Asylum: Interviews

Home Office written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Attorney General)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 5 October 2020 to Question 96931 on Asylum: Interviews, whether the pilot of third parties carrying out asylum interviews will include interviews of those who are or claim to be under 18 years; and whether additional safeguards will be put in place for such interviews carried out by third parties.

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

Asylum Operations are exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. Asylum interviews have not been outsourced, and at this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility.

Third party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. The course will include training specifically about modern slavery and safeguarding awareness. Third party interviewing officers will not be carrying out the interviews of those who are or claim to be under 18 years.

Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role. Third party interviewing officers will not be carrying out the interviews of those who are or claim to be under 18 years.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

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