Ireland: Govt to replace Direct Provision with international protection system

26 February 2021: Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) : Statement on White Paper to end Direct Provision

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) notes the publication of the White Paper on ending the abhorrent system of Direct Provision. MASI intends to discuss the White Paper at its weekly Tuesday meeting. At glance, there are some positives in the White Paper in relation to provision of income supports that are equal to the supports provided for Irish nationals. And the ending of shared intimate living spaces for families is to be welcomed. The White Paper is ambitious in some areas and lacks imagination in others.

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Are Workers Becoming Covid Commodities?

It’s official. Workers are just commodities. The Philippines Government wants to trade nurses with the UK and Germany in exchange for vaccines.

The Philippines is one of the world’s largest suppliers of nurses to the rich world’s hospitals and health care services. Even though its own health services are desperately short of doctors and nurses, its government exports them as a major source of foreign exchange. However, when COVID19 broke out, President Duterte decided to keep Filipino nurses in the country and put a cap on the numbers allowed to go abroad.

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The Right to Food: Liverpool and Manchester

Food poverty: Food poverty is commonly defined as ‘the inability to acquire or consume an adequate or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so’.

It can have a detrimental impact on physical and psychological wellbeing so it’s important for a person to have access to and the choice of an affordable, acceptable and healthy diet throughout their life

Public Health Scotland

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Life in ‘contingency units’

The Home Office says that people are assessed as to their suitability for life in the camps – Penally and Napier – people who have been sent to the camps said that there was no assessment carried out to their knowledge, other than on first arrival when they may not have fully understood the situation or the language (or interpreter). 

In relation to social distancing, people who have been living in the camps describe sharing sleeping areas with many other people, having to use communal showers, sharing toilets with many others,  eating in a large area which everyone is expected to use,  one communal room for socialising for everyone where the internet signal could be found and the (two) TVs were kept.  

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Fewer than one in six ‘hostile environment’ raids led to deportations

21 February 2021: Guardian: 190 ‘intelligence-led’ raids on cares homes results in 37 care workers removed from UK

Fewer than one in six of more than 44,000 “intelligence-led” Home Office immigration enforcement raids on people’s homes since the introduction of the “hostile environment” policy have resulted in deportations, according to data obtained by the Guardian.

According to a freedom of information (FoI) response provided to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants by the Home Office, between 2015 and 2019 there were 44,225 raids on private homes resulting in just 7,578 people deported. There were also 190 raids carried out on care homes resulting in just 37 care workers removed from the UK.

[…] Susan Cueva, trustee at Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, which works with migrants including those working in care homes said: “We know that care homes lack staff. The Home Office should stop raiding care homes. It is counter-productive. The solution is to regularise the immigration status of these workers who are carers. That’s the most practical way to deal with this situation.”

She said that if any undocumented workers were working in care homes they were more likely to be indirectly employed, but to come through other routes. This could be one reason why Home Office raids on care homes appear to have such a low success rate.

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Home Office ignored Covid advice not to put asylum seekers in barracks

16 February 2021 Guardian: Public Health England warned against using Napier facility before outbreak of coronavirus, court hears

The Home Office ignored advice from Public Health England that housing asylum seekers in dormitories in army barracks was inappropriate in a pandemic, months before an outbreak of 120 Covid cases.

In a high court hearing on Tuesday – brought by six asylum seekers who claim that conditions at the barracks are inhumane – the Home Office conceded that it was arguable that the use of Napier barracks to house the group was unlawful and in breach of human rights.

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Home Office needs reform to avoid a second Windrush scandal, thinktank report says

9 February 2021: Yorkshire Post: The Home Office is at risk of being at the heart of another Windrush scandal if it does not end its “hostile environment” policy, a new report has warned.

The “hostile environment” group of policies, which were introduced by the then Home Secretary Theresa May in the coalition government in 2012, were designed to discourage people settling in the UK without leave to remain.

They include access to services such as the NHS or housing being restricted if immigrants cannot prove their legal right to remain in the UK.

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Hostile Environment: Fear is stopping migrants getting the Covid-19 vaccine jab, research suggests

8 February 2021: Morning Star: MORE than 80 per cent of undocumented migrants are too fearful to access the Covid-19 vaccine due to NHS charges and data sharing with the Home Office, new research suggests.

The government stressed today that everyone, regardless of their immigration status, will be offered the vaccine without any checks on their right to be in the country.

But campaigners have warned that reassuring people is not enough to ensure that they feel confident to access healthcare without facing repercussions from immigration enforcement.

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Campaigners claim thousands of Britain’s undocumented migrants could miss out on Covid vaccine

6 February 2021: Morning Star: A DECADE of hostile environment policies could harm Britain’s recovery from the pandemic as hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants face barriers to the vaccine, public health campaigners warn.

More than 10 million people have already received at least one dose of the vaccine in Britain, but campaigners claim that the country’s population of undocumented migrants — estimated at between 800,000 and one million — risks being left out of the programme.

The government has specified that everyone in Britain is entitled to receive the Covid-19 vaccination free of charge regardless of their immigration status.

However public health and migrant rights groups warn this message isn’t cutting through deep-rooted fears of the NHS instilled by nearly a decade of hostile environment policies in healthcare — and the “majority” of undocumented migrants are unlikely to come forward.

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PICUM: Why words matter

Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants: Calling a certain group of people ‘illegal’ denies them their humanity. There is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ person.

‘Illegality’ as a form of status has been deliberately assigned to undocumented migrants to justify a category of people who are undeserving of rights.

Language shapes people’s perceptions. Discriminatory language in reference to undocumented migrants leads to perceptions and actions which negatively impact the daily realities of undocumented migrants.

PICUM therefore uses the terms ‘undocumented’ or ‘irregular’ migrant. The term ‘illegal migrant’ should never be used because:

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2 February 2021  Migrants Organise

This blog was written by Ruth, a member of Migrants Organise, following an organising training session with a number of other Migrants Organise members. 

UK is in a third lockdown. But how is it for undocumented migrants?

Life continues as normal. Everyone is told to stay at home to control the virus and to save the NHS. If you are an Asylum Seeker or an Undocumented migrant you can’t afford to stay at home as you have to survive because you are not entitled to Universal Credit or to be furloughed from your job. If you are displaying symptoms of Covid, you cannot isolate as you have to work to provide for basic essential needs.

We are scared to go to the GP or the hospital because you might be asked to provide ID and to prove your immigration status which can be embarrassing, as you can be turned away from receiving medical help.

I spoke to a friend who is undocumented yesterday, and this is what she told me:

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Give people Indefinite Leave to Remain – stop this carnage

2 February 2021: Yesterday, a representative from one the organisations that are a part of the Status Now Network told the Network’s regular Monday night Reference Group meeting about how they were trying to comfort someone whose friend has just died from Covid-19, and whose entire community is reeling with the depth and scale of their losses.

The person who died is in her late fifties. She came to UK about 20 years ago as a domestic worker leaving her child behind so that she could financially support him from a distance, which is common in situations of profound poverty back home. People become undocumented for many reasons and she too became undocumented.

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