HC Deb 15 October 1996 vol 282 cc877-8W
Mr. Congdon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are his plans for the reintroduction of compulsory application forms for foreign nationals wishing to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom following the suspension of the scheme on 6 June. [41079]

Mr. Kirkhope

The compulsory application forms system introduced on 3 June was suspended after three days following legal challenge. Having heard the arguments, we were persuaded that it was right to make changes and the forms have therefore been revised to take account of the issues raised. Copies of the newly prescribed versions have been placed in the Library. The new forms will be compulsory for applications made on or after 25 November. As before, the scheme does not cover applications under European Community law or applications for asylum.

Application forms are designed to help applicants and to improve efficiency. They set out the basic information that an applicant must provide. The compulsory forms scheme is being introduced following a successful 12 months pilot scheme which demonstrated a clear demand for application forms. During the pilot scheme applicants showed themselves willing and able to use the forms and where forms were used applications were resolved more quickly and the need to make further inquiries was greatly reduced. Application forms benefit the applicant, the immigration system and the taxpayer. They are being introduced in order to demonstrate the high priority the Government attach to a fair and efficient manner of immigration control.