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Race Relations Act

Volume 709: debated on Wednesday 1 April 2009


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 a Somali national submit to language analysis.

This authorisation replaces the Race Relations (Immigration and Asylum) (Language Analysis) Authorisation 2008 (5 June-4 April 2009), which will expire on the latter date.

Language analysis carried out in 2008 for some Somali 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. It will also assist in deterring such asylum claims.

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 12 months (until April 2010), 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.