Asylum: Interviews

Home Office written question – answered on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has issued guidance to staff undertaking face-to-face substantive interviews of asylum claimants to ensure that they facilitate social distancing to enable (a) legal representatives, (b) translators and (c) support workers to attend the interview; if she will make it her policy that claimants do not have to attend interviews alone and without representation; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office published guidance on the resumption of substantive asylum interviews on 6 August 2020. It is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-resumption-of-substantive-asylum-interviews.

The resumption of substantive asylum interviews has been facilitated by the use of videoconferencing. Where the interview room is large enough to allow the required social distancing, legal representatives, interpreters and support workers can attend interviews in-person.

Where the room is too small to facilitate the attendance of others, legal representatives, interpreters and support workers can join the interview remotely via videoconferencing.

Should a claimant wish to attend their interview with a legal representative, interpreter or support worker, then they should contact the Home Office at least three working days prior to their interview to discuss options, as outlined in the invitation to interview letter. Alternative solutions can be offered such as rescheduling the interview from a VFS centre to a Home Office location or booking a larger room in a Home Office location that will safely accommodate the presence of others.

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