§ Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the sharp increase in the number of dependants accompanying or joining Commonwealth citizens subject to immigration control, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is no abuse of the interpretation of dependants.
§ Mr. Brooke
The Commonwealth Immigrants Act gives a right of admission to the wife or the child under 16 years of age of a Commonwealth citizen who is378W resident in the United Kingdom or with whom she or he enters the United Kingdom. This provision accounts for the majority of the Commonwealth citizens admitted as dependants. The other categories of dependants who are eligible for admission are defined in the Instructions to Immigration Officers (Command 1716). They include children under 16 coming to join relatives other than parents (paragraph 26 of Command 1716).
I have no evidence that in general these provisions are being abused. In recent months, however, numbers of boys, described on passports as aged 14 or 15, have arrived in this country with the intention of going straight into employment and have sought admission on the basis that they were coming to join distant relatives. I have therefore instructed immigration officers that the reference in paragraph 26 of Command 1716 to "relatives other than parents" should not be deemed to embrace cousins or more distant relatives. I shall keep the position under review.