LETTER:EU will soon have a uniform approach to asylum-seekers

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The Independent Online
From Mr Peter R. H. Moss

Sir: This firm currently represents more than 100 Algerian asylum seekers. Their fears of persecution if they return to their native land appear to us to be broadly genuine so as to bring them within the terms of the well-founded fear of persecution test imposed by the UN convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees.

Most of our clients believe that they will be able to get a fair hearing here, which is why they have claimed asylum in this country. I am proud of that.

Nearly all of our Algerian clients seeking asylum have entered the UK illegally, most frequently by purchasing an identity card of another European country. That is the only way in which they could travel to this country and claim asylum. If they are now to be told that their cases will not be heard on their merits, they will simply not apply for asylum. They will still flee here. They will still gain admission.

The proposed restrictions on appeal rights, which seem likely to extend to Algerians, will therefore simply have the effect of greatly increasing the number of long-term illegal residents in the UK.

Yours faithfully

Peter R. H. Moss

Immigration adviser with

Bates, Wells & Braithwaite

London, EC1

26 October