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Norsk

UDI circulars

RS 2011-023
Document-ID : RS 2011-023
Case-ID : 2011/000536-22
Documentdate : 14.08.2015
Receiver :

The Asylum Department
The National Police Immigration Service
The Department for Regions, Reception and Return

Guidelines on the use of language analyses in connection with applications for protection

1. Introduction

2. Obtaining sound recordings

2.1 In which cases should we obtain a sound recording?

2.2 Who is to obtain a sound recording?

2.2.1 Making a sound recording in connection with the submission of the application

2.2.2 Making a sound recording in connection with the interview

2.2.3 Obtaining a sound recording after the interview has been concluded

2.2.4 Registrations

2.3 How do we obtain sound recordings?

2.3.1 Defining the basis for the sound recording

2.3.2 The content of the sound recording

2.3.3 Sound recordings that fail to meet the requirements

2.3.4 Registering sound recordings in DUF

3. Ordering language analysis reports

3.1 In which cases should we order a language analysis report?

3.2 Who is to order a language analysis report?

3.3 How do we order a language analysis report?

3.3.1 Checking and handling the order

3.3.2 The content of the order letter

3.3.3 Registering the order in DUF

3.4 How should language analysis reports be received and stored?

3.5 What if the sound recording fails to meet the requirements?

3.6 How are the language analysis reports quality assured?

4. The importance of language analyses in case processing

4.1 General information about language analyses in case processing

4.2 Principles for the use of language analysis reports in case processing

4.3 Classifying the conclusions of parts A and B of the language analysis

4.3.1 Categories +3 and +2

4.3.2 Categories +1, 0 and -1

4.3.3 Categories -2 and -3

4.4 Classifying the conclusions of part C of the language analysis

4.5 Contradiction

4.5.1 The applicant's right to comment on a negative result

4.5.2 Issuing of copies of sound recordings

4.5.3 Conducting a language analysis for the applicant's own account

1. Introduction

This circular sets out both guidelines and procedures concerning language analyses that are used as part of the Directorate of Immigration's case processing of applications for protection.

Many asylum seekers do not present valid travel documents of adequate quality when they first apply for a permit from the Norwegian authorities. The purpose of a language analysis – a linguistic analysis of oral speech – is to give such asylum seekers an opportunity to help to substantiate an undocumented claim concerning their national, ethnic or regional identity, by demonstrating that they belong to a specific language community.

The immigration authorities can order applicants to participate in a language analysis in accordance with Section 83 of the Immigration Act; cf. Section 17-7 first paragraph letter h) of the Immigration Regulations.

Please note the difference between a sound recording, which can be used as a basis for a language analysis, and the language analysis itself. A sound recording is less demanding than a language analysis in terms of resources. That is one of the reasons why the immigration administration obtains more sound recordings than they carry out language analyses.

By agreement with the Directorate of Immigration, the National Police Immigration Service makes sound recordings and orders language analyses in the vast majority of the cases in which a language analysis is required.

Once an applicant has been placed in an ordinary reception centre, the sound recording can be made using the direct analysis method. Direct analysis means that it takes place over the phone. The Directorate of Immigration's Language Services Unit (SPRÅK) is responsible for organising this. See section 2.2.3.

2. Obtaining sound recordings

2.1 In which cases should we obtain a sound recording?

The immigration administration must obtain a sound recording for a language analysis in cases where there is reason to assume that the language analysis can have a bearing on the outcome of the case. If the applicant has presented an internationally valid travel document of adequate reliability/authenticity, and there is no doubt that the applicant is the document's rightful owner, a sound recording shall in principle not be made.

By agreement between the National Police Immigration Service and the head of the Asylum Department, it is mandatory to make sound recordings in certain categories of cases. Each case officer has an independent responsibility to assess whether a sound recording should be made in cases where this has not been done by the National Police Immigration Service. If a case officer believes that it is necessary to obtain a sound recording for the purpose of a language analysis, this must be clarified with the head of the unit.

