Gurkhas

Government Apologises To Gurkhas Forced To Provide DNA For 'Right To Settle'

Over 130 people were required to take DNA tests by the Home Office in order to prove their right to live in Britain.

Sajid Javid makes his statement to the House of Commons (Picture: Parliament TV).

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has apologised after relatives of some Gurkhas and Afghans were illegally asked for DNA samples to prove their right to settle in Britain.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Javid confirmed that in more than 130 cases, immigrants were told they must provide samples – a move he also acknowledged was illegal.

The law states that the provision of DNA evidence should always be voluntary and never mandatory.

Gurkhas
51 of the cases concerned relatives of Gurkhas, some of them were children (Picture: MOD).

The families of some of the Afghan translators who worked with British forces in Afghanistan were also involved.

Mr Javid apologised to the Commons and told MPs that the practice was "unacceptable".

He added: "I am determined to get to the bottom of how and why, in some cases, people were compelled to provide DNA in the first place.

"Across our immigration system, no-one should face a demand to supply DNA evidence and no-one should have been penalised for not providing it."

The Cabinet minister made clear to MPs that this "should not have happened" and apologised specifically to Gurkha and Afghan families.

He said: "In particular I would like to apologise to those Gurkha and Afghans who have been affected.

"I am sorry that demands were made of them which never should have been."

Labour MP Yvette Copper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "The contents of the Home Secretary's statement are shocking and may have had a devastating impact on the lives of families.

"Given that this comes after the Windrush crisis, he will recognise this means things have gone badly wrong in the Home Office."

Mr Javid told MPs that those affected would be reimbursed and announced that he had set up a task force to investigate any further breaches.

He also said he would be reviewing the immigration system to ensure it was "fair and humane".

The review will be informed by Wendy Williams, who investigated the Windrush scandal.