HC Deb 24 May 1988 vol 134 cc106-7W
Mr. Madden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the current delay in inquiries being made into entry clearance applications being referred to the United Kingdom for further inquiry; what proposals he has to increase staff who are undertaking such inquiries; and what proposals he has to expedite inquiry reports being submitted to overseas post.

Mr. Renton

The time taken to make inquiries into entry clearance applications referred by overseas posts to the Home Office depends on the individual nature of the case, in particular whether an interview is needed. Entry clearance inquiries are an integral part of the work of the immigration department and are taken into account in determining staffing levels. Further, the recent immigration rules changes were designed to reduce the burden of routine work and thus to release resources to enable staff to deal more speedily with the other aspects of their work, including entry clearance referrals.

Mr. Madden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many entry clearance applications have been referred to him for inquiries to be made in the United Kingdom in each of the last five years; how many such refusals have been made in 1988 to the latest available date; how many immigration officers are involved full-time with such inquiry work; what is the minimum and maximum delay in arranging interviews currently; and what is the current minimum and maximum time taken between a case being referred to his Department and reports being received by the appropriate overseas post.

Mr. Renton

The information is not available in the form requested. The available information is as follows:

Entry clearance applications referred to immigration service headquarters for inquiries to be made through local immigration offices:
Year Number
1983 2,336
1984 2,351
1985 2,258
1986 2,109
1987 2,084
11988 1,169
11 January to 13 May.

These inquiries represent only part of the duties of immigration officers at the ports involved and no officers are currently employed full-time on entry clearance interviews.

Arrangements for interviews are made immediately on receipt of the file at most ports although the maximum time at others before these arrangements can be made is up to a month.

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