2.2 Who is to obtain a sound recording?

The National Police Immigration Service makes sound recordings in connection with the registration of asylum applications, and the Directorate of Immigration does it in connection with the asylum interview or at a later date.

2.2.1 Making a sound recording in connection with the submission of the application

The National Police Immigration Service, which receives and registers applications for protection, must make a sound recording of the applicant if the case falls under a category where this is mandatory.

2.2.2 Making a sound recording in connection with the interview

If the Directorate of Immigration decides to make a sound recording in connection with the asylum interview, the interviewer is responsible for doing so.

2.2.3 Obtaining a sound recording after the interview has been concluded

If it is necessary to obtain a sound recording after the interview has been concluded, this is done using the direct analysis method. SPRÅK is responsible for organising this.

2.2.4 Registrations

The person making the sound recording must register it in DUF.

2.3 How do we obtain sound recordings?

2.3.1 Defining the basis for the sound recording

The sound recording must be explained to the applicant, so that he/she has a real chance of understanding its purpose. The explanation shall, as a minimum, contain the following elements (also see the examples in Appendix 1):

  • Why the immigration administration makes a sound recording of the applicant.
  • How the language analysis can contribute to shedding light on the case.
  • How the sound recording will take place.
  • How the analysis is carried out.
  • What the applicant can talk about in the recording.
  • Under Norwegian law, the applicant is obliged to take part in making a sound recording to be used in a language analysis.
  • The sound recording shall be anonymous.
  • If the result of the analysis is negative, the applicant will be given an opportunity to comment on the result.
  • The sound recording and the analysis will be processed in accordance with the Public Administration Act's provisions on the duty of secrecy.

The applicant shall be given an opportunity to ask questions about the basis for the sound recording and receive answers.

The explanation, including any questions and answers, shall be included in the sound recording.

2.3.2 The content of the sound recording

The sound recording must consist of two parts: the explanation of the basis as stipulated in section 2.3.1 and a language test lasting a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes. Language tests that last less than 15 minutes do not provide a sufficient basis for analysis. The sound recording shall consist of the applicant's speech only, mainly in the form of free narrative, and not songs, poems or other presentations. Nor must the speech consist of repetitions of the same story.

Because the sound recording must be anonymous, the applicant cannot state his/her own name nor that of family members or relatives in the recording, nor the applicant's exact address in his/her home country.

If the Asylum Department wants to analyse several languages from one and the same applicant, we must make separate sound recordings of 15–20 minutes each for each of the languages. We use separate audio files for the different sound recordings, and each audio file shall start with an explanation of the basis for the recording.

2.3.3 Sound recordings that fail to meet the requirements

If the sound recording does not meet the requirements stipulated above under 2.3.1–2.3.2, it does not form a valid basis for a language analysis.

2.3.4 Registering sound recordings in DUF

In all cases where an applicant submits a sound recording for a language analysis, the person making the sound recording shall register the recording in the computer system for immigration and refugee cases (DUF) as 'incoming correspondence' in the case.

3. Ordering language analysis reports

3.1 In which cases should we order a language analysis report?

The Directorate of Immigration can order a language analysis report in all cases where the Asylum Department believes that a language analysis can have a bearing on the outcome of the case.

By agreement between the head of the Asylum Department and the National Police Immigration Service, language analysis reports shall be ordered for certain categories of cases. In these cases, the National Police Immigration Service will order the reports.

Orders for language analysis reports by the Directorate of Immigration must be approved by the head of the unit.

3.2 Who is to order a language analysis report?

Who is responsible for ordering a language analysis report depends on what stage the case is at.

If the decision to order a language analysis report is made when the application is registered, the entity that receives and registers the application and makes the sound recording, i.e. the National Police Immigration Service, shall order the language analysis report from the analysis company.

In cases where the decision to order a language analysis report is made later in the process, SPRÅK shall order the language analysis report from the analysis company. Recordings made by entities in the Asylum Department must be stored on the L disk in the folder 'L:\Lydopptak til språkanalyse' ('Sound recordings for language analyses'). The case officer sends an order form to SPRÅK to order a language analysis.

