Consular Activities

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 2:16 pm on 7th June 1995.

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Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells , Pontypridd 2:16 pm, 7th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's consular activities in (a) Europe, (b) north America, (c) south America, (d) Asia, (e) Africa and (f) Australasia in 1994. [25451]

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

A breakdown by geographical area of how consular resources were spent in 1993–94 is contained in the 1995 departmental report of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells , Pontypridd

I thank the Minister for that answer, but I should like to ask him about one aspect of that expenditure: entry clearance duties. What measures are being taken to strengthen the alleged links between his Department and the Home Office to ensure that the activities and duties carried out by our consulates around the world with regard to entry clearance are of a sufficiently high standard and efficient enough to ensure that backlogs of work are not placed at the door the hard-pressed and under-resourced immigration service at ports of entry in Britain?

Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The entry clearance officers who work in our posts throughout the world are a mixture of Home Office and Foreign Office officials and they seek to carry out their work expeditiously. If the hon. Gentleman can instance any post where he thinks that entry clearance work is not being carried out as speedily as it should be, I hope that he will bring it specifically to my attention. Our experience is that throughout the world our entry clearance officers work hard, diligently and efficiently.