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Residence Cards

Volume 558: debated on Monday 11 February 2013

13. What steps her Department is taking to ensure that applications for residence cards from citizens of the European economic area which have been referred for policy guidance are processed promptly. (142188)

We aim to process all applications from EEA residents promptly. When a case has to be referred for policy guidance, there are sometimes delays, particularly if policy has changed. We obviously try to keep those delays to a minimum.

Many people think that “referring for policy guidance” is a euphemism for disappearing into a big black hole. I am particularly concerned about spouses’ applications for residence cards, which are delayed for a long period before they are dealt with. What checks are there to ensure that cases are not neglected and are not allowed to run on for an inordinate time?

This is an area where there are often legal judgments by the European Court of Justice that we have to take into account. We have to change the immigration rules accordingly before we can process applications. That is the sort of thing that tends to cause the delays, rather than what my hon. Friend suggests. If he has any particular cases that have to be dealt with urgently for whatever reason, I suggest that he write to me and I will do what I can to expedite them.