Restrictions relating to transport
25. After the UK leaves the EU, the Department for Transport will have a bigger role than currently in sanctions policy and enforcement. We currently envisage transport licences in a number of circumstances, for example, to allow the entry into port of a designated vessel in the case of emergency (e.g. if a ship is damaged and in need of repair); if it has been decided in advance that entry would be for humanitarian reasons; or to allow for inspection.
26. The Department for Transport is currently developing guidance in this area, which will be published in due course.
27. The Bill will provide a power to exempt individuals or a group of individuals from the effects of a travel ban. This provides the flexibility to mitigate the effects of a travel ban either in specific prescribed circumstances, or on a case-by-case basis, for example to allow an individual to travel to attend an international conference convened by an intergovernmental organisation. This can be done either through an exception in the regulations or as directed later by the Secretary of State.
28. The exceptions provision will be used in circumstances that are either foreseeable or have been agreed with international partners in advance, for example, for humanitarian or religious reasons, to take part in peace talks, or to give evidence at a trial. The exceptions provision may also be used where there is an international law obligation, for example if the UK is hosting an international inter-governmental organisation or an international conference convened by, or under the auspices of, the UN.
29. Unlike an exception, a direction would be a flexible mechanism, which could contain conditions, be granted subject to certain criteria, be of a finite duration, and be subsequently varied, revoked or suspended. This would allow the Minister to direct that an individual be exempt from the effects of a travel ban in circumstances which were either not foreseeable at the time that the sanctions regulations were created, or were not agreed with international partners at the time the sanctions regime was negotiated.
30. An individual to whom an exception or direction applied would be given either temporary admission / bail or a form of leave for a specified period to allow them entry.
31. We will not have the same discretion for the UN designations as we are under an international obligation to implement them. The process for an exemption to a UN designation will remain the same. The UK will consider any request for an exemption to a travel ban on a case-by-case basis. If the UK agrees that a person should be allowed to travel to the UK it will apply to the UN for an exemption.
National Security and Serious Crime
32. In relation to activity carried out for the purposes of national security or for the prevention or detection of serious crime, the Bill allows for exceptions to prohibitions in the regulations. This will ensure that UK sanctions legislation does not inhibit legitimate behaviour.