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Overseas Visitors (Overstaying)

Volume 976: debated on Friday 21 December 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Northampton, North of 10 December, stating that only 7 per cent. of inquiries initiated into overstayers result in overstayers being traced; what the probable situations are with regard to the other 93 per cent.; what proportion of overstayers traced are deported; and what are the possible reasons for not deporting overstayers.

Inquiries are initiated by the special overstayers' section of the Home Office when there is reason to think that the person being sought has remained in the United Kingdom beyond the time permitted by his leave to enter or remain. A person who knowingly remains beyond the time limited by his leave is guilty of an offence under section 24(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 1971. An overstayer may also be deported, either on conviction of such an offence or by exercise of the power in section 3(5)(a) of the Act.The information requested in the second part of the question is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. As to the last part each case of a person liable to be deported as an overstayer is considered on its merits, in accordance with the general principles set out in the immigration rules for control after entry—paragraphs 38 onwards in HC 80 and 45 onwards in HC 82.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Government are considering any changes in policy with respect to overstayers.

My right hon. Friend referred to the Government's policy in this respect during the debate on 4 December. Means of detection and enforcement will be kept under review and developed to the extent that resources allow.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of overstayers have not been deported for each of the last 12 quarters; what is the total number of overstayers interviewed in each of the last 12 quarters; and for what reason deportation has been set aside in those cases where it has not been applied.

The information requested in the first two parts of the question is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. With regard to the last part of the question, each case of a person liable to be deported is considered on its merits in accordance with the general principles set out in the relevant paragraphs of the immigration rules for control after entry—paragraphs 38 onwards of HC 80 and 45 onwards of HC 82.