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Foreign Visitors

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to publish rules concerning the reduction of the maximum time visitors may visit the United Kingdom; when he proposes to introduce this reduction; and if he will make a statement.

We intend to publish shortly the changes in the immigration rules which my right hon. Friend announced on 16 November in respect of visitors, au pairs, business men and certain others. The changes will come into effect on 1 February 1988.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from individuals or organisations urging that the maximum time for visitors to the United Kingdom be reduced from a year to six months; what rights of appeal visitors will have against any decision to refuse an extension beyond six months; and what discretionary powers he will have to grant extensions to visitors on compassionate grounds.

None. We have, however, received a large number of representations about delays in immigration casework and it was partly in response to that concern that we are taking the measures announced in the House on 16 November. Appeal rights for a person refused leave to remain as a visitor at any point will remain unchanged. As my right hon. Friend indicated on 16 November, it will always be possible for him to exercise his discretion, as at present, to allow visitors to stay for longer than the permitted maximum on compassionate grounds. The exercise of such discretion is however to be used only very sparingly and in genuinely deserving cases.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases (a) men, (b) women and (c) children, having been refused visas to visit the United Kingdom, and living in the five countries which became subject to visa control in October 1986, have applied to appeal against the refusal to grant a visa; in how many cases such appeals have been (i) withdrawn, (ii) upheld, (iii) refused and (iv) pending; and if he will make a statement.

The information available centrally relates only to appeals received by the immigration appellate authorities from Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis, and is given in the table. Separate information on men, women and children and information on visit appeals pending, is not available.

Appeals to immigration adjudicators by visitors1against a refusal of entry clearance, October 1986 to September 1987
Number of persons
Appeals
Nationality of appellant2Received3Allowed3Dismissed3Withdrawn
Bangladesh3472312125
India166254417
Pakistan441235919

1 Including students.

2 Including appeals against a refusal of optional entry clearance prior to 15 October 1986.

3 Including those which were received prior to October 1986.