An investigation by the Financial Times has found [paywall] that the Home Office has been forcing some immigration candidates to take DNA tests, even though this is against its own policy.
Meanwhile, a damning report by the House of Commons home affairs select committee has called “for an evaluation of the entire suite of hostile environment measures”.
As the Financial Times reported [paywall]:
The DNA demands, contained in letters to immigration candidates seen by the Financial Times, were made in cases where foreign parents of British children were seeking to stay in the country. The demands were often made despite there being alternative proof of paternity that had already been accepted by other government departments.
On 7 June, minister of state for the Home Office Caroline Nokes told parliament that, in immigration cases, DNA evidence was only provided “on an entirely voluntary basis”. Labour MP Afzal Khan had asked Nokes whether it is Home Office policy:
to require applicants for (a) visas and (b) asylum to provide DNA tests to prove British-born children are theirs.
There is no specific requirement for DNA evidence to be provided in immigration cases.
It is open to individuals to provide DNA evidence if they choose but this would be on an entirely voluntary basis and where this is submitted, we will consider it.
The Financial Times spoke to a family of Vietnamese origin living in Dover. It reported [paywall] that:
the Home Office last year demanded their children undergo a DNA test, even though the UK consulate in Hanoi accepted that their father was Ngoc Khanh Pham, a UK citizen, when he registered their births in 2004.
The family’s solicitor stated [paywall] that the Home Office made it clear that, without submitting a DNA test, Pham’s wife would not be allowed to remain in the UK.
We are aware of a number of letters which were issued requesting DNA tests where this was not made clear; we are reviewing the wording and have stopped any further letters being issued. The minister for immigration has commissioned an urgent review into this.
The Windrush Scandal
The investigation surfaced on the same day (3 July) that MPs demanded “root and branch” reform of the Home Office following the Windrush scandal. A report by the home affairs select committee argued that:
A change in culture at the Home Office over recent years as a consequence of political decisions has led to an environment in which applicants appear to have been automatically treated with suspicion and scepticism and forced to follow processes that appear designed to set them up to fail … The inability of the Home Office to assess the scale of errors or the number of people being treated unlawfully under the hostile/compliant environment is a serious problem.
But in the wake of the Financial Times investigation, chair of the home affairs select committee Yvette Copper stated [paywall] that the Home Office is providing incorrect information to parliament “too often”. She concluded [paywall] that:
It is a serious concern if the government has not been following its own family visa and asylum policy guidance.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?