“Any review of immigration and asylum should begin with a long, hard look at the culture driving Home Office systems and processes,” Law Society of England and Wales president Christina Blacklaws said today, welcoming the Home Secretary’s intention to review the immigration system*.
“Failures in the current system undermine the rule of law. Legislation and opaque processes increasingly shield UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) from scrutiny.
“People who navigate the system should help shape the review – migrant communities; the legal advisers and NGOs that represent them. Home Office caseworkers and policy teams should also inform the parameters of the review.
“Those who have been failed must be heard – former Gurkhas or Afghan nationals and their families who were told they must provide DNA samples, the Windrush generation, businesses and individuals.”
Christina Blacklaws said lack of accountability in Home Office decision-making remained a concern.
“Appeal rights have been stripped back. Where they remain, many people cannot afford to appeal because legal aid has been removed,” she said.
“No data is even available on the quality of decisions subject to administrative review and the immigration exemption in the Data Protection Bill has stripped further accountability from Home Office decision making.
“Until the government addresses the root causes of the problems in our immigration and asylum system, anyone applying for a visa or claiming asylum is playing a game of roulette in which a flawed decision has a devastating impact on their life.
“More than ever the UK needs an immigration and asylum process that is fit for purpose, fair, lawful, and provides timely, consistent decisions for all applicants and their families.”
Notes to editors
*Home Secretary’s statement to parliament
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