3.3 How do we order a language analysis report?

3.3.1 Checking and handling the order

The person who makes the sound recording must check that the sound recording and the order letter meet the formal requirements stipulated under sections 2.3.1–2.3.2 and 3.3.2.

When SPRÅK orders a language analysis report on the request of an entity in the Asylum Department, the ordering entity (the interviewer) must fill in the order letter and store it under the applicant's case in DUF. SPRÅK must retrieve the audio file from the location where it is stored, as well as the order letter from DUF, and send it to the analysis company. If the order letter is not filled in properly, SPRÅK must return it to the person who ordered it along with a brief explanation.

3.3.2 The content of the order letter

The order for a language analysis report must contain the following information based on the applicant's information (see the letter template in Appendix 2):

  • The person in the recording speaks: __________(language/dialect)
  • Gender and age
  • Nationality and ethnicity
  • The applicant states that he/she is from: __________(state the geographical area as accurately as possible)
  • The language in the recording is the applicant's native language / first language / second language
  • The applicant speaks the language in the recording fluently / well / only in simple sentences
  • Level of education completed in the applicant's home country (or other countries, if relevant), and the language in which tuition was provided
  • Occupation
  • Other languages the applicant masters, at which level, with a brief explanation
  • Permanent places of residence and duration
  • The applicant's age when departing his/her home country and when moving to other language communities (geographical areas)

The places of residence must be specified by state, province, district, sub-district and city/town. For places of residence in cities, the urban district must also be specified. If some of this information is lacking, this must be specified and explained in the order letter.

Since the order shall be anonymous, the order letter shall not contain the applicant's name, DUF number, exact address in his/her home country or other information that can identify the person concerned.

If several languages from one and the same applicant are to be analysed, a separate language analysis report must be ordered for each language.

3.3.3 Registering the order in DUF

When the National Police Immigration Service orders a language analysis report, the person who sends the order to the analysis company must store the order letter in DUF and register the order dispatch as 'outgoing correspondence' in the case. In the Directorate of Immigration, it is SPRÅK that registers dispatches of orders in DUF as 'outgoing correspondence'.

The Asylum Department's Asylum Screening Unit keeps a list of all reports ordered and delivery deadlines set by the National Police Immigration Service. SPRÅK keeps a list of all reports ordered and delivery deadlines set by the Directorate of Immigration.

3.4 How should language analysis reports be received and stored?

The Asylum Screening Unit receives the language analysis reports ordered by the National Police Immigration Service, registers them in the registration system KOST and in DUF along with the assigned score as 'incoming correspondence' with the comment 'result of language analysis', links the analysis reports to the case as an asylum document and notifies the case officers that the language analysis reports have been received.

SPRÅK shall keep an overview of received language analysis reports.

3.5 What if the sound recording fails to meet the requirements?

If the analysis company finds that the sound recording fails to meet the requirements stipulated under section 2.3, it will reject the order and return it to SPRÅK, which will notify the case officer. The case officer will consider whether a new language analysis shall be carried out.

3.6 How are the language analysis reports quality assured?

If a case officer has reason to question the quality of a received language analysis report, the case officer can contact SPRÅK to have the quality of the language analysis report assessed.

SPRÅK can check the language analysis reports to ensure that the reports have been prepared in accordance with the agreement with the analysis companies. SPRÅK can also consider whether to have the language analysis reports evaluated by external language analysis expertise and/or to obtain a new analysis of a sound recording from a different analysis company.

4. The importance of language analyses in case processing

4.1 General information about language analyses in case processing

A language analysis can only give an indication of whether the applicant's way of speaking is compatible with the identity stated by the applicant. In their conclusions, the analysis companies take account of the degree of uncertainty involved in the analysis.

The Asylum Department shall use the conclusions in the language analysis reports with caution and view them in conjunction with other information about the applicant's identity available in the case. The language analysis report alone cannot form the grounds for the outcome of a case. The clearer the indication in the language analysis report that the stated national, ethnic or regional identity is incorrect, the more weight can be attributed to the language analysis report. The applicant shall be given the benefit of any reasonable doubt.

