Home Office immigration unit

Hundreds of lesbian and gay asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and survivors of domestic violence may have been wrongly deported to Albania after courts and the Home Office relied on incorrect guidance, it has emerged.

In October 2011, the court of appeal ruled that the courts and the Home Office could no longer rely on expert evidence they had previously used, which stated it was safe to send these groups back to Albania. However, the Home Office and the courts continued to use this evidence for the next five years.

It is not clear why the Home Office or the courts ignored the court of appeal order made in 2011. The lawyers who brought the case said they had never before come across this situation, where the Home Office has in effect ignored a court of appeal ruling for five years.

A spokesman for the charity Asylum Aid said: β€œIt is alarming that the Home Office has been making crucial decisions about the lives of asylum seekers based on incorrect information – a wrong decision means potentially returning vulnerable people to dangerous situations and it is vital the Home Office applies the law correctly and gets these things right the first time.”

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