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Equality (Language Analysis—Palestinian, Syrian and Kuwaiti Testing) Authorisation 2013

Volume 558: debated on Thursday 14 February 2013

I am today making a ministerial authorisation under schedule 3, part 4, paragraph 17(4)(a) and (b) of the Equality Act 2010. This authorisation may be cited as the Equality (Language Analysis—Palestinian, Syrian and Kuwaiti Testing) Authorisation 2013.

The purpose of language analysis (LA) testing in UK Border Agency is to assist in identifying an asylum applicant’s true place of origin where it is in doubt, and to deter claims made in a false nationality because of an actual or perceived benefit to an asylum claim. Where the United Kingdom is responsible for deciding a case, LA testing may be carried out on an informed consent basis, and presently, only if it is strongly suspected the applicant has provided false information regarding their place of origin. A refusal to submit to testing may be taken into account when determining whether an applicant has assisted in establishing the facts of his case or her case.

UK Border Agency data on language analysis testing between October 2011 and May 2012 shows that although 20 different claimed nationalities were tested, on a case-by-case basis, abuse was particularly apparent for three claimed nationalities. Where tested, those claiming to be Kuwaiti were shown in 26 out of 33 cases (79%) not to be from Kuwait; none of the 12 claiming to be Palestinian (100%) were found to be from Palestine; and, to July 2012, 12 of the 15 applicants (80%) claiming to be Syrian nationals were assessed to not be from Syria.

I therefore consider the ministerial authorisation to be reasonable, rational, proportionate and necessary for maintaining the integrity of the immigration system.

The authorisation gives approval for the UK Border Agency to use linguistic analysis to analyse the language of persons making an asylum claim where they claim to be of Palestinian national origin or Syrian nationality or Kuwaiti nationality, to assist in determining whether those asylum seekers are of the national origin or nationality respectively as claimed.

The authorisation shall come into operation 20 February 2013, and remain in force until revoked.

I am placing a copy of the authorisation in the Library of the House.