The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has publicly apologised to immigrants who were forced to give DNA samples as part of their application to settle in the UK. A recently published review from the Home Office found that a minimum of 449 cases demanded DNA, including 51 from Gurkha soldiers.
Those who are seeking to live or work in the UK on the grounds of a family relationship have the option to provide DNA to support and prove a relationship. However, it came to light that DNA evidence had been made a requirement and not a simple request for many family visa applications.
Mr Javid announced that 398 letters incorrectly stated that the applicant had to provide DNA evidence and that, should they refuse without reasonable excuse, their application could be denied on suitability grounds. 83 applications were refused – with 13 declined due to no DNA evidence (DNA was the sole reason for seven of the refusals, while DNA was part of the reason for the other six).
Labour chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper, commented on the revelation, commenting that:
“the Home Office unlawfully requiring DNA tests in hundreds of immigration applications is deeply troubling and, coming after the Windrush crisis, suggests that something has gone very wrong in the Home Office again.”
Mr Javid stated those affected will be reimbursed and has set up a task force and review of the current immigration system.
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