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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

British Home Secretary apologises for immigrant DNA test

Sajid Javid said the provision of DNA evidence should not have been mandatory

Home Secretary Sajid Javid leaves Number 10 Downing Street in London, England. Getty Images
Home Secretary Sajid Javid leaves Number 10 Downing Street in London, England. Getty Images

Home Secretary Sajid Javid apologised Thursday for illegally requiring immigrants to provide DNA samples as part of their visa applications to settle in the UK.

An internal review was launched four months ago after officials admitted to forcing migrants to take DNA tests.

"Today I want to take this opportunity to apologise to those affected by this practice," Mr Javid told MPs.

"The provision of DNA evidence should always be voluntary and never mandatory."

According to a report, the DNA evidence was requested using inappropriate wording in 398 cases as part of an operation investigating fraud - 83 of the asylum applications were refused.

13 of the cases are currently being reviewed. Seven of them were found to have been refused solely for not providing DNA evidence whilst in six of them, the refusal to provide DNA was referenced. A task force was set up to investigate further cases.

Mr Javid said he was "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," he said.

Those affected will be compensated and Mr Javid vowed to review the immigration system to ensure it was "fair and humane".

Labour MP Yvette Copper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said that "the contents of the Home Secretary's statement are shocking and may have had a devastating impact on the lives of families.”

The Scottish National Party (SNP) also voiced criticism. "It's another example of the Home Office being out of control and a result of a migration target that they're still completely obsessed with and more evidence that the hostile environment lives on," frontbencher Patrick Grady said.

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