Safeguards brought in on Immigration Bill

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Indy Politics
THE GOVERNMENT yesterday stood by its decision to deny appeal rights to would-be visitors to Britain who are refused entry by immigration officers, writes Heather Mills.

But after widespread criticism of the proposal in the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Bill, it has included extra safeguards.

Charles Wardle, Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, said people refused a visitor's visa would be furnished with greater details of the reasons for refusal; a chance to furnish more information in support of a visa; and, 'in exceptional compassionate circumstances', a possible review by a senior official.

He told MPs during yesterday's Committee Stage consideration of the Bill that with a backlog of some 23,000 appeals, the present sytem was 'not delivering a fair, effective and timely remedy to visitors or to those seeking to settle here'. The Government maintains that it is necessary to restrict short-term visitors' rights so that those seeking permanent residence can be dealt with more speedily.

But although these greater potections may satisfy concerns on the Tory back benches, they are unlikely to silence the criticism from immigration lawyers and civil rights campaigners, who claim the proposals are racist because they will mainly affect black British families.

By far the greatest number of people refused entry to the United Kingdom are from black and Third World countries.