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Asylum Seekers: Language Analysis

Volume 706: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008


My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration (Phil Woolas) 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 nationals of Afghanistan submit to language analysis.

Language analysis carried out for some Somali and Eritrean asylum applicants demonstrates that significant proportions of those tested have claimed to be of a nationality, or from a region or grouping, that is not their own in order to try to gain residence in this country. We are aware that a proportion of Afghan claims also are from other nationalities. This new authorisation will assist the Secretary of State to make decisions in individual Afghan cases, and to ascertain the extent of abuse within this nationality.

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 five months (until April 2009), 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.