Asylum seekers who are being considered for refugee status are now being tagged by the government – including some as soon as they set foot in the UK. Previously the government has confined tagging to asylum seekers who were in detention.
Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, says: “We are concerned that the government has extended the use of tagging for asylum seekers without making clear why people need to be monitored in this way. When tagging of asylum seekers was introduced it was designed to be for those who had been in detention and it was done with consent.
“Recently, we have seen the consent rule removed and tagging used more widely. For instance, we have heard reports of asylum seekers being tagged after going for routine meetings with Immigration officials. There should be published criteria that sets out which asylum seekers are liable to be tagged and why.
“Clearly monitoring is preferable to detention but we’re concerned that tagging is associated in the public’s mind with criminal behaviour and so it further reinforces the idea, still sadly very widespread, that asylum seeker = criminal. Asylum seekers have broken no laws and should not be treated as if they have. Tagging should be used only when it is really necessary.”
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