HC Deb 17 July 1997 vol 298 c253W
Ms Julie Morgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements he has made for amending the opening hours for provision of visas to the public in the Islamabad embassy; on what date he anticipates it will be open for normal hours; what is the size of the backlog of visa applications; and what factors underlie the problems experienced. [9108]

Mr. Fatchett

The normal operation of the Entry Clearance Section in Islamabad has been disrupted over recent weeks by a number of crashes of the Section's computer equipment. I am pleased to say that the faults have been repaired. We also expect to install a new system within a few weeks.

In the meantime, the Visa Section ended its restricted operation, and re-opened for normal business, on Monday 14 July. It is giving priority to Visit applications. New settlement applications will be accepted from 21 July, and the backlog of 1,200 settlement applications is being tackled as quickly as possible.