A third of asylum seekers who claim to be gay fail to mention their sexuality for “months or years after arrival in the UK, often following a refusal of leave on other grounds” according to a new report. The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, revealed the figures in a major new report into the handling of asylum seekers who claim they are escaping homophobic discrimination.
Although the report acknowledges that most of the applicants are refused the right to stay, the willingness of failed asylum seekers claiming to be gay suggests they be trying to exploit the system. Vine cited one example of an applicant who only began claiming to be gay 16 years after they first arrived in the United Kingdom.
The report also warns that immigration officers are asking very explicit questions in an effort to work out who is a genuine applicant, and who is bogus. It recommends that immigration officers stop asking these type of questions, as they are considered too intrusive.
The Chairman of the home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz MP called for tougher action on “those who play the system”. He told The Times: “Someone who has been in the country for years and then applies for asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation, or applies on those grounds after being turned down on other grounds, is trying to undermine the immigration system. If we had a better managed immigration system this kind of thing would not happen.”
The report comes days after the National Audit Office (NAO) published their own study into the deportation of foreign criminals. In a sample of a hundred tip-offs about illegal immigrants, the NAO found that 40 percent were not acted on within two days, and in one case no action was taken for 73 days.
The two reports will make uncomfortable reading for the government, as immigration is becoming an increasingly controversial subject. The coalition had promised to cut immigration but this has proved to be impossible due to the right of any EU nationals to move to Britain.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the effort to get a grip of a chaotic immigration system is running into serious problems of resources.”