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Short-term Visas (Appeals)

Volume 545: debated on Monday 21 May 2012

22. What her policy is on appeals against refusals of applications for visas for short-term visits. (108048)

Genuine visitors will always be welcome to visit the UK. Only the family visitor route currently offers a right of appeal. Subject to parliamentary approval, that will be removed by 2014.

That reply will be heard with very considerable concern and anger in many communities across the country. Families who are trying genuinely to have family reunions, weddings and so on are being held up. Does the Minister not recognise that the main problem is that the appeals process is jammed up because of the low level of decision making in the UK Border Agency and the stubborn refusal of managers to review that, saying that it will be sorted out in the appeals system? I have letters to that effect. Why does not the Minister address the issues and look after the community?

I am addressing precisely those issues. Clearly, the right hon. Gentleman missed the first part of the answer—genuine visitors will always be welcome to visit the UK. The current appeals process takes around eight months. Re-applying takes about 15 days, so it is quicker and easier for people to apply again. The current visit visa appeal system costs about £29 million a year to administer—money that could be much better spent on other parts of the immigration system.