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19 June 2006 / Issue 41

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Minority Ethnic Matters Overview

19 June 2006 / Issue 41


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Immigration and Asylum

Race Relations

Race Equality


Other Holyrood

New Publications

Other News

Bills in Progress


Events/Conferences/Training Courses

Useful Links

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Immigration and Asylum

Holyrood Debate
Migrant Workers (Highlands)

Holyrood Parliamentary Motions
Rob Gibson (S2M-4540): Deportation of Immigrants—That the Parliament deplores the arbitrary nature of the recent Home Office initiative to deport immigrants with a criminal record without any apparent distinction being made based on the severity and circumstances of each case prosecuted; notes heavy-handed practices of the police and immigration officials which it considers could fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights, and urges the Scottish Executive, in light of its Fresh Talent initiative, to make the case for immigrants caught in the Home Office deportation initiative whose removal would deprive communities on the mainland and islands of Scotland of well-integrated citizens.

Immigration and Asylum

Holyrood Parliamentary Motions (continued)
Rob Gibson (S2M-4557): Sakchai Makao—That the Parliament notes that Sakchai Makao has resided in Shetland for 13 years; considers that Sakchai Makao has made a positive contribution to the local community both before and after his prison sentence; recognises Sakchai Makao’s good standing within that community and the widespread support that he has received from people from Shetland and further afield, and notes the concerns that have been expressed in relation to his recent arrest and possible deportation.
Maureen Macmillan (S2M-4556): Sakchai Makao—That the Parliament notes the arrest with a view to deportation of Sakchai Makao, a 23-year-old Thai national who has lived in Shetland since he was 10 years old; recognises that Sakchai Makao has a criminal record due to a fire-raising incident but also recognises that he has been accepted back into the Shetland community without reservation, and notes the extensive support which he is receiving from the Shetland community in relation to his current situation.

Westminster Motion for Approval

House of Lords
Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) Regulations 2006

Baroness Scotland of Asthal rose to move, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 2 May be approved [26th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the regulations enable an authorised person to require any person who applies for entry clearance to provide a record of his fingerprints and a photograph of his face. The regulations also enable an authorised person to require any person who is in possession of a 1951 Refugee Convention travel document that is endorsed with an entry clearance and who seeks leave to enter the United Kingdom to provide a record of his fingerprints and a photograph of his face. In practice, an authorised person will be an immigration officer or entry clearance officer.

The regulations are made under Section 126 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Section 126 provides that the Secretary of State may by regulations require an immigration application to be accompanied by specified information about the external characteristics of the applicant or enable an authorised person to require an applicant to provide such information.

For continuation of motion see:

Immigration and Asylum (continued)

Westminster Parliamentary Questions
Andrew Robathan [76095]: What representations he has received on the allocation of national insurance numbers to illegal immigrants.

Reply from James Plaskitt: I have had a number of representations from hon. Members. Since the inception of the national insurance system in 1948, the allocation of a number has never been designed to confirm that an individual has the right to live or work in the United Kingdom. However, in order to tighten the system further and to build on improvements that we already made in 2001 and again in 2004, we propose to introduce a right-to-work condition that will have to be satisfied before a number is issued.

Andrew Robathan: I am pleased that the Government have finally taken note of this matter, but it was six years ago, in May 2000, that Lord Grabiner brought out his report, which highlighted the issue of illegal immigrants making national insurance applications. Why has the change taken six years? Why has it taken the Home Office scandals and fiasco to bring focus to this matter? I hope that the Minister will not tell us that the Government did act in 2000 and that everything was rosy, because if it was, why did they need to change the rules last week?

Reply from James Plaskitt: The hon. Gentleman should refresh his memory of what Lord Grabiner actually said. In paragraph 4.15 of his report, he said:

“It is unlikely that a large proportion of illegal immigrants claim benefits...However, to the extent that they do...this is likely to be linked to...identity fraud.”

