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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Volume 631: debated on Monday 20 November 2017

4. How many applications for indefinite leave to remain are under consideration by her Department. (901908)

At the end of June 2017, at the time of our last published data, some 31,368 applications for indefinite leave to remain were under consideration by the Department.

One wonders how long many of those cases are waiting. So often, we are told the cases are complex and, after maybe a year or two, the Department still cannot make a decision. Furthermore, even when people have won their appeal, they find it takes six or nine months to get a reply, and then their documents very often get lost, or they get their passport back without having their visa stamped. I recognise the Minister inherited this mess, but his reply seemed complacent on actually sorting it out.

I am slightly surprised by the right hon. Gentleman’s closing comments because I had not actually answered that question yet. I thank him for his question, which gives me a chance to highlight the excellent work done every day by the team at UK Visas and Immigration. I can confirm that UKVI processes 99.5% of all cases within the service level agreement of six months. The just under 0.5% of cases that take longer are those very complex cases, and we liaise with people on that. I simply do not recognise the picture he just painted.

I encourage the Minister to redouble his efforts. Everybody knows the Government’s difficulties with immigration from the European Union, but what we cannot understand is why, after seven years of a Conservative Government, we have still not got to grips with immigration from the rest of the world. We need more police officers, more border officers and quicker decisions, and these people who have no right to stay here must leave, otherwise it undermines the whole system.

UKVI decides 99.5% of cases within the timetable set out in its service level agreement. All of us in this House should be very clear that, if people are here illegally, we want them to return to their homes. Under the compliance environment, the ability to work and to employ people should be restricted. We are very clear that people who are here illegally will be removed.