HC Deb 08 November 1974 vol 880 c261W
Mr. Ovenden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are waiting times for entry interviews in respect of spouses of United Kingdom citizens at the British High Commission in New Delhi, the British High Commission in Dacca, and the British Embassy in Islamabad; and it he will make a statement on any proposals he has to reduce these periods.

Mr. Ennals

On 30th September, the latest convenient date for which records are available, the waiting period between the date on which an application for a settlement entry certificate is received—from a person normally resident within the posts area of responsibility—and the date of interview by the entry certificate officer was 12 months in Delhi, three years in Dacca and 20 months in Islamabad We are concerned at the delay between the date of application and interview which has been building up over several years and we are consequently reinforcing the staff of certain offices in the subcontinent particularly Dacca and Islamabad.

In Dacca special arrangements are made in respect of newly-weds in cases where the marriage has taken place within the last year, there are no children and it is a first marriage.

In Islamabad priority is given to those applicants where six months' notice has been given of a first marriage and both parties are in Pakistan and able to attend the interview together.

Special arrangements are also made at all three posts to accord priority treatment where there are compassionate reasons of unusual strength for doing so.