His specific recommendation was about identity fraud. We enacted it within a year by the introduction of the enhanced national insurance allocation system. In 2004, we amended his Government’s legislation to strengthen the controls that employers have an obligation to put into place. The third improvement that we are making is to introduce the right-to-work condition. He should welcome that.

Continuation of extended question and answer session see:
David Jones [76102]: What estimate he has made of how much has been paid in benefits to illegal immigrants issued with national insurance numbers in the past five years.

Reply from James Plaskitt: An employment-related national insurance number would usually be issued to third country nationals only if they presented proof of employment. If our officials had grounds to suspect illegal working, the matter would be referred to the immigration and nationality directorate. Our proposed right-to-work check will strengthen those arrangements.

Furthermore, possession of a national insurance number in itself is insufficient evidence to gain access to social security benefits. Robust checks to confirm identity, as recommended by the Grabiner report, are in operation.

David Jones: The Minister has already quoted Lord Grabiner. However, is he aware that last week Lord Grabiner said: “One of my key concerns was that if you got hold of an NI number then it gave you access to all kinds of benefits—everything that was going.”? Is not the Minister’s inability today to give an estimate of the benefits paid to illegal immigrants a further indication of the utter incompetence with which the Department has handled the issue?

Question and answer session continued on next page

Immigration and Asylum

Westminster Parliamentary Questions (continued)
Question and answer session continued from previous page

Reply from James Plaskitt: I will again refer the hon. Gentleman to what Lord Grabiner said in his report, which is that “it is inherently difficult to give an accurate estimate of the numbers involved”. That was his opinion in 2000. His report did not refer to individuals’ right to work in this country being part of the national insurance application process.

Philip Hollobone: May I draw the Minister’s attention to illegal immigration in Kettering and the problem of legal migrants being subject to illegal terms and conditions of employment? Responsibility for those issues appears to fall somewhere between IND, the Paymaster General and the Department. Is the Minister satisfied that there is effective Government co-ordination between all three Departments on those matters?

Reply from James Plaskitt: There is some sharing of responsibility. However, the Conservative Government’s legislation—the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996—placed considerable responsibility on employers to establish whether people applying for a job had a right to work in the United Kingdom. We strengthened that legislation in 2004and we also implemented the Grabiner report’s recommendations. The system is therefore far more robust now than the one we inherited. We recently announced a further improvement.
Laurence Robertson [74161]: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation her Department undertook before introducing changes to visa arrangements for overseas doctors working in the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Reply from Rosie Winterton: The immigration rules for permit free training were amended in July 2005 and the implications were discussed with the British Medical Association (BMA), postgraduate deans and overseas doctors groups.

Departmental officials discussed proposals to amend the regulations further at a meeting in January held by NHS employers which was attended by the Home Office and medical stakeholders, including British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, British International Doctors Association, the BMA and representatives from the national health service.
Peter Bone [76566]: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what average time was taken by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to process an appeal in relation to asylum seekers and immigration cases in the latest period for which figures are available.

Reply from Bridget Prentice: In the financial year 2005-06, the average time taken to promulgate immigration judge appeals in asylum cases was 15 weeks and in immigration cases, 14 weeks.

Immigration and Asylum

Westminster Parliamentary Questions (continued)
Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government [HL6017]: Whether they have held discussions with Church Action on Poverty concerning its recommendation that asylum seekers should be able to sustain themselves by paid work, or receive a basic entitlement to state support; and, if so, what was the outcome of such discussions.

Reply from Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The previous Minister for Immigration and Asylum met representatives of Church Action against Poverty on 17 May to discuss the support available to failed asylum seekers. He confirmed that options for providing assistance to failed asylum seekers—including the possibility of them taking paid work—were being kept under review.
Baroness Shephard of Northwold asked Her Majesty's Government: What estimate they have made of the current number of migrant workers in England.

Reply from Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, the Department for Work and Pensions Labour Force Survey estimates that there are 2.8 million persons working in England who were born abroad. That figure includes EU citizens, settled migrants and migrants who have subsequently obtained British citizenship.

