HC Deb 01 December 1983 vol 49 cc971-4
2. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by country of origin the number of persons who have been refused visitor's status to date in 1983.

13. Mr. Madden

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were granted visitor's status to the United Kingdom to date in 1983; and what was the figure for the comparable period of 1982.

Mr. Waddington

In the first nine months of 1983, 5.4 million passengers from outside the European Community were given admission and 10,625 passengers from all countries were refused leave to enter. I shall circulate in the Official Report details of the nationalities concerned. Separate information is not available as to the number of those refused who were seeking admission as visitors. In the same period, 4.1 million nationals of countries outside the European Community were admitted as visitors, compared with 3.6 million in the first nine months of 1982.

Mr. Carter-Jones

Will the Minister express the figures for refusals as percentages by nationality and account for any discrepancies?

Mr. Waddington

I am prepared to table a list of the kind requested by the hon. Gentleman. In general, there are very few refusals compared with the number of people seeking entry. Even for the Indian subcontinent, where pressures to come here are naturally far greater than in, say, America, because of the discrepancy in the standard of living, I believe that the rate of refusal last year was 0.5 per cent. or about 1,000 out of 200,000 of those coming here from India, with similar figures for other countries of the subcontinent.

Mr. Budgen

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that there will be widespread dismay at his statement yesterday that no further significant reduction in immigration can be expected, especially as the figure is now running at just under 29,000 per year? Will he give some partial reassurance by repeating the promise that he gave when the last set of immigration rules were passed, namely, that if the number of male fiancés seeking admission increases greatly the rules will be reviewed with a view to restricting the number?

Mr. Waddington

The number of people accepted from the world as a whole and from the New Commonwealth has fallen significantly since the Government came to office in 1979, in pursuance of our declared aim of tightening the immigration rules. The point that I made at the Royal Commonwealth Society yesterday was that two thirds of the people now being accepted from the New Commonwealth are relatives of those already accepted for settlement. We must remember that the families of those settled before 1 January 1973 have a statutory right to come here. Moreover, Governments have given undertakings that families of men settled after that date will be allowed to enter.

On the second point, the undertaking given in February by my noble Friend Lord Whitelaw, as he now is, was that the rules would be re-examined to ensure that they continued to produce the full and fair immigration control to which we are committed.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I appeal for shorter supplementary questions and for shorter answers.

Mr. Madden

Is the Minister aware that all who are interested in these matters have detected a concerted effort in recent months to reduce the number of visitors given permission to enter this country? Will he deny that the immigration service has been given such advice through a series of nods and winks from the Department?

Mr. Waddington

That is utter rubbish. The hon. Gentleman should read the text of my reply. The number of people entering this country has risen since 1982. The number of refusals has risen in proportion.

Mr. Denis Howell

Is the Minister aware that increasing distress is being caused to family visitors and is undermining good community relations? Does he appreciate that the phrases used by Ministers to justify their decisions—a letter to me recently stated that there seems to be no good reason for this … family visit … at this time"— are not just an affront to basic ethical concepts of family life which are common to all religious belief in this country, but cause great distress to the people involved? Does he appreciate that the following quotation from a ministerial letter referring to a man with four children in Pakistan who wished to enter this country as a visitor, He would not appear to have sufficient incentive to return home adds a poverty test to the racial test and is utterly unacceptable? Will he consider introducing a new system of guarantees for visitors by family and friends which will safeguard against improper entry, while maintaining the decencies of family life?

Mr. Waddington

The right hon. Gentleman and others, I fear, seem to have forgotten that Parliament approved new rules as recently as February this year. Those rules require immigration officers in Britain to be satisfied that a person seeking entry as a visitor is a genuine visitor. The point made in the letter about which the right hon. Gentleman complains is that among the factors which weighed in the immigration officer's mind before refusing entry was that there did not seem to be a good reason for that person to spend an enormous amount of money on a visit at that particular time.

Following are the details:

Passengers refused leave to enter the United Kingdom 1 January 1983–30 September 1983
Number of persons
Commonwealth countries
Associated states 16
Australia 36
Bangladesh 232
Barbados 1
Canada 39
Cyprus 90
Ghana 787
Gibraltar 1
Guyana 15
Hong Kong 110
India 970
Jamaica 36
Kenya 71
Malaysia 83
Malta 18
Mauritius 57
New Zealand 15
Nigeria 1,410
Sierra Leone 30
Singapore 33
Sri Lanka 247
Tanzania 99
Trinidad and Tobago 7
Uganda 40
Zambia 11
Zimbabwe 31
United Kingdom Passport Holders 44
Other Commonwealth countries 80
Total Commonwealth 4,609
European Community
Belgium 11
Denmark 9
France 135
Germany (Federal Republic) 96
Greece 73
Republic of Ireland 1
Italy 92
Netherlands 86
Total EC 503
Non-EC foreign countries
Algeria 415
Arab Republic of Egypt 48
Argentina 53
Austria 38
Brazil 49
Bulgaria 6
Chile 61
China 7
Colombia 127
Cuba 5
Czechoslovakia 10
Ethiopia 11
Finland 16
German Democratic Republic 5
Hungary 14
Indonesia 15
Iran 183
Iraq 64
Israel 79
Japan 51
Jordan 23
Kuwait 10
Lebanon 43
Libya 32
Mexico 19
Morocco 353
Norway 25
Pakistan 784
Peru 31
Philippines 63
Number of persons
Poland 52
Portugal 138
Romania 12
Saudi Arabia 92
Somalia 1
South Africa 52
Spain 262
Sudan 31
Sweden 60
Switzerland 44
Syria 26
Thailand 54
Tunisia 105
Turkey 315
United States of America 425
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 236
Uruguay 8
Venezuela 15
Yugoslavia 86
Other foreign countries 266
Stateless 593
Total Non-EC foreign 5,513
Grand Total 10,625