HC Deb 23 May 2000 vol 350 c856
28. Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)

What discussions he has held with the Home Office about its policy in relation to recommendations by immigration adjudicators. [121905]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Jane Kennedy)

I have not discussed the policy in relation to the adjudicator's recommendations with the Home Secretary. As a matter of law, the Home Secretary has complete discretion whether or not to adopt an adjudicator's recommendation.

Fiona Mactaggart

Might I persuade my hon. Friend that it would be a good idea to have such a discussion? At present, many adjudicators make recommendations once they have made a finding of fact that a family can support and accommodate itself without recourse to public funds at the time of the adjudicators hearing, although that had not been the case at the time when the entry clearance officer made the initial decision. If the Home Office pursues its policy of not implementing recommendations in those circumstances, many of my constituents who are applying in Islamabad may have to wait more than a year before their cases can be reconsidered, even when all that is at issue is a matter of fact already confirmed by an immigration adjudicator.

Jane Kennedy

But as I understand it, the Home Secretary will act on an adjudicator's recommendation—although only where there are clear, compassionate circumstances that have not been considered and that would merit the exercise of his discretion. One essential element of the Government's reforms and, indeed, the expansion of the immigration and asylum system, is the one-stop appeal. That will give people a chance to raise at the first stage all their grounds for entering or remaining in the United Kingdom. It would thus be more sensible to reconsider any policy on recommendations by adjudicators—if that was needed—only when we have experience of the one-stop appeal process. However, I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the matter.