The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration today published a report into the handling of custom and immigration offences at ports. Many of the individuals concerned had claimed asylum. The Chief Inspector criticised the UK Border Agency for delays and inadequate communication with asylum seekers.
In response, Judith Dennis, Policy Officer at the Refugee Council said:
“The Independent Chief Inspector has once again found many examples of the UK Border Agency’s failure to stick to its own rules and guidance regarding appropriate processing and recording in asylum claims. This latest inspection shows that UKBA has failed to consider information relevant to people’s claims for asylum, as well as a lack of explanation to those whose claims received no decision for months on end.
It is good to hear that the inspectors found no incidents of children being prosecuted for immigration offences; however we would like to see specific guidance on this. It is important that seeking asylum is never seen as a crime and that all guidance and practice seeks to focus on providing protection to those that need it, rather than seeking to deter people from entering with threats of prosecution.”
The full report is on the Independent Chief Inspector’s website