New Plan for Immigration ‘Consultation’ process criticised

30 April 2021: Women for Refugee Women: New Plan will harm women:


The government’s New Plan for Immigration will harm women seeking asylum. Today, 30 April 2020, more than 70 leaders of organisations and groups supporting women who have sought asylum write to the Home Secretary to express shared concerns about the New Plan.

Read the full letter below:

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Modern Slavery and Trafficking

Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner: About modern slavery: The UK is both a country of destination, with thousands of victims arriving from other countries only to be exploited by criminals; and a source country with increasing numbers of British victims identified. Slavery takes many different forms and affects adults and children, males and females.

Those who are enslaved are exploited for the financial gain of their captors. The vulnerable are made to work in cruel conditions for long hours without pay. Examples include women and girls forced into prostitution for profit, young boys made to commit criminal acts against their will and men kept in slave-like conditions in factories.

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

Our signatory organisations in Scotland are very worried about accommodation in Scotland, and this was included in the debate in Westminster Hall on 27 April 2021::

Update 27 April 2021: Westminster debate: [NB: [V] denotes a Member participating virtually.] Support for Asylum Seekers

9.25amPhilip Davies (in the Chair)

9.26amNeil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (Lab)

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the effectiveness of asylum accommodation and the dispersal scheme in providing support for asylum seekers.

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Home Office to resume evicting some asylum seekers ‘with immediate effect’

23 April 2021: The Home Office writes:

We will be sharing details of the current number of cases for review with local authorities to assist them in planning. However I would like to emphasise that it is not possible at this stage to be definitive about the final volume of cases that will have their support discontinued. This is partly because all individuals will continue to receive a minimum of 21 calendar days notice from the decision to stop their support and have the opportunity to remain in their accommodation, supported under section 4(2) of the 1999 Act, provided that they agree to take reasonable steps to leave the UK (in practical terms by registering with the Home Office’s voluntary returns programme and leaving when a flight can be arranged for them).

From SN4A signatory: Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor and Danny Myers, Assistant Mayor, Leicester City Council

‘We’ve made clear in Leicester we are opposed to the govt’s immigration policy and practice. We are deeply concerned about the consequences of this decision and even more how it’s been made. If what we know in Leicester is anything to go by this could immediately impact thousands of people across the UK.

With immediate effect’  is callous too. It offers too little warning to people in already often desperate circumstances and to local councils already dealing with unprecedented pressures on their budgets and services. ‘

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Enforced removals to Vietnam risks re-trafficking

26 April 2021: From Mariko Hayashi, Director of SN$A signatory organisation Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC): “The UK is one of the major destinations of victims of human trafficking from Vietnam, which was the third most common nationality of all referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) as potential victims in 2020. The figures show that between 2018 and 2020, in only three years, 2,242 Vietnamese people have been identified as potential victims of human trafficking. I am very concerned that some of the individuals removed from the UK without proper due process could have been victims of human trafficking.

The hostile environment policies and border securitisation, which often criminalise migrants who are vulnerable to exploitation, perpetuate violation of human rights and even put these migrants at risk of being re-trafficked.”

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Increasing the immigration detention estate for women

26 April 2021: Agnes’ petition: Stop the new detention centre for women

My name is Agnes. I am a refugee, I am a woman, I am a human being. The Home Office has started building a new immigration detention centre at Hassockfield in County Durham to lock up women like me. Please join me in taking action to stop them.

Read more:

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Home Office sued by asylum seeker over baby’s death

Guardian: Home Office sued by asylum seeker over baby’s death

Woman claims asylum housing staff ignored pleas for help when she was in pain while 35 weeks pregnant

A woman whose baby died is suing the Home Office for negligence over claims that staff at her asylum accommodation refused to call an ambulance when she was pregnant and bleeding.

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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:

Penally camp is apparently shutting permanently, due in part to pressure from Welsh MPs. The Home Office will continue to use Napier camp for now.. You can write to your MP in support of the #CloseTheBarracks campaign.

