‘Hostile environment’ alive and kicking!

Students demanding justice after being wrongly targeted by the Home Office

LAST week the National Audit Office launched an investigation into the Home Office’s decision in 2014, when Theresa May was Home Secretary, to accuse 34,000 international students of cheating an English language test.

Now, whistleblowers employed at the Dublin Cessation Team (DCT), the Home Office unit responsible for determining which EU member state is responsible for considering an asylum claim and transferring the asylum seeker to the responsible state, have made a whole range of further ‘hostile environment’ allegations, which were published in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper.

‘Mistakes by overworked, under-skilled, bullied and highly stressed DCT caseworkers are directly and frequently leading to immigration detentions that are later proved to be unlawful,’ claimed one source.

Whistleblowers allege that:

  • Decisions on whether an applicant can stay in the UK, supposed to take six months, frequently take two years. During this time, applicants are in limbo, unable to work or rent property.
  • People who have sought asylum are frequently unlawfully detained for up to six weeks in immigration removal centres.
  • Personal performance targets indirectly encourage employees to reject applications without fully examining whether people have the right to remain in the UK.
  • People with a strong case to remain in the UK are deported because of poor decisions made by insufficiently trained staff.

The sources also criticise personal performance targets which are so stringent, they allege, that employees feel indirectly incentivised to reject asylum applications.