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Foreign Tourists (Visas)

Volume 441: debated on Tuesday 29 July 1947

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asked the Prime Minister what agreement has been reached between the Treasury and the Ministry of Food with regard to the period for which foreign tourists are to be allowed this year to enter the United Kingdom; what instructions have been given on this matter to those issuing visas abroad; and what Minister is actually responsible for making a final decision on this matter.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Food is not concerned with the period for which foreign tourists may enter the United Kingdom, but makes provision for them to obtain food whatever the length of stay.

As regards the nationals of many European countries, visas for journeys to the United Kingdom are no longer required. As regards nationals of other countries, if an applicant wants to come to this country for a period not exceeding six months, the Passport Control Officer is authorised to grant him a visa without reference to the Home Office. The visa is authority for the journey and does not govern the length of his stay here. The length of stay is in the first instance determined in each case by the Immigration Officer in the light of the information given by the foreigner as to the object of his visit. The Minister responsible for dealing with any applications for extensions of stay is my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is still a certain amount of confusion abroad amongst those who are trying to get people to come to this country, and uncertainty as to which Ministers want them to come and which do not? Does he also realise that, having appointed the Tourist Board under the Board of Trade, that ought to be the body not only to deal with everyone coming from abroad, but to see that a muddle, such as occurred in connection with the Norwegian children during the last few days, which does great damage to this country, does not go on?

Perhaps the hon. Member will put down a Question with regard to the Norwegian children, which does not come directly under my notice. I have answered the specific Question which the hon. Gentleman has put to me.

If vast numbers of people come from countries where visas are not required, is not the Tourist Board responsible for making sure that they are properly looked after?