HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 c321W
Mr. Hunter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the fast track visa scheme on the employment prospects of British IT specialists. [120299]

Beverley Hughes

In operating the work permit arrangements, Work Permits (UK) is concerned to ensure that UK employers are able to recruit those workers with the skills that they need while protecting the interests of resident workers and that decisions to issue work permits are therefore based on a full understanding of current labour market conditions. The Information Technology, Communications and Electronics Sector Advisory Panel meets regularly to advise Work Permits (UK) on labour market conditions in the IT sector, and the information on which any assessment is based is kept under continuous review. In the light of the panel's advice, IT occupations were removed from Work Permit (UK's) Shortage Occupation List in September 2002.

Simon Hughes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information the Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau in Croydon provides to(a) the public and (b) legal representatives concerning the location of applications which are suffering from delays; and if he will make a statement. [121845]

Beverley Hughes

The Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau (INEB) does not give out details of the locations of individual files, which would be neither meaningful nor helpful for customers. General guidance on timescales is given by INEB agents and mirrors that contained on the Immigration Nationality Directorate website, which is regularly updated. All application forms sent out by INEB also contain an information sheet, which gives the latest timescales. Agents in the Bureau do have some information about backlogs in various locations and the Bureau is presently trying to refine that information so that callers can be given clearer likely timescales for their individual applications.