate Crime Hub, a central capability designed to support individual local police forces in dealing with online hate crime. The Hub provides expert advice to police forces to support them in investigating these offences.


Written Question
Immigration: EU Nationals
Tuesday 7th March 2023

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many EU Settlement Scheme advice services funded by her Department will be continued in London beyond 31 March 2023.

Answered by Robert Jenrick

From the launch of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) in March 2019 the Home Office has made available £29 million in grant funding to a nationwide network of now 60 civil society organisations. The network has supported more than 480,000 vulnerable individuals to apply to the EUSS.

The Home Office is currently considering options for future support in line with changing demand.

Alongside the grant-funded network, there is support for vulnerable individuals available through the Settlement Resolution Centre which provides telephone and email assistance to applicants, and We Are Digital which provides technical support for applicants in completing the online application process. There are also several hundred organisations registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner which provide immigration advice, including for those applying to the EUSS.


Written Question
Motor Vehicles: Crime
Wednesday 1st June 2022

Asked by: Elliot Colburn (Conservative - Carshalton and Wallington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce (a) theft of a vehicle, (b) theft from a vehicle, (c) trespass on public or private land with a vehicle, (d) alteration of a vehicle with the intent to cause anti-social behaviour and (e) other crimes and anti-social behaviours involving vehicles.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Government is working closely with police and motor manufacturers through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, chaired by the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime, to tackle theft of, and from, vehicles, including catalytic converters. The Metropolitan Police Service is represented on the Working Group, and a network of vehicle crime specialists from every force in England and Wales shares information about emerging trends and how to tackle regional issues.

The Home Office funded the set-up of the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership, which is ensuring the national co-ordination of policing and law enforcement partners to tackle metal and other theft. The partnership shares intelligence to target offenders, and implements crime prevention measures. The British Transport Police, through the NICRP, has conducted three national weeks of actions resulting in 92 arrests, over 2,000 site visits, over 1,000 stolen catalytic converters recovered, and the catalytic converters of over 3,000 vehicles forensically marked. This has helped to promote awareness, with over 1,000 officers trained in enforcement powers to deal with scrap metal dealers, and has seen a significant reduction in catalytic converter thefts. The Metropolitan Police Service have also co-ordinated their own operations to tackle these thefts.

The Government is working with partner agencies to ensure effective use of powers in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to tackle all forms of anti-social behaviour including involving vehicles. The statutory guidance was updated last year to ensure a victim-centered approach to tackling ASB. ASB is one of the primary crime and issue types being targeted in the fourth round of the Safer Streets Fund.