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Separation: Indian Subcontinent

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of women from the Indian sub-continent left destitute and on the street after failed marriages; and what steps she is taking to afford those women shelter and support. (157943)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: The Home Office does not routinely collate this information and people are expected to return home if they have a spouse visa and their marriage fails during the probationary period as the reason for entry no longer exists. However, if the marriage fails due to domestic violence, an individual can apply for indefinite leave to remain under the Immigration Rules as a victim of such abuse. Steps have been taken to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of application processing and evidence-gathering in these cases.

We are aware that there are a small number of women who are victims of domestic violence during the probationary period following marriage and can find themselves homeless and unable to access refuge or other emergency accommodation while the application for indefinite leave to remain is being processed.

The Government have asked local authorities to be mindful that some victims of domestic violence could have specific needs for care and attention and/or have dependent children. These factors may make them eligible for assistance under a range of other relevant legislation on a case-by-case basis.