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Race Relations Act

Volume 698: debated on Tuesday 5 February 2008

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration and Minister for the West Midlands (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have made an authorisation under Section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended, to enable the Secretary of State to request that asylum applicants claiming to be Somali or Eritrean nationals submit to language analysis. This authorisation replaces the Race Relations (Immigration and Asylum) (Language Analysis) Authorisation 2007, which has expired.

Language analysis carried out in 2007 for some Somali and Eritrean asylum applicants demonstrated that significant proportions of those tested had claimed to be of a nationality or from a region or grouping that was not their own, in order to try to gain residence in this country. This authorisation will assist the Secretary of State to make decisions in individual cases and to ascertain the extent of this abuse. The Secretary of State may take a refusal to submit to testing into account when determining whether an applicant has assisted in establishing the facts of his case or her case.

The authorisation will remain in place for four months (until June 2008), at which point we will review whether it is still necessary and appropriate.

I am placing copies of the authorisation in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.