HC Deb 01 March 1973 vol 851 cc1681-2
7. Mr. Sydney Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the operation of Section 29 of the Immigration Act 1971 with regard to the repatriation of Commonwealth immigrants; and how many families have been repatriated since the section came into operation.

Mr. Lane

Thirty families have so far been assisted to leave this country under the Section 29 scheme. The results of our review of the scheme will be announced as soon as possible.

Mr. Chapman

My hon. Friend will know that as long ago as 1st February my right hon. Friend said "shortly" in reference to the announcement of the conclusions of the review. Does he feel that International Social Service is the right agency to deal with the implementation of Section 29 of the Immigration Act 1971? Will he confirm that less than 5 per cent. of the cases of families who have requested the application have been settled?

Mr. Lane

We shall announce the results as soon as possible, but we want to be sure that we are getting right any changes we propose to make. We have absolute confidence in International Social Service in administering this matter, and I have discussed it recently with the director of ISS. But the applications dealt with are nothing like as small in number as my hon. Friend has suggested. He may have worked out a figure of families out of total applications, but the main number of applications made have proved to be ineligible under the scheme, for good reasons.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Are not the delays experienced by people seeking repatriation and help for repatriation absolutely inordinate, and is not the bureaucracy involved far too extensive?

Mr. Lane

No, I do not accept that. The cases have to be examined carefully and thoroughly. If ISS finds that it needs more staff to do the job more thoroughly and quickly, we shall consider that.