HC Deb 05 May 1977 vol 931 c640
28. Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will define the term "dependant" in relation to the immigration rules.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

I refer the hon. Member to House of Common Papers 79 to 82 of 1973—Statements of Immigration Rules for Control on and after Entry—as amended.

Miss Fookes

Will the right hon. Gentleman refresh my memory now, please?

Mr. Rees

Of course I shall. I shall do the same for myself. Under the legislation, the basic dependants are wives and children under 16, as I think the hon. Lady knows. Above that there is a discretion. That answers the question simply. The details are before me—but I should show myself up if I read them instead of showing that I know them.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

The Minister said "wives", in the plural. [Interruption.] It is not a laughing matter. Last week, in answer to a question from me, he admitted that certain people can bring in four wives and 12 children and be entitled to housing for those four wives and 12 children. Does he not know that this is causing a lot of trouble in areas where there is stress—and not only to the poor man with four wives?

Mr. Rees

I answered the question of my hon. Friend. The answer is that—in the words of Eliza Doolittle—it "hardly ever happens".

Mr. Jessel

Are fiancées sometimes treated as dependants? If so, why?

Mr. Rees

No, they are not treated as dependants, because that would not fit the book of rules that the hon. Lady and I know so well.