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Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to visit the entry clearance operation in Islamabad to review its work. [123856]

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no immediate plans to visit the Visa Section in Islamabad but he is monitoring developments there closely and is committed to restoring a full entry clearance operation as soon as the security situation in Pakistan allows.A number of measures are, however, being implemented that will increase the level of service Islamabad is able to offer. In particular, the number of entry clearance officers in post has risen significantly. This will enable the Visa Section to increase the level of service, both in terms of categories of applications they can accept and how quickly they can be processed.