As of today, 02 September 2022, a new Policy on Entry Control has come into effect.
A robust system of entry control is a core function of government and is necessary for the good governance of the territory. As there is no automatic right to entry to, or right to remain in, Ascension it is important that decisions are made in line with established, proportionate principles and procedures, and that these are applied openly, fairly and consistently.
By establishing a published policy that details these, including on what grounds permission to enter or remain may be refused, such decisions will be clearly understandable and open to public scrutiny.
Between Friday 24 June and Monday 18 July a public consultation was held on a draft Policy on Entry Control to Ascension. During the public consultation process a number of issues were raised and as such a number of edits and adaptions to the draft policy. A Government Response to Consultation document was then published detailing these. Notably, changes were made around how past offending was to be considered in the decision-making process, in line with the principles of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
In determining grounds for refusal based on previous offending, AIG must ensure it is taking appropriate action to safeguard the public from potential offending. Following consultation, guidance for decision makers has been adapted to indicate a presumption in favour of taking certain decisions rather than an absolute direction to do so, based on certain evidence.
Where criminality grounds are identified as a relevant factor, the guidance has also been amended to direct decision makers to consider the nature of the offending, the impact of the offending on the victim and the community, offending by the perpetrator before and since, and the possible impact on the wider community of that individual being granted permission to remain in, or enter, Ascension.
The new policy also establishes a robust appeals process so that applicants can be assured that they have been treated fairly and decisions have indeed been made in line with the new policy.
The policy is available online through the AIG website via https://www.ascension.gov.ac/government/public-documents or through the Administrator’s Office in Georgetown.