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Committee launches inquiry into asylum

25 February 2013

The Home Affairs Committee is today launching an inquiry into Asylum

The Committee’s inquiry will include, but will not be limited to, analysis of:

  • The process of claiming asylum;
  • The treatment of applicants; and
  • Post-decision outcome.

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“It is a decade since the Committee undertook a focused inquiry in to the asylum system. The Committee will be looking at how robust and efficient it is.
 
The latest figures from UKBA show a 53% rise in the number of asylum cases waiting more than 6 months for an initial decision.
 
We intend to evaluate the system and suggest improvements in a number of areas in order to ensure that the right decision is made first time, in a suitable time frame and with as little bureaucracy as possible.”

Terms of Reference

The inquiry will consider:

  • The effectiveness of the UK Border Agency screening process, including the method of determining eligibility for the ‘Detained Fast Track’ procedure.
  • The use of Country of Origin Information and Operational Guidance Notes in determining the outcome of asylum applications.
  • The assessment of the credibility of women, the mentally ill, victims of torture and specific nationalities within the decision-making process and whether this is reflected in appeal outcomes.
  • The effectiveness of the 5 year review system introduced in 2005.
  • Whether the system of support to asylum applicants (including section 4 support) is sufficient and effective and possible improvements.
  • The prevalence of destitution amongst asylum applicants and refused asylum seekers.
  • Whether the UKBA or third sector organisations should be able to highlight concerns regarding legal practitioners to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
  • Whether the media is balanced in their reporting of asylum issues.
  • The prevalence of refused asylum seekers who are tortured upon return to their country of origin and how the UK Government can monitor this.

Written evidence is invited from interested parties. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Monday 15 April 2013.

Please bear in mind that the Committee is not able to investigate individual cases.

Further information

Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format—not PDF format—and sent by e-mail to homeaffcom@parliament.uk. The use of colour and expensive-to-print material, e.g. photographs, should be avoided. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/have-your-say/take-part-in-committee-inquiries/witness/ .

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the

Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The remit of the Home Affairs Committee is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Home Office and its associated public bodies.

Image: iStockphoto

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