Questionnaire asks migrants: 'Have you been involved in terrorism?'

Questionnaire asks migrants: 'Have you been involved in terrorism?'

February 23, 2023

‘Have you ever been involved in crime or terrorism? (Yes or No)’: The fast-track questionnaire handed to Channel migrants seeking asylum

  • A new scheme will attempt to streamline the process for asylum seekers
  • Migrants will be granted refugee status on the basis of a 10-page questionnaire

A fast-track questionnaire designed to clear the massive asylum seekers backlog, will ask migrants, ‘Have you ever been involved in crime or terrorism?’.

The Home Office will launch a streamlined system which will see asylum seekers, including Channel migrants, granted refugee status on the basis of a 10-page questionnaire.

The questionnaire asks more than 50 questions in total, such as how they reached the UK and how much it cost them, and suggests that applicants use ‘online translation tools’ if necessary. 

The plan was immediately attacked by critics and dubbed ‘an amnesty in all but name’, as the Prime Minister faced demands from his own backbenches to urgently tackle the Channel crisis. 

While a charity boss expressed deep concern at the implication that applications could be withdrawn if refugees are unable to fill in the document on time. 

The questionnaire will ask migrants more than 50 questions in total, such as how they reached the UK and how much it cost them

The new fast-track scheme will be applied to Libyans, Syrians, Afghans, Eritreans and Yemenis who arrived in Britain before June 28 last year, including those who arrived by small boat across the Channel

The Home Office released figures to show 160,919 people were waiting for an initial decision on their claim as of the end of December last year.

The new scheme will be applied to Libyans, Syrians, Afghans, Eritreans and Yemenis who arrived in Britain before June 28 last year, including those who arrived by small boat across the Channel. 

Around 12,000 claims will be dealt with through the questionnaire and more than 95 per cent of them are expected to be granted, based on current rates, allowing them to settle permanently in Britain and sponsor relatives to join them here.

Officials said the ‘vast majority’ of cases will go ahead without an asylum interview – a detailed, one-to-one session with a Home Office caseworker which is designed to show up discrepancies in an applicant’s claim.

Christina Marriott, the executive director of strategy and communications at the British Red Cross, told The Guardian: ‘These men, women and children may not speak English and are likely traumatised from fleeing persecution and war. 

‘They need our support and compassion, not rushed and complicated bureaucracy that will only increase suffering.’

The questionnaire warns the asylum seekers that a failure to return the document within 20 working days ‘may result in an individual’s asylum claim being withdrawn’.

Questions include: ‘In times of peace or war have you ever been involved in or suspected of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?

Around 12,000 claims will be dealt with through the questionnaire and more than 95 per cent of them are expected to be granted

Rishi Sunak faced renewed pressure on immigration after a new fast-track scheme for 12,000 asylum seekers

‘Have you ever been involved in, supported or encouraged terrorist activities in any country?

‘Have you ever, by any means or medium, expressed views that justify or glorify terrorist violence or that may encourage others to conduct terrorist acts or serious criminal acts?’

Other questions ask if the individual fear officials in their country and if they were subject to human trafficking on their way to the UK.

Enver Solomon, head of the Refugee Council, welcomed the Home Office’s announcement as a ‘welcome first step’.

But he added: ‘After living in worry and uncertainty for months and even years without hearing anything about their claims, it cannot then be fair or reasonable to expect people to complete a lengthy form only in English in a matter of weeks especially for those who don’t have access to legal advice and don’t speak English.

‘As it stands, the Prime Minister will fail to meet his commitment to clear the backlog by the end of this year and if he is serious about it there must be a more ambitious, workable, person-centred approach that sees the face behind the case.’

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