HC Deb 18 February 1982 vol 18 cc392-3
9. Mr. Newens

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the procedures under which close relatives of people of foreign extraction now living in the United Kingdom who are domiciled abroad are able to visit them in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Raison

Yes, Sir. The requirements for admission to the United Kingdom as a visitor are laid down in the immigration rules presented to Parliament.

Mr. Newens

Will the right hon. Gentleman investigate the case of my constituent, Mrs. Chiraghuddin Rehman, who has consistently been refused permission for a visit from her mother and brother, whom she has not seen for more than 10 years, on such grounds as the brother's inability to name the sights that he expects to see on his visit and that her husband's income amounts to only 17 per cent. of the cost of the fares? If such cases are typical, do they not constitute a grossly disgraceful interference with the sanctity of the family? Should not something be done about that?

Mr. Raison

I shall investigate the case mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. My experience shows that such cases are often more complicated than is implied in the sort of statement that he has made.

Mr. Lawrence

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Iraqi students living in Britain have increasingly come under attack from other Iraqis and face great danger from threats made against them? Has he considered the position of the Iraqi embassy? What action is being taken to deal with those worrying attacks?

Mr. Raison

That question has nothing to do with the matter under discussion.

Mr. Hattersley

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the case cited by my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) is only too typical of what happens almost every day of the week? Does he realise that every hon. Member who has ethnic minority groups among his constituents can give examples of genuine visitors who wish to come to Britain for a brief period but are prevented from doing so on very little evidence? As that happens almost invariably when the visitors concerned are black or members of the Indian community, does he not realise that it is a gross form of discrimination that should be brought to an end forthwith?

Mr. Raison

The overall number of visitors refused entry to Britain last year was only 0.25 per cent. of those who arrived here. As the right hon. Gentleman well knows, cases are considered with the greatest care. There is an appeals system, and a great deal of ministerial attention is given to the matter.

Mr. John Carlisle

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that sufficient attention is being given to so-called genuine visitors from abroad who overstay the permitted time? Is it not true that the amnesties granted by the Labour Administration have encouraged illegal overstaying, in the somewhat foolish belief that one day a Labour Government will be returned, who will grant similar amnesties?

Mr. Raison

We pay great attention to overstaying. However, the amnesties granted by the previous Administration related to illegal entrants rather than to overstayers.