Clause 29 - Article 1(A)(2):well-founded fear

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:13 pm ar 26 Hydref 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 5:13, 26 Hydref 2021

I thank hon. Members for tabling the amendments. I agree about the importance of the UK carefully assessing whether asylum seekers have a well-founded fear of persecution, as required under article 1A(2) of the refugee convention. However, we do not agree with the amendments, which, when considered together, will leave decision makers with a lack of clarity on how to consider whether a claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution.

Clause 29 is currently drafted to introduce a clear, step-by-step process for decision makers considering whether an asylum seeker has a well-founded fear of persecution. Currently, there is no clearly outlined test as such. While there is case law, policy and guidance, the current approach leads to a number of different elements being considered as part of one overall decision. The reforms that the Government want to introduce create distinct stages that a decision maker must go through, with clearly articulated standards of proof for each. I am confident that hon. Members will agree that that will lead to clearer and more consistent decisions. That is desirable for all involved.

The amendments include what is already in subsection (4) of clause 29, and it is unclear how they are proposed to fit with subsections (3) and (5). That therefore creates a lack of clarity and defeats the clarificatory purpose of the clause. As identified by hon. Members, clause 29 also raises the standard of proof for one element of the test to the balance of probabilities. Whether an asylum seeker has a characteristic that causes them to fear persecution, also referred to as a convention reason, will be tested to the balance of probabilities.