Asylum seekers threatened with homelessness for not complying with ‘unlawful’ 23-hour curfew, court hears

12 March 2021: Independent: Vulnerable people banned from leaving hotel accommodation for more than an hour a day, say lawyers

Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard.

Lawyers representing four vulnerable people said a “climate of fear” had developed among those living in hotels being used as asylum accommodation due to “threats” made by Home Office contractors imposing limits as to how long they can spend outside the facility.

[…] In a brief ruling, Judge Tim Corner QC said the Home Office had agreed that it should write to accommodation providers and asylum seekers “making clear […] there is no 23-hour curfew”.

Clare Jennings, of Matthew Gold Solicitors, who represented one of the claimants, said: “It should never have been necessary for vulnerable asylum seekers to have had to take legal action to force the home secretary to take action to stop her accommodation providers from continuing with this practice”.

Sheroy Zaq, solicitor at Duncan Lewis, who represented the other three claimants, said the judgement was “one of many deeply regrettable examples of the Home Office and its contractors attributing less worth to the liberty of asylum seekers when compared to the rest of the population”.

He added: “It should not take the court’s intervention to remind the Home Office and its contractors of what the law says. Today, it did.”

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See also: Concerns about the use of army barracks, hotels etc.