Visitors denied entry to UK may get appeal

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Indy Politics
MINISTERS are considering providing safeguards in the Asylum and Immigration Bill following protests over proposals to abolish foreigners' rights of appeal against being refused a visit to Britain.

They had been faced with opposition from immigration lawyers, pressure groups and the Labour Party, which argued a denial of appeal would particularly affect black British families.

A major concern was that if unaltered, immigration law would become the only area where there are no rights of appeal. But yesterday government sources suggested that safeguards may be considered when the clause is debated in committee today.

The clause denying visitors any right of appeal against immigration officers' decisions was included when the Bill, abandoned in the run-up to the election, returned in October. While softening the policy towards asylum seekers, Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, instead clamped down on foreign visitors.

He said the appeals system was overloaded and there was a need to reduce the 26,000-application backlog. It was decided to restrict short-term visitors' rights so that those seeking permanent residence could be dealt with more speedily.

But civil rights campaigners said the move would be 'racist'. By far the greatest number of people refused entry are from black and Third World countries.

In 1991, 1,495 out of 8,010 immigration appeals - or one in five - were successful. Graham Allen, Labour's Home Affairs spokesman, said: 'These people will now be without power of redress.'