Updated 25 May 2021: Guardian: Home Office drops plan to evict thousands of migrants during pandemic
U-turn affects around 4,000 people refused asylum who were facing eviction with ‘immediate effect’
The Home Office has reversed its plan to evict thousands of migrants during the pandemic, the Guardian has learned.
The U-turn affects about 4,000 migrants who were facing eviction from Home Office accommodation.
Concerns were raised that the department’s plan to resume evictions of some refused asylum seekers with “immediate effect” could increase the spread of Covid and discriminate against people of colour who will be disproportionately affected by the policy.
A court order signed on Tuesday by government lawyers and their counterparts challenging the evictions policy confirmed that the home secretary, Priti Patel, had withdrawn it.
Updated 14 May 2021: Currently people on s4 don’t have to agree to leave UK in order to get support, but the Home Office started giving some of these people notices to leave and the case went to Court. It’s awaiting a Court decision towards the end of the month: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/06/judge-criticises-priti-patel-over-evictions-of-asylum-seekers-in-pandemic
See below the response of Leicester City Council to proposed evictions
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. ‘
Charities and human rights campaigners say restarting evictions during pandemic is ‘inhumane’ and could cause rise in Covid cases
The Home Office is starting the process of evicting some asylum seekers from their accommodation “with immediate effect” after a pause of almost a year because of the pandemic, according to internal documents seen by the Guardian.
Charities and human rights campaigners have condemned the decision as inhumane and warned that it could lead to a rise in people sleeping rough and sofa surfing, and, as a consequence, an increase in coronavirus cases.
It is understood that Public Health England has expressed concerns about the increased Covid risk that homelessness can create, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
It is thought that in the coming months the Home Office will target thousands of asylum seekers for eviction and deportation.