28.9.2020: The UK Government’s Home Office are planning to outsource asylum interviews to private contractors. They claim that the move is intended to deal with a backlog of over 40,000 cases. The move has sent chills amongst some people seeking asylum, and wider communities with experience of outsourced state services, and especially amongst those who have endured an interview process that was already dysfunctional before the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis.
Outsourcing the interviews would mean that whichever company gets the contract – G4S, Capita, Mitie, Sopra Steria or Serco – would be able to access highly sensitive and confidential information that could put peoples’ lives at risk. Could any of these private companies be trusted with access to sensitive information? Could they be trusted to employ case workers who are capable of creating safe spaces for people to tell their harrowing stories? Could they ask the right questions in the right ways and not intimidate people?
We welcome this statement from Leicester City Mayor & Executive:
23.9.2020: Divisive spin and scandalous neglect: this government’s approach to refugees
Leicester is a city that has been shaped by our recent history of providing refuge for people fleeing from war, conflict and oppression. Our city comprises many, many thousands and many generations for whom this plight and flight was a real, lived trauma. People who had to flee immediate jeopardy and make sudden, rapid life changing acts of survival. People who sought refuge and found a home in Leicester.
Bullet points from 3rd September 2020 Zoom Meeting of anti fascist activists in the North West about responding to Britain First attacks on hotels etc. organised by Liverpool based PCS Trades Union organiser Mary Dooley
Coordinate letters to local papers and complaints to IPSOS if letters or articles fostering hate are carried in local press
Insist that decent internet and wifi connection is put into every residence
Intention is to involve the people living in the hotels and hostels in the planning and development of our responses so that they are enabled to acquire more control of what is happening and their environment
Make phone trees including phone numbers of natural leaders in the residences
Put calls out for old phones so that residents can be given them – and sim cards
Translate leaflets into key languages – expressing solidarity and offering contact details
Residents can use healthy snacks fresh fruit and cash – there is no access to cooking facilities so food donations must be appropriate
Secure solidarity statements and actions from local trade union branches and TUC groups in the area
Translate leaflets into key languages – expressing solidarity and offering contact details
The Home Office has “no idea” what its Immigration Enforcement Directorate’s £400 million annual spending achieves, says the Public Accounts Committee in a report published today, raising the spectre of the department making policy decisions based not on evidence, but rather “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”.
Letter sent from the Home Office: Director General’s Office, UK Visas and Immigration and Her Majesty’s Passport Office, date: 15 September 2020
Dear All, At the Asylum SEG on Friday of last week we committed to keeping you updated on cessations and when these would be resuming for those who have received a negative decision. I am therefore writing to let you know that the Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts has written to Local Authority Chief Executives today setting out these will start with immediate effect in England, and in the rest of the United Kingdom following consultation with officials in the Devolved Administrations.
We continue to share detailed data with Local Authorities to assist them in planning and this will continue. Migrant Help stand ready to support with the move-on process for those who will now receive cessation letters and we continue to work closely with them. Andy Kelly will be writing to the SMPs today and will ask that the local NGOs are copied into any local information relating to restarting of negative cessations.
Thank you again for your continued support.
Yours Sincerely, Abi Tierney Director General, HM Passport Office and UK Visas & Immigration
18th September 2020 PRESS RELEASE: STATUS NOW 4 ALL BACKS PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS CALLING FOR LEAVE TO REMAIN FOR UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS IN THE UK
A national Day of Action is being held this weekend to call for an end to the Government’s Hostile Environment policy and for Leave to Remain to be given to all undocumented migrants in the UK.
Regularise, one of Status Now Network’s signatories, is organising a peaceful demonstration for the rights of undocumented migrants on Saturday, 19th September. It will be held from 1pm-4pm outside 10 Downing Street to ensure the Prime Minister Boris Johnson hears our call for Status Now.
