HL Deb 25 July 2002 vol 638 cc101-2WA
Lord Hughes of Woodside

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements exist for asylum seekers to submit material in support of their claim. [HL5885]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin)

Under existing procedures, an applicant who is not issued with a statement of evidence form (SEF) to complete prior to their asylum interview is allowed five days after their substantive asylum interview to make further representations before a decision is taken on their asylum claim.

Those asylum applicants issued with an SEF prior to any substantive interview do not benefit from this arrangement. This is because applicants issued with a SEF form are given 10 working days to submit the completed form to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. We think this gives applicants a reasonable period to set out their claim and time to seek legal representation if they wish for the submission of further supporting evidence.

We have decided that asylum applicants who go through the induction centre process will no longer benefit from the five day period to make further representations. The induction centre process is designed to familiarise an asylum applicant with the asylum procedures, providing the asylum seeker with detailed briefings on different aspects of the asylum process and to explain to applicants what their obligations are. All asylum applicants who go through the induction centre process are told that all information relevant to their claim must be available by the time they are substantively interviewed because decisions on claims will be made shortly after the interview. The interview itself will be scheduled to take place two weeks after the applicant has gone through the induction process. We consider that this two-week period offers the applicant sufficient time to prepare for the interview and gather any supporting information he considers necessary.

This change is in keeping with our commitment to deliver fast asylum decisions, while at the same time ensuring that asylum seekers have a proper opportunity to establish their claims.

These arrangements do not apply to Oakington or any detained cases.