Baroness Shephard of Northwold: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply and for its clarity. She will be aware that there have been a number of professions of ignorance from senior officials and from her fellow Ministers about the exact number of migrant workers, both legal and illegal, in this country. Does she accept that the extremely large, and often unacknowledged, number of migrant workers who are here legally and illegally put a great deal of pressure on local services, and that because they are often unacknowledged things are extremely stretched at the coal face of local provision? Would she like to explain to the House how the Government plan to cope with the extra service needs created by those workers at local level if their knowledge of the number concerned is a bit vague?

Reply from Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My Lords, first, perhaps I may say to the noble Baroness that the knowledge of the number of migrant workers who work here legally is not vague. Secondly, migrant workers make an extremely large and valuable contribution to our country that far outweighs any use of our resources. We have no indication that they make a disproportionate drain on any services in this country.

For continuation of question and answer session see:
Robert Walter (75518):To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many children have been detained for 21 days or more in immigration detention centres in each of the last 10 years.

Immigration and Asylum (continued)

Westminster Early Day Motion
Alistair Carmichael (2373) Deportation of Sakchai Makao - That this House notes with concern the appalling treatment of Sakchai Makao, in his arrest and subsequent detention in Durham maximum security prison; further notes that the deportation order was issued two years after he had served eight months for fire raising; recognises the widespread public support in Shetland for Mr Makao and the valued position that he holds within the local community; and urges the Home Office to rescind the deportation order and release Mr Makao.

Press Releases
Migrant workers are finding Scotland hard work, says CAB service
Shock report reveals the exploitation of immigrant workers
Poles offered warm welcome
Health minister highlights benefits of Polish dentists

New publications
Fresh Talent Information guide for Poland

Welcome to Scotland

Witamy w Szkocji

Migrant Workers (Citizens’ Advice leaflet)
Immigrants cash in on tax credit mix-up

Immigration and Asylum (continued)

Minister seeks to attract more Poles
Bid to attract more Polish workers
Stranded boy home after two months
Why islanders are right to fight for Sakchai Makao
A thousand islanders stage rally for detained Thai
7,000 sign up to stop Thai being deported
Islanders fight for Thai pal
Pressure on McConnell over deportation case
Sakchai Makao and an island community in revolt

Bail hope for dawn raid Shetlander
Shetland unites as justice system disintegrates

Amnesty plan for 500,000 illegal migrants
Asylum pupils go global

Immigration and Asylum

News (continued)
You'll want to Polish this off
Bad press adding to the woes of asylum seekers

Race Relations

Westminster Debate
Jewish Communities (350th Anniversary)

School choice ‘means classroom ghettos’
Endeavouring to square the circle
Pagans get equal rights at St Andrews

Race Equality

Westminster Parliamentary Questions
Philip Davies [64824]: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance has been given to jobcentres, including Jobcentre Plus Partnerships, on the restricting of references to a geographical area to meet the requirements of race relations legislation.

Reply from Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what guidance has been given to jobcentres including Jobcentre Plus Partnerships on the restricting of references to a geographical area to meet the requirements of race relations legislation. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus guidance states that employers are permitted to set out requirements in job advertisements, such as the arrangement of transport from an allocated location to take employees to and from a place of work. Where an employer wishes to state that potential applicants must reside in a particular town or city this cannot be accepted, as it may exclude some groups of people.

Jobcentre Plus must ensure that it meets its obligations under equal opportunities legislation. Where Jobcentre Plus staff have concerns that an employer is placing restrictions that may exclude potential applicants, they advise the employer of this and suggest alternative wording.
Andrew Dismore [76007]: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what percentage of the House's senior staff are of minority ethnic origin; and if he will make a statement.

Reply from Nick Harvey: As at 31 March 2006, the House had 79 senior staff, 72 of whom have declared their ethnicity. One of these senior staff (1.4 per cent.) is identified as of minority ethnic origin.

