- Some migrants deceiving Home Office staff with abuse claims, report finds
- Number of men and women applying to stay in UK via domestic violence route has soared from 59 in 2002 to 1,224 in 2014-15
- Some 75 per cent of applications made were successful, figures revealed
Migrants are pretending to be victims of domestic violence to dupe officials into letting them stay permanently in Britain.
A report found that some migrants are deceiving Home Office staff by fraudulently claiming they have been battered to get the right to live in the UK.
In 15 of 25 sampled cases the decision to grant a person indefinite leave to remain here after they claimed to suffer domestic violence was ‘not justified’, said Chief Inspector of Immigration David Bolt.
In 15 of 25 sampled cases the decision to grant a person indefinite leave to remain here after they claimed to suffer domestic violence was ‘not justified’, said Chief Inspector of Immigration David Bolt (pictured)
Normally a migrant who is the spouse of a Briton or someone who is settled in the UK must live here for five years and show the relationship is ongoing before they can apply for settlement themselves.
But if a relationship has broken down permanently because of domestic violence, the victim can be fast-tracked.
A decision is typically taken within 20 days instead of the usual six months and tests of a person’s knowledge of language and life in the UK, which are required for other settlement routes, are waived.
The number of men and women applying to stay in the UK via the domestic violence route has soared from 59 in 2002 to 1,224 in 2014-15. Some 75 per cent of applications were successful.
In his investigation into the teams handing out indefinite leave to remain, Mr Bolt said: ‘There is potential for abuse because settlement can be obtained quickly.’
Caseworkers gave excessive weight to ‘unverified evidence’, including letters from domestic violence charities which relayed the applicant’s own account of abuse rather than any independent assessment.
Keith Vaz said the way in which the domestic violence concession was being dealt with by the Home Office was 'a cause for great concern'
In 16 of the sample of 25 cases that were approved, officials did not check with the police whether an alleged incident had been reported or a criminal investigation had been carried out.
Mr Bolt found that applications were decided using just paperwork rather than interviews. He said: ‘We judged that an interview would enable the caseworker to test credibility and consistency and reach a better-evidenced decision.’
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘The way in which the domestic violence concession is being dealt with by the Home Office is a cause for great concern.’
Last night the Home Office said it was reviewing its procedures to ‘make it clearer how we assess evidence’.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘All applications are considered on their individual merits, including any compelling and compassionate circumstances, and in line with the immigration rules.
- Germany will have taken 1.1million refugees this year – five times its 2014 total. The figure, published in a newspaper, compares to last year’s total of just over 200,000. Britain opted to take 20,000 refugees direct from camps in Syria.