HC Deb 24 February 1999 vol 326 cc309-10W
Ms Perham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy regarding the deportation of families where there are children who have spent a long time in the United Kingdom. [73568]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

For a number of years, it has been the practice of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate not to pursue enforcement action against people who have children under 18 living with them who have spent 10 years or more in this country, save in very exceptional circumstances.

We have concluded that 10 years is too long a period. Children who have been in this country for several years will be reasonably settled here and may, therefore, find it difficult to adjust to life abroad. In future, the enforced removal or deportation will not normally be appropriate where there are minor dependent children in the family who have been living in the United Kingdom continuously for 7 or more years. In most cases, the ties established by children over this period will outweigh other considerations and it is right and fair that the family should be allowed to stay here. However, each case will continue to be considered on its individual merits.

Forward to