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Reforms to child age assessments in Nationalities and Borders Bill investigated

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has continued its legislative scrutiny of the Nationalities and Borders Bill with a session on 17 November 2021 focusing on the asylum decision making process and age assessments.

The Nationalities and Borders Bill introduces a number of changes to speed up the decision-making process. It proposes changes to age assessments, where an individual seeking asylum or making an immigration application claims to be a child, but the authorities have insufficient evidence to be sure of their age. The Bill gives the Home Secretary the power to set out most of the detail concerning age assessments within secondary legislation, including the details of a new centralised decision-making body. The Bill also provides powers for the Home Secretary to allow the use of scientific methods to determine age, although the exact methods will be set out in secondary legislation.

The Government has also indicated that it will lower the threshold for giving age-disputed individuals the benefit of the doubt, however, the test has not been set out in the Bill.

In its session the Committee examined how well the rights of children are protected in the legislation and examine the accuracy of age assessments.

To view the session, click here.