Aspen cards and surveillance of people in the asylum system

Reports coming in from around the country about serious delays in the changeover of ‘Aspen’ card provider on 21 May 2021, leaving people destitute; see the Home Office ‘fix’ as an attachment below … but people are still without money for food two weeks later.

Updated 14 June 2021: Faith is still waiting … see the post below of 7 June 2021.


11 June 2021: Independent: Fifty Charities Urge Home Office to Act on ‘Crisis’ in Asylum Support Payments

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EDM #7 – Regularisation of undocumented migrants

StatusNow4All welcomes the following EDM #7, and we remind readers of EDM #1442: https://statusnow4all.org/edm-1442-undocumented-migrants-and-covid-19-vaccination/

EDM #7: That this House recognises that there are many barriers that prevent people from accessing and maintaining stable immigration status even when they were either born in the UK or have lived in the UK for many years; further recognises that the majority of undocumented migrants have lost their status through no fault of their own, including through an inability to pay application fees, lack of access to legal advice, mistakes on the part of decision-makers and complexity of immigration rules; understands that the harm done to individuals through hostile immigration policies extends to family members and the communities that they are part of; notes that the UK has one of the most complex and expensive routes to regularisation in Europe; further notes that all current routes to regularisation and settlement are far too long, complicated and inflexible, leaving people with no options but to live undocumented; understands that migrants who do not have access to the public safety net or the right to work are vulnerable to exploitation and; and calls on the Government to support recommendations made by Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in its report, We Are Here: routes to regularisation for the UK’s undocumented population, published in April 2021 by introducing new routes to regularisation and removing barriers which cause migrants to become undocumented.

https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/58432

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Open Letter(2) to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland

25th March 2021 

Dear Sirs

RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL

On March 27th 2020 we called upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain.  (Copy enclosed)

Shortly after your office’s acknowledgement of receipt we thanked you, Taoiseach.  We have yet to receive acknowledgement of receipt from yourself, Prime Minister.  Neither of you have actually responded directly to us but we note, and are glad for, the recent announcement regularising undocumented workers in the Republic of Ireland by the end of 2021.  

We have refined our call further to specify that Indefinite Leave to Remain is what is required by the Status Now Network, a unique coalition of 120+ organisations and community action groups, alongside individuals, who are campaigning for Status Now 4 All.  This coming Saturday, March 27th 2021, exactly one year since we wrote to you both, we are holding our Status Now Summit: One Year On

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The Status Now 4 All Calling Card for All Communities of Faith

“Not having my status limits my joy, my happiness, nothing makes me excited. People take advantage.

I cannot even work. The pain is terrible. Terrible. People cry at night. There are suicides. 

In limbo, I cannot do anything I want to do, and I don’t know what is going to happen to me.

Locked down all the time, not just now. Let us have a chance.”

(Voices of people without status)

Who we are: The Status Now Network is a unique coalition of almost 130 organisations and community action groups, alongside individuals, who are campaigning for Status Now 4 All.  Our member organisations are listed on our website:   https://statusnow4all.org

What we do: Most StatusNow4All members have worked for years ‘in the frontline’ supporting migrants living with chronic insecurity.  Increasingly, we are working together.  Through the Covid lockdowns, SN4A members are, and have supported, migrants with Covid or at grave risk of catching Covid – from which some have died without access to medical care.   SN4A members are, and support, migrants who do not have secure employment, secure housing, access to medical care, protection from exploitation and secure immigration status.  We have provided basic food, advice, friendship, help with access to services, and help in dealing with the Home Office and its sub-contractors.

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Status Now 4 All – this is our call

27 March 2020 An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of the UK and the Taoiseach of Ireland

We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.

[*The word ‘Indefinite’ was added to the call in our second letter, dated 27 March 2021: https://statusnow4all.org/open-letter2-to-the-prime-minister-of-the-uk-and-the-taoiseach-of-ireland/]

This is the letter in full below – we have not yet received an answer:

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Why do we call for StatusNow4All: In The Spotlight: Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG)

CARAG is a grassroots organisation made up of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants going through the UK asylum and Immigration system. 