GREEN KORDOFAN GLOBAL LIVE EVENT ON ZOOM! 21/9/2020 YIDA, A REFUGEE CAMP IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC Live on zoom!September 21, 2020 – 7:00pm to 9:00pm (GMT) Reserve your spot now—space is limited! To join us contact booking by email: firstname.lastname@example.org Never to be forgotten we are honouring all victims of: War; Terrorism; Religious extremism; Political violence; Police brutality; Ethnic violence; Gender-based violence; Climate and resource conflict; Organised crime; Slavery & human trafficking; Gang violence This event particular is dedicated to the support of children,women and vulnerable people in Yida camp, South Sudan who have experienced and are still dealing with the aftermath of the above while dealing now with the impact of a global pandemic.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Johnson was compelled to respond to the child of Mercy Baguma, and the father of the child, after Mercy was found dead in a flat in Glasgow laying next to her distressed one year old son. Mercy had lost her Leave to Remain status (visa) and job, and was struggling to survive in the middle of a pandemic while she awaited a decision on her asylum application. Though Boris Johnson’s gesture to fast-track the resolution of the father of the child’s asylum case is in kind, it is too late for Mercy who died whilst in limbo and extreme poverty!
By implementing the proposal for the regularisation of undocumented migrants that he commissioned as Mayor of London more than a decade ago, this Prime Minister could prevent unecessary and sustained suffering for many, made worse by this pandemic. The UK government successfully ran a programme to resolve a backlog of 450,000 asylum cases (later extended to other people with insecure status) between 2007 to 2011, so why not take action now, in this time of crisis, to secure StatusNow4All?
[Extract]The costs in terms of public services are relatively low, mainly because access to most services does not depend on regularity per se, but on whether or not migrants are ‘subject to immigration control’. Thus the immediate impact on public services is much lower than many commentators might expect. The major long-term costs relate to welfare benefits, including child benefit, social security and housing benefit. Some countries limit migrants’ access to such benefits — and indeed this government intends to do so for legal migrants until they receive indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.
Making a regularisation scheme work effectively in social and economic terms would require careful design, involving a progressive programme (integrated with a version of the current ‘paths to citizenship’ proposal) and complementary policies to address equal opportunities issues and parts of the informal economy which have exploited irregular labour.
The issue of irregular migrants and how to deal with them has been difficult to research because official agencies have little information and few data about the question – and a lack of clarity about the position of irregular migrants, in part because immigration is a topic of controversy. However, the fact that immigration is ‘difficult’ politically does not mean there cannot be debate, followed by improvements to public policy. This report provides some evidence as a contribution to such a debate.
Kent Refugee Help is a signatory to our call for Status Now 4 All. They produced the flyer below in support of the activity by a collection of organisations in Dover demonstrating a welcome for refugees, in the face of planned Britain First action which is designed to generate racist hatred for asylum seekers who are legitimately seeking sanctuary in UK.
The text of the flyer is as follows:
We stand with You, Saturday 5th September, 11 am, Dover Market Square. We support the Dover peaceful action for Refugees and Migrants on 5th of September. Kent Refugee help believes in equal rights for everyone.
We stand by people fleeing war, violence and extreme poverty.
Kent Refugee Help is a charity that assists foreign nationals detained in prisons who are liable to deportation.
We kindly ask all organisations and community action and support groups in the Status Now Network to contact MPs in/around their area to introduce the StatusNow4All campaign highlighting the need for ‘Leave to Remain’ status to be granted to all undocumented migrants and all migrants with insecure status who are currently in the UK. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are keen to initiate dialogue with as many MPs as possible on this urgent matter, so please send a letter or email to MPs you feel may support our campaign and follow up on any contact. Please refer to the template letters below and amend where necessary.
The Status Now Network welcomes all demonstrations in solidarity with migrants and people seeking asylum currently living in hotels or elsewhere,and who are being targeted by fascist, racist and anti-migrant groups. It is vital to act and organise in solidarity with migrants and people seeking asylum in order to expose, effectively challenge and stop the threatening and oppressive behaviours of those that seek to demonise and scapegoat them for everything that is going wrong in the UK today.
The Status Now Network encourages all residents and organisations in the UK to take a twin track approach, where they: