Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, recently issued an apology to migrants who had been asked to take mandatory DNA tests as part of their UK immigration applications. It is important to note that inclusion of DNA information with your immigration application is not mandatory under the law and should always be provided on a voluntary basis.
The apology, which was made by Mr Javid in a statement to Parliament, came shortly after the publication of an urgent internal review of Home Office procedures on 25 October 2018, carried out by Richard Alcock. Mr Javid commissioned the review in June 2018 following the revelation that Home Office caseworkers had been requesting mandatory DNA testing and had been refusing UK visas to parents seeking entry on the basis of their relationship with their British children. A small number of the applications were refused solely on the basis that DNA evidence was not provided. The Alcock report confirmed that the Home Office has no legal basis to require mandatory DNA information to be submitted with an application. The report also outlined a number of issues within the UK immigration system which had facilitated the unlawful requests.
In his statement to Parliament, Mr Javid committed to reviewing the UK immigration system and ensuring that the UK “can deliver [an immigration] system in a way which is fair and humane”. He also committed to ensuring that the system and processes used by the Home Office caseworkers “are fit for the modern world. And fit for the immigration system we will be bringing in as we leave the European Union”.
Christina Blacklaws, the president of the Law Society of England and Wales, issued a statement following Mr Javid’s apology, in which she welcomed the Home Secretary’s promise to review the immigration system. Ms Blacklaws added that the failures in the current immigration system undermine the rule of law and criticised the UK government for shielding immigration services from scrutiny by stripping back appeal rights, removing legal aid, and providing an immigration exemption in the Data Protection Bill. Ms Blacklaws also called for an “immigration and asylum process that is fit for purpose, fair, lawful, and provides timely, consistent decisions for all applicants and their families”.
Mr Javid did not provide any timeframe or a more specific indication of what he wants to change in the UK immigration system.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team and discuss whether we are able to assist with your matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.