Letter: Distasteful rules for immigrants

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Sir: The letter from Derek Partridge (6 October), welcoming the criticism by the Law Society of the family reunion aspects of the new immigration rules, is a frightening example of how officials of government departments are increasingly called upon to implement rules which they strongly disagree with and disapprove of.

Mr Partridge, formerly assistant and then head of the Migration and Visa Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 1979 and 1983, recalls his 'unpleasant responsibility' when forced to assist in the implementation of the new Government's first changes to the immigration rules.

The new immigration rules are a further step backwards. They impose even stricter conditions in many areas. For example, the rules require widowed parents to be at least 65 years of age before they can join their children in the United Kingdom. In the belief that they cover every eventuality, they also require the dismissal of all appeals where the claims are not specifically provided for. The rules are thus sealed against compassionate appeal.

The negative depiction of immigrants may be felt to pay electoral profits for the Conservatives, but it injures good community relations and also fosters prejudice.

Yours faithfully,


MP for Nottingham North

House of Commons,

London, SW1

7 October

The writer is Labour Spokesperson on Immigration.