By Dominique Wiehahn

UK ministers are facing demands to officially apologise to over 80 Indian and Pakistani women who were forced to undergo virginity tests when immigrating there in the 1970’s.

In 1979 at least 80 women of Indian and Pakistani ethnicity were subjected to intimate examinations to verify their virginity.

The tests, which were performed on arrival at Heathrow Airport, aimed to find out if the women had children they had not declared, or if their spousal application for residency was an immigration ploy. 

The tests were banned in 1979 after one woman’s results were revealed publically. 

Kritika Bansal, president of the Cultural Society of India Brisbane, says the tests should never have happened.

“It’s their personal issue to be a virgin or not, I don’t think anyone else should know about it … I don’t think that should be an issue when someone is immigrating,” Ms Bansal said.

An expert in women and migration at the University of Technology Sydney, Christina Ho, says a government apology is neccessary.

“I think it’s quite appropriate for the Minister (for Immigration) to apologise. We’re living in a different era, where it may be clearer to see that these policies were in breach of human rights,” she said.

Ms Ho believes ethnicity played a part in the tests, and would not have been allowed had the women been white.