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Refusals of Leave to Remain

Volume 560: debated on Monday 25 March 2013

10. How many requests for a reconsideration of a decision to refuse leave to remain are outstanding; and what the oldest such cases currently being reconsidered are. (149416)

The UK Border Agency has approximately 14,000 requests for reconsiderations outstanding. The oldest request dates back to 3 March 2010. It is worth reminding the House that these are all people who have had a decision on their application and have either exhausted their appeal rights or chosen not to appeal, so they have no right to be in the United Kingdom and they should leave.

I am grateful for the Minister’s answer. Now that the Home Office has agreed to reconsider all the cases in this category as soon as possible, will the Minister and his colleagues look at whether there could be a system for prioritising those cases that are clearly in urgent need rather than simply working through a date system, which I have to say has been pretty random in the past?

The point I made at the beginning still stands. These are all people who have had a decision and have been refused the right to remain in the UK after going through the full appeal process. For those who submitted a reconsideration request prior to our policy change last November, we will work through all their cases in order. If the right hon. Gentleman has a clear case of where there is a particularly compassionate reason for looking at it earlier, I would welcome him getting in touch with me; otherwise, we will work through the cases in date order.

Given those answers, will my hon. Friend confirm that the greatest single reason for the backlog in the UK Border Agency is the tendency of courts to go on allowing more and more appeals, thereby lengthening the process?

My hon. Friend is right that when the UKBA makes decisions, people in settlement cases frequently have a right of appeal. Some of those processes can often be very lengthy, so we will keep on considering whether there are ways of making the system smoother and more streamlined.