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Islamabad: Entry Clearance Office

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will take steps to inquire into the reasons for the recent failures by the Entry Clearance Office in Islamabad to grant visas following successful appeals. (116624)

We acknowledge that there have been delays in the visa section in Islamabad between the allowing of an appeal and the subsequent issue of a visa.

These were largely due to volumes of appeals and a staff shortage during the summer period last year. A new Head of the Appeals Section was appointed to the Visa Section in Islamabad at the end of last summer to address these issues.

In addition, there were previously delays with the unaccompanied diplomatic bag, through which until recently all appeals have been forwarded to Islamabad. However, since early January all appeal determinations are now emailed directly to the Visa Section in Islamabad from the Home Office. This will result in a much quicker turn around and the ability to track appeal determinations sent.

With the appointment of the Head of the Appeals Section, an increase in the entry clearance officer contingent at post and the electronic despatch of appeal determinations, the Visa Section in Islamabad hopes to significantly reduce the delay in the issue of allowed appeal visas.