More than 1,350 migrants faced illegal demands to provide DNA, review finds

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More than 1,350 migrants faced illegal demands to provide DNA samples as part of their applications to live in the UK, a report shows.

Gurkha families and Afghans who worked for the UK, and were offered the right to settle in Britain, were among those affected.

The number is treble that of the near-450 figure given in October 2018, when Home Secretary Sajid Javid apologised to MPs after it emerged people had been compelled to supply DNA evidence.

The independent DNA review, by Darra Singh (pictured), outlined how the Home Office has no express legal power to require people to provide DNA to support an application, nor can an application be refused for not providing such evidence – with the action being a voluntary one.

It added DNA based evidence is “often beneficial” to both the applicant and the department in speeding up decisions based on family links.

Concerns were also raised over how information was managed, with the report then noting: “Overall the Home Office currently knows of 1,351 main applicants/family units who have had DNA based evidence requested on a mandatory basis.

“Of these they know 590 provided it and 339 paid for it.

“Improvement is needed in the use of information readily available from Home Office systems to understand who is impacted by known issues.

“There also needs to be a standard operating procedure in relation to data capture during a critical incident and improvement in the approach to, and application of, business rules for locally held information pertaining to migrants.”

It said the Home Office should contact and offer financial redress to those 339 people identified.

The review also said the Home Office “quickly acted to remedy the problem” when the issue came to light, adding: “In all large operations mistakes are likely occur.

“An indicator of a learning organisation is one where the opportunity is taken to evaluate the response and effectiveness of the action taken to remedy problems. There can always be improvements.

“Hindsight is a capability only developed with time and is a valuable resource.

“It is commendable that the Home Office sought an independent review. We hope our findings and recommendations are helpful to the department.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) EY Consultancy.