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Volume 403: debated on Thursday 10 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason he has suspended operation of the 1959 Council of Europe Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees. [108214]

Intelligence gathered by the Immigration Service shows that significant numbers of people who had been accepted as refugees elsewhere were coming to the UK and making asylum applications in false identities. We considered that suspending the UK's operation of the 1959 Council of Europe Agreement, which allowed refugees settled in certain countries to visit the UK without a visa, was a necessary step to tackle this abuse.