4.2 Principles for the use of language analysis reports in case processing

The supplier of language analysis reports sends the Asylum Department a report with information about each analysis. The company indicates: A) the degree to which the language community stated by the applicant is compatible with the findings of the analysis, and B) the degree to which the national, ethnic or regional identity stated by the applicant is compatible with the findings of the analysis.

If the result of part A of the language analysis is negative, the analysis company shall indicate C) which language community, if any, the applicant can be assigned to)

4.3 Classifying the conclusions of parts A and B of the language analysis

For parts A and B of the language analysis report, the analysis company specifies the degree of clarity/certainty associated with the conclusion and to what extent it complies with the applicant's claims, in one of the following categories: +3, +2, +1, 0, -1, -2, -3 (see Appendix 5).

4.3.1 Categories +3 and +2

Categories +3 and +2 indicate that the applicant's way of speaking is compatible with his/her claim. As usual, however, the case officer must always make an overall assessment of all the available information about the applicant's identify.

4.3.2 Categories +1, 0 and -1

If the analysis company finds that the result of the language analysis falls under categories +1 to -1, the analysis does not provide a clear indication of whether the applicant's claim is credible. The conclusions in these categories are not very suited to shedding light on the case, and analyses with these conclusions shall not be attributed weight when deciding the applicant's identity or the outcome of the case.

4.3.3 Categories -2 and -3

Categories -2 and -3 indicate that the applicant's way of speaking is not compatible with his/her claim. As usual, however, the case officer must always make an overall assessment of all the available information about the applicant's identify.

4.4 Classifying the conclusions of part C of the language analysis

For part C of the analysis, the analysis company specifies the degree of clarity/certainty associated with the conclusion and to what extent it complies with the alternative language community the analysis can be linked to, in one of the following categories: +3, +2, +1, 0 (see Appendix 5).

4.5 Contradiction

4.5.1 The applicant's right to comment on a negative result

If the conclusion of the language analysis report conflicts with the applicant's statement in such a way that it can be included as grounds for making a decision to the disadvantage of the applicant, the applicant is entitled to comment on this, cf. Section 17 second paragraph of the Public Administration Act.

If a language analysis report of this nature is available when the asylum interview is conducted, the interviewer shall give the applicant an opportunity to comment on the report in connection with the interview. The applicant's statement shall be included in the asylum interview report.

If the applicant has not been given an opportunity to comment on the report during the asylum interview, this shall be ensured through written correspondence. A comment deadline of two weeks shall normally be set from the date on which the applicant received the language analysis report.

4.5.2 Issuing of copies of sound recordings

On request, the applicant and the applicant's representative[1] can be issued a copy of the original sound recording that forms the basis for the language analysis report.

4.5.3 Conducting a language analysis for the applicant's own account

If the applicant or the applicant's representative wishes to conduct an alternative language analysis, the applicant must pay for this him/herself. The Directorate of Immigration can provide information about relevant analysis companies. The Directorate of Immigration's technical specifications for language analyses are publically available and can be disclosed on request.

[1] Lawyer or other authorised representative

Hanne Jendal
Head of department

Contact: The Asylum Department's staff unit

Latest changes
  • New: RS 2011-023 Guidelines on the use of language analyses in connection with applications for protection (8/17/2015)

    The circular has been translated into English in order to make the guidelines and procedures more available for international providers of language analyses and others. The circular sets out both guidelines and procedures concerning language analyses that are used as part of the Directorate of Immigration's case processing of applications for protection.

  • Changed: RS 2011-023 Retningslinjer om språkanalyse etter søknad om beskyttelse (12/16/2013)

    Minor edits to the circular`s point 3.2 and annexes 1 and 4.

Norwegian Directorate
of Immigration
Utlendingsdirektoratet
P.O. box 2098 Vika
NO-0125 Oslo
Norway

Editor in Chief: Stephan Mo