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Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals married under Sharia law outside the UK (a) were granted residence and (b) took up residence in the UK during each of the last five years. (231861)

When considering applications for leave to enter or remain staff in the UK Border Agency must satisfy themselves that the applicant is validly married to the sponsor. The type of marriage is not recorded and therefore statistics are not available. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 803W.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration her Department has given to abolishing unconditional leave to remain. (232981)

We set out in the Green Paper “The Path to Citizenship” that there would be three routes to citizenship—economic, family and protection—and a clear three-stage journey through temporary residence, a new stage of probationary citizenship and then British citizenship or permanent residence. Consideration is being given to each stage.