“CARAG signed up for the #StatusNow4All campaign because the Hostile Environment is killing our members. We just want the suffering to end NOW” said CARAG chair Loraine Masiya Mponela.

CARAG and Maokwo (another SNN signatory) made this film for #RefugeeWeek2021: Watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE-rRoMFYpM
Catch up with latests episodes of CARAG podcast #StillWeRise here https://www.carag.co.uk/podcastFollow T, F and Insta: @caragcoventryW:  https://www.carag.co.uk

Spotlight on Migrants at Work

18 June 2021: From StatusNow4All signatory Migrants at Work: 1st July 2021 – drawing attention to those pulled into home-grown slavery … more information below

The Problem: Regular ( Undocumented) migrant workers

Some of us migrant workers and British citizens from BAME backgrounds are being affected by immigration rules, and discriminatory employment practices because we are unable to obtain the documents required to confirm our legal right to work in the Uk.

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BID and Liberty call for an end to intrusive GPS monitoring

This has direct impact on time-served prisoners who are ‘released’ on immigration bail:

14 June 2021: from BID and Liberty: Our letter, signed by 42 organisations, was covered in an article below in the Guardian

The most recent Home Office bail policy sets out its plan to transition from radio frequency
monitoring to GPS monitoring for people on immigration bail. Whereas radio frequency monitoring can verify whether a person is where they should be at a given time, GPS monitoring provides 24/7 real time location monitoring, tracking an individual’s every move: it tells you where someone has gone, where they have shopped, what GP’s practice they have been to, and much more. Those who are being monitored in this way do not know when the ordeal will end because there is no time limit for how long people will be tracked.

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Concerns about the use of army barracks, hotels etc.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:

You can write to your MP in support of the #CloseTheBarracks campaign.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:


Updated 14 June 2021: Hansard: Napier Barracks Asylum Accommodation, Volume 696: debated on Thursday 10 June 2021

Extracts: Chris Phelps: ‘The current arrangements on the site are due to run until September. No decision has been made beyond that, but I assure my hon. Friend that he will be closely engaged with at all stages as any further decision is taken.’

There are some deeply troubling aspects the this Hansard session, and also some excellent points made.

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FAMILIES who have loved ones living with an insecure immigration status face “extreme and wide-ranging harm,” with children especially affected, according to a new report.

27 May 2021: Compas: Forced worklessness and fatherhood by Candice Morgan-Glendinning & Melanie Griffiths

Research being launched on 8 June: Political and media discourses around immigration tend to make a sharp distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants. Some people are more welcome than others, including on the basis of factors such as income level, savings, education, employment status and area of work. Foreign nationals with low incomes, who are out of work or deemed ‘low skilled’, tend to be portrayed as abusing the system, undercutting British workers and as a burden on the taxpayer.

Less known, are the many ways in which the immigration system itself forces unemployment upon people (whilst simultaneously draining people of savings through the huge sums required for immigration applications and appeals). Many migrants, including people claiming asylum or subject to Deportation Orders, rarely have the right to work or access public funds. The few asylum seekers who do get the right to work are only eligible to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which are graduate level or above and include civil engineers, archaeologists and chemical scientists. And those who do receive any financial support, only get a fraction of mainstream benefits.

Continue reading “FAMILIES who have loved ones living with an insecure immigration status face “extreme and wide-ranging harm,” with children especially affected, according to a new report.”

Concerns raised over ‘cramped and stressful’ asylum unit for mothers and babies

An expectant mother staying at a mother and baby unit in Glasgow spoke to The Canary about living conditions there. This mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been living in this unit since March 2021. She said it’s “very stressful” living in such cramped conditions where “there is no community”.

Various campaigners in Glasgow, coming together as “the Roof Coalition”, are demanding the Home Office closes this unit that accommodates over 20 women and their babies. The Roof Coalition’s #FreedomToCrawl campaign calls on the public:

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Challenges to Home Office withholding Data

8 June 2021: Open democracy: Judge slams Michael Gove’s office as open Democracy wins transparency court case

Exclusive: UK government accused of ‘profound lack of transparency’ as openDemocracy wins legal victory over ‘Orwellian’ Freedom of Information unit

openDemocracy has won a significant legal victory against the UK government. The judgement forces transparency on a secretive unit accused of ‘blacklisting’ Freedom of Information requests from journalists, campaigners and others.

