Nationality and Borders Bill — After Clause 56 — Age Assessments: Restrictions — 22 Mar 2022 at 19:18

The majority of MPs voted additional restrictions and safeguards in relation to assessments of the age of those subject to immigration controls. The rejected measures included requiring council social workers to undertake the assessments and for methods to be approved approved by medical, dental and scientific professional bodies.

MPs were considering the Nationality and Borders Bill.[1][2][3]

The motion supported by the majority of MPs in this vote was:

That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 22.

Lords amendment 22 began[4]:

  • Insert the following new Clause—
  • Age assessments: restrictions
  • (1) Age assessments under section 49 or 50 must only be undertaken if there is significant reason to doubt the age of the age-disputed person.
  • (2) A person conducting age assessments under section 49 or 50 must be a local authority social worker
  • (3) Age assessments must be undertaken in accordance with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services Age Assessment Guidance or equivalent guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • (4) When an age assessment is conducted, a process must be used that allows for an impartial multi-agency approach, drawing on a range of expertise, including from—
  • (a) health professionals,
  • (b) psychologists,
  • (c) teachers,
  • (d) foster parents,
  • (e) youth workers,
  • (f) advocates,
  • (g) guardians, and
  • (h) social workers.
  • (5) When making regulations under section 51, the Secretary of State must not specify scientific methods unless the Secretary of State receives written approval from the relevant medical, dental and scientific professional bodies that the method is both ethical and accurate beyond reasonable doubt for assessing a person’s age.
  • (6) Any organisation developed to oversee age assessments must be independent of the Home Office.
  • (7) The standard of proof for an age assessment is reasonable degree of likelihood.

Explanatory notes to the Lords Amendment rejected in this vote state[5]:

  • This amendment seeks to set out a range of restrictions on the way an age assessment can be conducted. It envisages the establishment of a new and separate body which would oversee the age assessments undertaken by the National Age Assessment Board, which would be required to be independent of the Home Office and seeks to impose further limits on the ability of the Secretary of State to make regulations on scientific age assessment.

Clause 49 of the Bill[3] (which would be expected to become Section 49 of the Act if the Bill was enacted) provided for certain public bodies, including a relevant local council, to "refer an age-disputed person to a designated person for an age assessment" so that a local council can decide "whether or how to exercise any of its functions under relevant children’s legislation in relation to the person" or to respond to doubts expressed by Government about the ages of individuals a council is treating as, or may treat as, children.

Clause 50(1) of the Bill[3] began:

  • A designated person may conduct an age assessment on an age-disputed person for the purposes of deciding whether or how the Secretary of State or an immigration officer should exercise any immigration functions in relation to the person

Clause 50(4) was no consistent with an element of the proposed new clause rejected in this vote, it stated:

  • The standard of proof for an age assessment under this section is the balance of probabilities

Clause 49 of the Bill[3] defined "age-disputed person" - those to whom these provisions would apply as being someone who requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom (if they have such leave or not), and where the local or national government "has insufficient evidence to be sure of their age".


Debate in Parliament |

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
Alba0 1050.0%
Alliance0 10100.0%
Con298 (+2 tell) 0082.9%
DUP3 0037.5%
Green0 10100.0%
Independent1 3080.0%
Lab0 161080.5%
LDem0 12092.3%
PC0 2066.7%
SDLP0 20100.0%
SNP0 34 (+2 tell)080.0%
Total:302 217081.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by vote

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

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