HC Deb 09 March 1967 vol 742 cc1723-4
1. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken to admit Commonwealth immigrants at London Airport and to what degree Commonwealth visitors are held up on entry by the examination of Commonwealth immigrants.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Ennals)

The period between a passenger's arrival and the completion of the immigration check varies according to the density of the traffic, the passenger's own circumstances and the circumstances of others, whether immigrants or not, who are ahead of him. Everything possible is done to speed the process, and the great majority of Commonwealth visitors pass the immigration control before their baggage arrives in the customs hall.

Mr. Wall

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that visitors from old Commonwealth countries have complained that they are help up while intending immigrants from the new Commonwealth countries are interrogated? Would it not be wise to try to separate Commonwealth visitors from intending immigrants?

Mr. Ennals

It is unusual if that is the case. When the examination of a particular passenger is likely to hold up the flow for some reason or other—documents or otherwise—he is normally set aside for later examination and those in the queue are taken as quickly as possible. We had an investigation last year which showed that the average time spent with an immigration officer was only 52 seconds.

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