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Immigration And Nationality Policy

Volume 590: debated on Monday 1 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What is Government policy on immigration and nationality. [HL2054]

We made it clear in our manifesto that Britain, like every country, must have firm control over immigration. However, we are also determined that applications should be dealt with speedily and fairly. All staff applying the Government's immigration and nationality policy will observe these central principles of being fair, fast and firm, and will carry out their duties without regard to the race, colour or religion of any person seeking to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or applying for citizenship.The main elements of our policy are to welcome genuine visitors and students who wish to come to the United Kingdom; support family life by admitting the spouses and minor dependent children of those already settled in the United Kingdom; ensure that asylum decisions are both swift and fair and fully meet the United Kingdom's obligations towards refugees under international law; grant entry to those who qualify for periods of work in the United Kingdom; maintain a fair, fast and effective entry clearance operation at United Kingdom posts overseas; give effect to the "free movement" provisions of European Community law while retaining controls at frontiers, operated by a civilian Immigration Service; detect and remove those entering or remaining in the United Kingdom without authority and take firm action against those profiting from abuse of the immigration laws, including effective preventative measures; and to grant applications for citizenship to those meeting the specified criteria.This statement is included in the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate Annual Report 1997, which is published today. The report covers a number of important developments which affected the work of the directorate, such as the Casework Programme, the Treaty of Amsterdam and other major policy issues, and includes a factual account of events in each element of the immigration control. A copy of the report is being placed in the Library.