The proportion of ethnic minority staff across all pay bands is 19 per cent. The Commission is committed to valuing diversity throughout its workforce, and the board of management has made a commitment in its 2006 corporate plan to monitor the development of a diverse workforce at all levels by establishing gender and ethnic profiles by band and role.

Race Equality (continued)

Other Westminster
Speech by Meg Munn MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and local Government at CEHR (Commission for Equality and Human Rights) stakeholder event
Speech by Vera Baird QC MP to the Black Solicitors Network (includes Human Rights Act and Judicial Diversity)


European Parliament Resolution
Increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe

Anti-Islamic feeling likened to pre-war rise in anti-Semitism
Anti-bigotry DVD praised
BNP won seats because voters felt ignored, says Labour chief

Other Holyrood

Carers Week 2006

Press Release
The future of public services

New Publications

Charity Regulation in Scotland (OSCR)
Charities Accounts Regulations Interim Guidance (OSCR)
Becoming a Charity in Scotland (OSCR)
OSCR Review Procedures (OSCR)
Voluntary Sector Manifesto


Other News

Funding for community integration projects
Adoption agencies ‘will still have the final say’
Race in the Media Award (RIMA) winners
VAF (Voluntary Action Fund) is currently recruiting new trustees and a new Convenor

VAF supports communities in promoting equality and social change. The organisation works nationally with a range of stakeholders and agencies as well as small to large voluntary and community organisations. The closing date for applications is 30 June. For information contact Susan Connell: 01383 620780 or see (includes downloadable application form)


Bills in Progress

** New or updated this week

** Adoption and Children Bill (Education)


Stage 1 evidence from the Muslim Association of Britain, Bishops’ conference of Scotland, CARE for Scotland, Church of Scotland, Scottish Interfaith Council and Scottish Executive

Adult Support and Protection Bill


Stage 1

Bills in Progress

Holyrood (continued)
Animal Health and Welfare Bill

Bill as passed

Bankruptcy and Diligence Bill (Enterprise and Culture Committee)

Stage 2

Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) Bill


Stage 1

Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Bill

Bill as passed

Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill


Stage 1

Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice Bill (Justice 2)

Bill as passed

** St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday Bill (Enterprise and Culture)

Report commissioned by the Committee

‘Celebrating St Andrew’s Day – An Assessment of the Economic, Social and Cultural Costs and Benefits’

Stage 1 consideration of above report

Bills in Progress

Holyrood (continued)
Scottish Commissioner for Human Rights Bill (Justice 1)

Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Bill (Education)

Bill as passed

Bills in Progress

Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill

Second Reading

** Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Second Reading House of Lords

Scottish Parliament (Candidates) Bill

Violent Crime Reduction Bill

Consultations (closing date)

** New or updated this week
Delivering a Healthy Future An Action Framework for Children and Young People’s Health in Scotland (7 July)
Improving the Health and Nutrition of Scotland’s Children (31 July 2006)
Adult Support and Protection Bill (18 August 2006)
Subordinate Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Regulatory Framework in Scotland

(8 September)
Transforming Public Services: The Next Phase of Reform (no closing date given)

Events/Conferences/Training Courses

** New or updated this week

**this week!

Anti-sectarianism Training for Youth Workers

20 June in Dundee

27 June in Stirling

4 July in Stornoway

Half-day seminar to raise awareness of sectarianism and religious intolerance within the context of the youth work sector; develop a clearer understanding of the “Don’t Give It, Don’t Take It” resource which has been developed to help challenge sectarianism and religious intolerance in Scotland and discuss methods of challenging sectarianism and religious intolerance within the youth work sector, including sharing good practice examples. For information contact please contact Youth Scotland 0131 554 2561 / or see booking form

Events/Conferences/Training Courses (continued)
**this week!

