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Immigration Rules

Volume 33: debated on Monday 6 December 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will lay before the House a statement of the changes he proposes to make in the immigration rules.

I have today laid before Parliament a statement of changes in the immigration rules. The rules will come into effect on 1 January next year, when the British Nationality Act 1981 comes into force, subject however to the procedure provided in the Immigration Act 1971, under which they may be disapproved by a resolution of either House of Parliament within 40 days of laying.The draft rules contained in the White Paper which I published on 25 November have been the subject of debates in both Houses. In the light of what was said in the debates I have made a number of changes which will strengthen still further the safeguards in the rules to prevent marriages for immigration purposes.The changes are as follows. At present a husband is granted leave to remain for one year, and at the end of that time he may be granted settlement. I have decided to extend this period for a further year. In future a husband will have to obtain two extensions of his leave before he can qualify for settlement, and only if the marriage is still subsisting at the end of that period will he be able to qualify for settlement.I have also made a change in paragraph 158 of the rules, which deals with the deportation of people who remain in defiance of a decision to refuse them permission to stay. The new rules will make it clear that if a man has been refused permission to stay because his marriage has broken down, deportation will normally be the proper course irrespective of the reasons for the breakdown, and irrespective of the time he has been resident as a husband.At present a husband or fiance is not issued with an entry clearance, or given leave to remain, if the officer dealing with the application has reason to believe that the tests laid down in the rules are not satisfied. This means that the onus is on the officer to show that the applicant does not meet the requirements. I have decided to reverse the burden of proof in all such cases. In future the onus will rest on the applicant to satisfy the officer that he qualifies.Also, the rules relating to fiances—who are admitted for three months—are now included in a section dealing with people admitted temporarily, instead of the section for people admitted for settlement.The new rules will apply to all decisions taken on or after 1 January 1983, with the exceptions set out in the section on transitional provisions. The exceptions mean that anyone who benefits under the transitional provisions in the present rules will continue to do so, and that the monetary limits laid down in the new rules for businessmen and others will not extend to anyone who applied for an entry clearance or for leave to enter or remain on or before 25 October this year, or who is admitted as a businessman before 1 January next year and applies to remain in the same capacity.