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Palestinians: Entry Clearances

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many entry clearance applications have been received from Palestinian citizens residing in (a) east Jerusalem, (b) the west bank and (c) the Gaza strip in the last 12 months; and what percentage of these applications were approved. (156012)

Our consulate general in Jerusalem processes entry clearance applications from residents of east Jerusalem, Gaza and the west bank.

Between 1 October 2006 and 1 October 2007 the consulate general received 1,075 applications for entry clearance from holders of Palestinian Authority travel documents living in the west bank and Gaza. 880 of these applications were issued and 154 were refused. Forty-one applications were either withdrawn, lapsed or are in progress. To collate statistics on whether applicants are resident in the west bank or Gaza would incur disproportionate cost as details of applicants' residency are not recorded centrally.

Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem do not hold Palestinian Authority travel documents. They may apply for entry clearance using a Jordanian T Series document or an Israeli issued Laissez Passer.

There were 543 applications from holders of Jordanian T Series documents, Jordanian passports and holders of Israeli issued Laissez Passers, which show the nationality as Jordanian. To determine which ones are from Palestinians resident in east Jerusalem would incur disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons entry visas were not granted to the Palestine under-19 football squad and its support staff; and what representations he has received on the matter. (156158)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Harry Cohen) on 10 September 2007, Official Report, column 2008W.

A total of 262 letters had been received up to and including 3 October on this matter.