After a three-year battle, judge Chris Hughes found that the documents the Cabinet Office presented in court about the controversial Clearing House unit were ‘misleading’. He added that there is a “profound lack of transparency about the operation”, which might “extend to ministers”.

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Cats on the Run

2021 June 9: From our partner organisation RAPAR : Cats on the Run is a participatory project working with undocumented people during quarantine. See the launch event here:

This project was conceived and managed by RAPAR.
Produced by Sheba Arts.
Funded by Lankelly Chase Foundation.

Please take some time to look at the films here: http://www.rapar.co.uk/cats-on-the-run.html

Releasing resilience and building networks of resilience report

JUNE 2021: This is a piece of collaborative work by three StatusNow4All signatories: Migrant Voice, Kanlungan, and RAPAR. The latest report ‘Releasing resilience and building networks of resilience: learning from the survey, interviews, and evaluation‘ is now available – see details below

Among the survey findings, 80% of respondents were worried about their financial situation during the pandemic, and about being able to afford food and other items that they might need. In addition, half of all respondents said they were unable to afford hand sanitiser, face masks, soap or cleaning products.

The Building Resilience project provided spaces for migrants with limited immigration status and no recourse to public funds to discuss shared experiences throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and form networks of solidarity.

‘Networks of resilience are important and meaningful. And for as long as the UK’s hostile
environment remains in place, individuals from the most marginalised and isolated
communities who make up networks of resilience will be compelled to continue to find ways to release and build resiliences through which they search out pathways to status and better access to basic rights.’

Read the full report here.

There is coverage here:

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/06/12/gay-asylum-seeker-home-office-application-gabon-conversion-therapy-priti-patel/

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/migrant-who-fled-kidnap-gay-20760497

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/i-fled-conversion-therapy-as-a-gay-man-in-gabon-now-im-living-on-less-than-6-a-day-1043226

Campaign against the multinational Mitie recruitment of workers in the new women-only detention facility, Hassockfield

Status Now welcomes and supports this campaign :

Dear friends,

Abolish Detention, which is campaigning to prevent the opening of a detention centre in Hassockfield/Medomsley, is asking for support for a campaign against the multinational Mitie which is running adverts to recruit people to run its new women only detention prison near Durham. Mitie was condemned by the prison inspectorate in 2016 which said its immigration detention centres were “dirty”, “rundown” and “insanitary. It is one of  the UK’s biggest detention profiteers: it runs the two Heathrow detention centres and has a £525 million deportation “escorting” contract with an annual turnover of £2.2billion.

Please join the campaign and take action – see below for what you can do – thank you.

Global Women Against Deportations

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Why do we call for StatusNow4All: In the Spotlight: African Global Voices

7 June 2021: Why do we call for StatusNow4All/Indefinite Leave to Remain: African Global Voices

I am NdabaVictor, of African Global Voices,

We at African Global Voices – UK advocate for people who have  been subjected to injustices in the criminal system.

We are a small grassroots not-for-profit hands-on-the-ground organisation of people who have lived experience of being in the asylum system, and we are based in Liverpool. Our members are all over the UK due to the policies of the Home Office’s long-standing hostile environment, which is built on systematic racial prejudice and discriminatory ideology. 

Our members have multiple problems due to their situations, many have no settled status, others had Refugee Leave taken from them, many have been victims of torture and some have significant medical conditions. We offer them Peer Support Mentoring,  and also refer on to agencies that can help them.  In addition we visit refugees and people seeking asylum who are in detention centres and prisons.

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EU citizens are the guinea pigs of the new digital border system

Updated 2021 June 7: Channel 4 on Youtube:

Millions of EU citizens who live in the UK were given until the end of this month to apply for settled status. It’s feared that many people will fail to meet that deadline and campaigners want it extended. But even for those whose applications have been processed, there is no certificate to prove your status, just a digital code. But that’s not good enough, say people who are now worrying about future access to NHS treatment or are fearing problems returning to the UK if they visit their home countries.

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