HL Deb 25 July 2002 vol 638 cc103-4WA
Lord Varley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many successful applications have been made since 1999 under the concession for over-age applications for entry clearance, following DNA testing. [HL5589]

Lord Filkin,

On 1 January 1991 a concession was introduced concerning over-age applicants for entry clearance, following DNA testing. It enabled those dependent children who had previously been refused entry to join their parents in the United Kingdom owing to doubts about their being related as claimed to re-apply if a DNA test now confirmed the relationship. Among other requirements, they had also still to be dependent upon their parents and unmarried. By July 1991, some 550 cases relating to the concession had been considered, of which 115 were conceded. However, in recent years use of the concession has been nil. Each year between five and 10 people who have already re-applied once and been refused, have applied again, but no applications have been granted under the concession.

Last year, some members made representations to the Home Office, urging that the concession be widened so as to allow people who had been refused as minors to re-apply. The Government had considerable sympathy with their views and with the people yet more who were wrongly refused before the introduction of DNA tests made such decisions much more reliable. However, this situation arose owing to technological advances and we have already attempted, by way of the present concession, to correct any previous injustices resulting from decisions which were taken in good faith on the available evidence at the time. It is now no longer possible to identify those people who may have been wrongly refused due to doubts about their relationship to a United Kingdom sponsor, as many records of earlier decisions have been destroyed.

Given that it is not possible to widen the concession, and given that the concession is not being used and has not been used for some time, we have decided that the concession should end. After 24 August 2002 no new applications under the concession will be considered. There remains within the Immigration Rules provision for dependent relatives who find themselves in distressed circumstances to apply to join a sponsor in the United Kingdom. Any future applications will instead be considered under the existing Immigration Rules governing dependent relatives.