Refugee Council statement about the Immigration and Nationality Directorate - Refugee Council
December 18, 2006

Refugee Council statement about the Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Responding to recent reports about the processing of asylum claims by an official allegedly linked to the Government in Uganda, and the report of the IND’s (Immigration and Nationality Directorate) own independent Complaints Audit Committee published last week, Anna Reisenberger, Acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said:

“The Refugee Council cannot comment about this particular official or the complaints against him, but we welcome the fact that such serious allegations are being promptly investigated by the Home Office.”

“On the wider point of how IND handles asylum cases, we’ve long argued that decision making is very poor. You only need to consider that one in five of all asylum refusals are overturned on appeal to see the strength of that argument. Further evidence is provided by last week’s report which revealed that there are 50 thousand complaints from MPs each year on behalf of asylum seeking constituents.”

“The fact is that the asylum system is unjust and unfair. At the root of the problem is a political drive to make sure that asylum numbers are kept low. This means that the pressure is on to refuse asylum whenever possible, with the result that many people who need protection are denied it.”

“We welcome the fact that the Home Office is promising “major changes” in the way it handles complaints about the asylum system. But it would make more sense to ensure that the system worked better in the first place so that there were fewer complaints and fewer appeals. “