Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Andrew Hewett: If you are an Eritrean national and the Home Office contests that you are from Eritrea—perhaps it says that you are from Ethiopia—you would be expected to attend both the Eritrean and Ethiopian embassies and almost go through the process of applying for a passport. Then the Home Office would want to see written confirmation from that embassy as to why it cannot issue you with a passport.

Practically, you could make an appointment at the embassy, go down there and go through the process, but neither of those embassies currently provides any written  confirmation. So some of those people are in positions where they have to take an independent witness with them and then that person provides a witness statement to say, “Yes, the person did attend. This is what happened at the embassy” because there is no viable way of getting that confirmation from the embassy. The Home Office does not commonly accept those witness statements. These people are in an incredibly difficult situation. They have done everything humanly possible and followed every instruction, but there is some other barrier preventing them from meeting that very high threshold.