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Asylum Seekers: North Korea

Volume 703: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What help they have received from the Government of South Korea in identifying around 450 people claiming asylum in the United Kingdom as North Koreans; and whether, if an applicant's fingerprints have been taken for the EURODAC computer system but do not match with the South Korean national fingerprint system, they will inform that applicant’s legal representative.[HL5215]

In late 2007 there was an increase in the number of applications from North Korean asylum seekers. Intelligence indicated some of the alleged North Koreans had in fact gained South Korean citizenship through the South Korean “New Settler” scheme, and were concealing their South Korean status.

UK officials have agreed in principle with the South Korean authorities to check the fingerprints of alleged North Korean asylum seekers against the South Korean citizenship database. This will be done on a bilateral basis between Governments, in confidence and in a secure format.

Fingerprint matching results will be used in a fair and open manner and incorporated into the case by case decision-making process. In cases where no match is identified, this will be made available in the normal manner and seen as supporting evidence showing that the applicant is not in fact South Korean.