HC Deb 28 November 1986 vol 106 cc399-400W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards boat people in closed camps in Hong Kong who have relatives in the United Kingdom; and how many are expected to enter the United Kingdom in the last quarter of the current year;

(2) how many Vietnamese boat people resident in closed camps in Hong Kong were allowed to settle in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years.

Mr. Waddinton

Vietnamese refugees are admitted to the United Kingdom both under the family reunion policy, which provides for the spouse and minor children to join refugees already here, and under the United Nation's rescues at sea resettlement offers (RASRO) scheme. In addition, in September 1985, we announced, in response to the report of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration on Vietnmese refugees, that we would accept some 500 refugees in Hong Kong who had relatives in the United Kingdom but who fell outside the criteria for family reunion. Over the last twelve months, about 460 refugees have been admitted on this basis and a further 13 cases are under consideration.

I understand that the refugee agencies are not at the moment putting forward applications to fill the small number of remaining places until future policy has been determined. We are now considering future policy towards the problem of Vietnamese refugees in south-east Asia as a whole. In the meantime, our commitment to RASRO and family reunion continues and 27 people have been accepted under these schemes in the last two months.

The number of those admitted over the last five years are as follows:

  • 1981 1,775
  • 1982 241 of which 2 came from closed camps
  • 1983 101 of which 15 came from closed camps
  • 1984 88 of which 38 came from closed camps
  • 1985 44 none of whom came from closed camps
  • 1986 444 of which 181 came from closed camp
(1981 was the last year of the extended criteria for family reunion and the closed camps were not established until 2 July 1982.)