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Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times passenger queues at Heathrow Airport incoming immigration security checks have exceeded the designated maximum 10 minute waiting period in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (182042)

The UK Border Agency recognises that it has a responsibility to process genuine passengers without delay but the safety and security of the public remains a priority.

There are arrangements in place at most ports to benchmark performance. Heathrow Airport is among those airports that are currently using a 45 minutes (non-EEA) and 25 minutes (EEA) queuing time as such a benchmark. This is the maximum wait time in which we aim to process passengers and in turn informs staff deployment as well as informing considerations on further investment.

We are clear that the averages are well within these benchmarks but we will continue to work on reducing the occasions where those figures are exceeded.

Queuing times at London Heathrow from August 2007 until 11 July 2008



Average queue length

12 minutes

Per cent. over benchmark

2 per cent.—160 out of 6,658 measures


Average queue length

5 minutes

Per cent. over benchmark

<1 per cent.—43 out of 5,977 measures

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations she has received on the proposed withdrawal of the patrial concession which allows non-UK citizens to stay and work here if a parent or grandparent was born in the UK; and if she will make a statement. (217110)

We published the Green Paper ‘The Path to Citizenship: next steps in reforming the immigration system’ in February in which we asked for public views on whether the UK Ancestry route should be retained. We received 529 responses to this individual proposal.

The consultation period ended on 14 May and we published the Government’s response document on 14 July. Having carefully considered this proposal we believe it is right to retain a route to citizenship based on UK Ancestry.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects a decision to be made on the immigration status of Mr Rajwant Karr (Ref 1583563). (220123)

A decision on Mr. Karr's application for an entry clearance was made on 6 June.

Our high commission in New Delhi, which had referred the application to the UK for advice, were informed the same day. The decision was resent to the high commission on 21 July when it was realised that it had not been received originally.