To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals have made applications this year for leave to remain in the UK; how long an application for leave to remain in the UK takes to be processed by the Home Office from the time of submission; what Department deals with overstayer applications; and if he will make a statement on special reasons that prevent a decision being made in order to complete a case within a period of six months from date of application.
Statistics on the number of applicants seeking an extension of leave to remain in the United Kingdom are not available.
Our aim is to decide 65 per cent. of all straightforward applications on initial consideration within three weeks. Due to the exceptionally high number of applications received over the past year, and process changes which are being introduced to improve our longer term performance, it is at present taking up to six weeks to decide an application on initial consideration. We are working to reduce this to three weeks or less as soon as possible. For the same reasons some applications which need further inquiries or more detailed consideration can take up to nine months to consider. Every effort is being made to reduce this period. Information on expected processing times for general immigration cases is provided to applicants on the Immigration Nationality Directorate (IND) website at http://188.8.131.52/ default.asp?Pageld=113
A special unit within the Integrated Casework Directorate has been set up to consider applications made under the Regularisation of Overstayers Scheme.