§ Sir Bernard Braine
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases of Filipino wives of British subjects seeking admission to the United Kingdom whose applications were submitted to the independent appellate authority up to the end of March are still outstanding; when the application of Mrs. Nancy Barrera Sanderson will be decided; what are the reasons for the delay in processing such applications; and whether he will take urgent steps to end the distress caused by the delays to lawfully married couples.
§ The Attorney-General
The information requested in the first part of the question is not available, as the immigration appellate authorities (IAA) do not record information separately about appeals from Filipino citizens.
The IAA have now sent the case papers of Mrs. Nancy Berrera Sanderson's appeal to her representatives in the United Kingdom. When the representatives indicate to the IAA that they are ready to proceed to the hearing before the independent adjudicator, a hearing will be set down within four to six weeks.
Delays in processing appeals at the IAA have been caused by the unexpectedly high rise in the volume of appeals in 1988 and 1989. There was a 60 per cent. rise in 1988; a 30 per cent. rise in 1989; and a further 40 per cent. rise is expected over the next 18 months.
Significant additional resources were provided to the IAA last year, which resulted in a 50 per cent. rise in disposal rates. However, the increased workload has been so great that the backlog of appeals still remains high, but the situation is being kept under review.