MPs to examine fairness of the UK asylum process

A parliamentary committee will scrutinise the current UK asylum process, it was announced this morning.

MPs on the House of Commons women and equalities committee will investigate how far individuals fleeing persecution can seek asylum in the UK in a ‘safe and fair manner’.

Following reports from the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group that lesbian and gay people are rejected at a higher rate than other asylum claims, the inquiry will ask whether those with certain protected characteristics (as defined in the UK’s 2010 Equality Act) are more or less likely to be granted asylum.

The 2010 act defines age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation as ‘protected characteristics’.

It will also examine the mechanics of the asylum process to assess to what extent the government is able to address discrimination or specific dangers for those with protected characteristics within the existing framework.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee will separately scrutinise the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme and will examine early evidence of how people with a range of protected characteristics are experiencing the scheme, and measures needed to support them.

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, said: “Given that many of those seeking asylum in the UK do so to escape persecution, it is essential that our own asylum process is a safe and fair space, free from discrimination. We will thoroughly examine the system in order to understand any existing inequalities and how these can be rebalanced.

“It is also important that people with protected characteristics are safeguarded and supported whilst in the system. The UK must be a welcoming place for those fleeing discrimination, and a safe asylum process is vital.”