Jan 312009

Rajeev Sayal reports:

More than 17,000 files containing the personal details of refugees and their families have been lost by the government, plunging the asylum system into chaos.

The names, dates of birth, passport numbers and addresses of people applying to stay in Britain as well as details of their children are believed to be among the documents. In many cases, applicants have had to begin the process again, while still unable to work or claim benefits.


According to immigration caseworkers, the number of lost files has escalated because more casework is being done by regional offices, instead of offices in central London. As a result, more paper files are being transported across the country and being lost in transit.

“Principal” files can include a number of claimants from the same family. Some files include passport details, driving licence numbers and bank details, leaving the claimants open to fraud.


A UK Border Agency spokesman said that the files were lost while being moved between different offices and storage facilities. He added that the files only represent 0.2 per cent of the total number of files that are held by the Home Office.

Read more in The Guardian

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