Home Immigration News Javid ‘sorry’ for illegal DNA grabs

Javid ‘sorry’ for illegal DNA grabs

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HOME SECRETARY Sajid Javid had to apologise today after the Home Office was exposed for illegally requiring immigrants to provide DNA samples with their visa applications.

People seeking to live and work in Britain on the basis of a family relationship can choose to provide DNA to prove the relationship to support an application — but the law states that it is never mandatory.

Mr Javid told the Commons that in June that the provision of DNA evidence had been made a requirement and a review of the scandal published by the Home Office today found that around 450 DNA demands had been issued.

One anti-fraud operation in 2016 made 398 applicants give DNA as part of the investigation, with 13 subsequent visa refusals being linked to DNA provision — seven of those solely because DNA was not provided.

A further 51 relatives of Gurkhas had to give DNA and pay for their own testing, with four refusals for not providing DNA, although all four have now had that decision overturned.

A number of Afghan translators offered the right to settle in Britain were also included in a mandatory DNA testing scheme.

Opposition MPs branded the Home Office “out of control” and said the scandal revealed that “the hostile environment lives on” after the Windrush scandal earlier this year.

Mr Javid apologised to the Commons and told MPs that the practice was “unacceptable.”

He said: “I am determined to get to the bottom of how and why, in some cases, people were compelled to provide DNA in the first place.

“Across our immigration system, no-one should face a demand to supply DNA evidence and no-one should have been penalised for not providing it.”

Mr Javid continued: “In particular I would like to apologise to those Gurkha and Afghans who have been affected.

“I am sorry that demands were made of them which never should have been.”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said that cases of the Home Office illegally requiring DNA samples were raised in written questions tabled by Labour MP Afzal Khan in June but that Mr Javid’s department had denied it was occurring.

She said: “Abuses like this don’t fall from the sky. Officials at the Home Office have been carrying out the government’s hostile environment policy, which is also what led to the Windrush scandal.

“People are being treated as guilty or illegal unless they can prove their innocence.

“We need a fair and robust immigration system, but the hostile environment isn’t it and the government should end it.”

In the Commons, Mr Javid told MPs that those affected would be reimbursed and announced that he had set up a task force to investigate any further breaches.

He also said he would be reviewing the immigration system to ensure it was “fair and humane.”

The review will be informed by Wendy Williams, who investigated the Windrush scandal.

Source: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/javid-sorry-for-illegal-dna-grabs

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