Governance – the big picture

19 June in Glasgow

SCVO workshop including: How to strike the right balance between governance and management; What committees need to know and how to make sure they know it; Staff and committees – how they can best support each other; How to know if your committee is working well and what you can do if it isn’t; How to help committees develop to meet the needs of a changing organisation. For information contact: Russell Gunson: 0131 474 6179 /
**this week!

OSCR at The Gathering

19 June 2006 in Glasgow

'Meet the regulator' session to meet OSCR staff and ask any general issues or questions on a one-to-one basis. Teams will be available to answer queries on four key aspects of the new legislation: The Scottish Charity Register, New applications for charitable status, Consents and Notifications and Compliance Support. For information contact Mark Simpson
**this week!

The Gathering

19-21 June in Glasgow

The largest charity and voluntary sector fair in the UK, organised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. In 2005 more than 4,500 people visited the 180 exhibitors and attended the many conferences, seminars and workshops that took place during the three-day event. The gathering 2006 will be even bigger, bringing together more voluntary organisations, more companies and more visitors. For information see
**this week!

Refugee Week

19 – 25 June 2006

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promote understanding about the reasons why people seek sanctuary. For information see

For events taking place during Refugee Week see

**this week!

Civicus World Assembly

21-25 June in Glasgow

The CIVICUS World Assembly is a forum for international civil society representatives to get together, exchange ideas, experiences and build strategies for a just world. For information see

Events/Conferences/Training Courses (continued)
**this week!

It doesn’t happen here!

21 June in East Renfrewshire

Conference about the experience of violence against minority ethnic women. For information contact Naheed Asghar 620 1890 /
**this week!

More Than Skin Deep: Multiple discrimination in Britain today

21 June 2006 in Glasgow

A panel of dynamic women from across Scotland will reflect on their own perspectives of multiple discrimination including multiple discrimination - particularly for minority ethnic women; what diversity brings to Scottish life and how to achieve change. For information contact Rosemary Kilduff or see
**this week!

International links: how can we work better together – or is it all a waste of time?

21 June 2006 in Glasgow

The ‘overlap day’ between the Gathering and the CIVICUS World Assembly is an ideal opportunity for the Scottish voluntary sector to come together to welcome and mix with CIVICUS delegates arriving from almost 100 countries across the world. This fairly informal event is designed to facilitate and encourage sharing of experiences and perspectives on some of the commonalities and differences in our respective worlds. For information contact Fiona Talcott 0131 556 3882 /
Discrimination advice and the Commission for Equality and Human Rights: how can we make sure people have access to advice and justice?

26 June in Edinburgh

What does the advice sector expect from the CEHR? How can advice agencies and equality organisations work together - and with the CEHR - to make sure people can get advice? What needs to happen to make it work - what are the barriers and challenges, opportunities, what's already happening? For information contact Nick Hurst
ESOL and Citizenship in Scotland

27 June 2006 in Stirling

Since 2002, aspirant new Scots have needed to demonstrate competence in the English language, as well as knowledge of life in the UK, in order to become British citizens.  The event will inform participants about the work of the pilot projects for ESOL and citizenship, share best practice in citizenship education and materials development, and will set citizenship and ESOL in a clear Scottish context. For information contact Jamie Mitchell 01786 892020 or see

Events/Conferences/Training Courses (continued)
Equality and Diversity Training

19 September in Inverness

Seminar exploring the myths and facts surrounding the six equality strands - race, gender, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation and age. For information phone or e-mail 01463 258800 /
Current Issues in Asylum

10 October 2006 in Glasgow

Legal Services Agency seminar aimed at people who require a day-to-day understanding of the asylum system. For information contact: LSA 0141 353 3354 / or see

Useful Links

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Executive
Westminster Parliament
Directgov (links to Government Departments)
European Parliament
One Scotland Many Cultures
Commission for Racial Equality
Equal Opportunities Commission

Useful Links (continued)
Civic Forum
Volunteer Development Scotland
Social Economy Scotland
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
Central Registered Body for Scotland (CRBS)
Disclosure Scotland
BBC News24
BBC Parliament online

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