HC Deb 28 February 1985 vol 74 cc454-5
7. Mr. Bidwell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will name the countries from which there is pressure to emigrate to the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Waddington)

There is pressure to emigrate to the United Kingdom from a number of parts of the world. Social, economic and political circumstances change and therefore the countries from where there is pressure to emigrate change over time. For example, from some parts of the Indian subcontinent there has been and is continuing pressure. Elsewhere, pressure fluctuates according to circumstances in the country concerned, such as political or social unrest.

Mr. Bidwell

Notwithstanding those facts of life, which I accept, will the Minister now state unequivocally that the long-standing British principles of the rights of families to come together where the breadwinner is, and the rights of male and female to join each other without discrimination in marriage, are not impaired? Will he undertake to overhaul the present immigration rules as they apply to those principles to ensure that they are adequate to meet the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, because many people, including the Commission on Racial Equality, do not think that they are?

Mr. Waddington

Of course, men who are settled here have the right to have their wives and children join them, but those who apply for entry clearance in the Indian sub-continent must go through a process so that their claim to come here may be assessed. I have to say that some matters are overlooked. If a man chooses to come here on his own, we do not divide the family, and it must be recognised that half the people in the non-priority queue in Dacca at present are re-applicants. It would be stretching the imagination a bit to suppose that all those re-applicants are genuine in their claim, because it would mean that in every case the entry clearance officer and the appellate authorities were wrong as well. Therefore, those claims must be assessed, I am afraid, against a background of some fraud.

Mr. Dickens

Will my hon. and learned Friend accept, without mincing words, that every immigrant who comes to this country either takes up a job, which we cannot afford, or goes on the welfare state, which we cannot afford, and that the vast majority of people in this country welcome our firm but fair strict immigration control policy?

Mr. Waddington

I think that everybody in the House recognises that, obviously, we must have a firm but fair system of immigration control, and we cannot allow young people to come here and go straight on to the labour market at a time of high unemployment. I am sure that the vast majority of people in the House are as anxious as I am to see, for instance, that after we have tightened up on the work permit system, young men do not come here using marriage as a device. Unfortunately, it is plain that quite a number do.

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