23 April 2021: Guardian: Report condemns Home Office failures at barracks used to house asylum seekers

Exclusive: documents seen by the Guardian criticises serious errors in management of Napier and Penally sitesThe full scale of Home Office failures in managing former military sites as makeshift accommodation for asylum seekers is laid bare in a raft of damning documents seen by the Guardian.

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Situation assessment of statelessness, health, and COVID-19 in Europe

21 April 2021: European Network on Statelessness: Situation assessment of statelessness, health, and COVID-19 in Europe

Prof van Hout and Charlotte Bigland from LJMU, the authors of this report, will be leading SNN International Public Health Working Group.  Prof Van Hout says:

“There is a divide between the State obligation to assure the rights of all to healthcare, including the non-discrimination provisions where no one can be excluded in the COVID-19 health response; and the real world situation for the stateless who experience significant social and structural barriers to access of healthcare, not least exacerbated by institutional fear around data sharing with immigration. This is likely to impact most now given the imperatives to scale up and include all in COVID-19 vaccination roll out. NGOs will be crucial in supporting the practicalities around logistics in vaccinations and support of those who are marginalized and hidden.”

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Covid-19 And The Surge In Domestic Abuse In The UK

People who are undocumented are at real risk of being sucked into abusive relationships in order to survive, and once there, it is very very difficult to leave.

Women’s Aid: Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

At this time of Covid-19, people subjected to domestic abuse are very isolated, and have fewer chances to leave the house, for example children are not at school, shopping is kept to a minimum; and tensions indoors mount.

We know that people subjected to such abuse are often frequently lied to about being believed, or they are told their children will be removed, that their whereabouts will be reported to the Home Office which will potentially lead to the risk of immigration detention and removal from UK in this hostile environment, and they now are fearful of breaking Covid lockdown rules.

The impact of the ‘toxic trio’ of drug abuse, mental health issues and alcohol is well-known to raise concerns about risk of domestic abuse. When undocumented status is added to this toxic mix, the potential for ongoing serious risk of harm is massively increased.

16 April 2021: Guardian: Anger as Tory MPs vote against register for stalkers and domestic abusers

Government rejects measures despite briefing they would support them after death of Sarah Everard

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UK Asylum System and Asylum Seekers’ Mental Health

The Mental Health Foundation has found that the increased vulnerability to mental health problems that refugees and asylum seekers face is linked both to their pre-migration and post-migration experiences. People who have fled persecution, violence and war hope to find safety and security in the UK. Tragically, the current UK asylum system often exacerbates their suffering, with long waits for asylum decisions, poor accommodation and a ban on working all contributing to this situation.

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IRR: Sewell report seeks to sideline structural factors attached to racism

14 April 2021: IRR: Sewell, stigma and the policing of race

Ultimately, what we at the IRR fear is that such disaggregated, ethnic-specific data will be used to create a kind of league table of good and bad, successful and failing groups. A variation of the ‘good migrant’ ‘bad migrant’ scenario. A kind of stigmatisation via comparison. Sewell, the chair of the commission, has form here – and we already see this in his report, contrasting good parenting techniques and enterprising family structures in the Black African community with family dysfunction or breakdown in other communities, most notably the Black Caribbean.

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Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules

14 April 2021: The Guardian: Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules

Court finds home secretary accountable for failures to ensure that deaths in immigration detention centres are investigated properly

A landmark court ruling has held the home secretary, Priti Patel, accountable for failures in ensuring that deaths in immigration detention centres are properly investigated.

Two judges in the immigration court ruled on Wednesday that three of the home secretary’s detention policies breached human rights rules and that she could not frustrate or undermine inquiries into these deaths.

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Impact of Covid-19 on migrants – watch our videos

Migrant Voice: Learn about the impact of Covid-19 on migrants with limited or no Leave to Remain – hear their stories.

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

Responding to Covid-19: Building Resilience project, running between November 2020 and April 2021, aims to organise, empower and build networks with some of the migrant communities most marginalised by Covid-19. It is a partnership project between Migrant Voice, Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, and RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research).

Watch all the videos here