§ John McDonnell
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reasons for the increase in the refusal rate since August 2002 for family visa applications in(a) India, (b) Tehran, (c) Cairo, (d) Nicosia and (e) Nairobi. 
§ Mr. Rammell
All applications are decided on their merits and in accordance with the Immigration Rules. Globally the monthly refusal rate in 2002 follows a similar pattern to the monthly refusal rate in 2001. The fee for family visitor appeals was abolished on 15 May 2002 but there is no evidence that ECO decision making has been influenced by the abolition of the fee. Work is now in hand on the final report of the interdepartmental review of family visitor appeals, which we expect to publish in June.