Asylum queue nine times longer than 10 years ago

2 July 2021: BBC: The number of migrants waiting in the UK for their asylum claims to be processed was nine times higher by the end of last year than it was in 2010.

One is Patricia, 19, who fled war and abuse in Liberia and says her mental health has suffered during the two years she has waited for a decision.

There are currently 65,000 people in the queue, official figures obtained by the Refugee Council suggest. [Read the report here: https://media.refugeecouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/01191305/Living-in-Limbo-A-decade-of-delays-in-the-UK-Asylum-system-July-2021.pdf]

The Home Office said it had a plan to “fix the broken asylum system”.

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Asylum seekers being subjected to dangerous and life threatening housing conditions by The Mears Group

22 June 2021: Chronicle Live: Refugees living in fear over the state of their Newcastle home speak out

The three asylum seekers have raised their concerns over what has been described as the dilapidated and dangerous state of their home in Newcastle. Asylum seekers in Newcastle have spoken out about what they describe as the dilapidated and potentially dangerous conditions they are living in.

They live in Benwell Grove, Fenham, in housing provided by the Mears Group which has a £1bn Government contract to provide accommodation and support for asylum seekers.

[…]

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, wrote: “This young man, along with two other asylum seekers, is being subjected to dangerous and life threatening housing conditions by The Mears Group, asylum housing contractor who began major electrical rewiring and repairs without any notice while the three asylum seekers are living there.

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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:

You can write to your MP in support of the #CloseTheBarracks campaign.

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:


Updated 1 July 2021: Independent Chief Inspector on Borders and Immigration – ICIBI:

Note, the new ICIBI – Dave Neal has published a list of reports completed etc. One of the ‘completed inspections awaiting publication’ is ‘An inspection of contingency asylum accommodation: HMIP report on Penally Camp and Napier Barracks (7 June 2021)’. Priti Patel can hold this for a while until she is ready to publish. Maybe we need to ask our MPs to ask questions about when it will be released:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/work-in-progress

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The woman who escaped slavery in the UK – and fights to free others

Spotlight On: Meet Ana from FDWA-UK- Filipino Domestic Workers Association: UK: she says:

‘This group is a volunteer-run, grassroots organisation of migrant domestic workers already in the UK which aims to support, uphold and campaign for the rights, welfare and dignity of migrant domestic workers. Behind the closed doors of big houses in London, there are domestic servants, slaves in fact- people whose human rights have been taken. The Guardian article below well-explains why the organisation is desperately needed by a particular group of very vulnerable domestic workers.

‘Unfortunately, the hostile environment that is the UK immigration system does not recognise risk where it exists, and many rescued domestic slaves are not accepted as people who at risk of trafficking, or modern slavery. They end up being undocumented in UK, without legitimate access to food, housing or healthcare, and for example, subjected to the ravages of covid. That is why we have joine4d the StatusNow4All campaign. These people need Indefinite Leave to Remain so that they feel they can safely make themselves known to the Home Office without fear of deportation.’

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EDM #1442: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Updated below 29 June 2021

Status Now Network welcomes the support of this informal coalition of MPs who stand with us in our campaign for people who are undocumented and those in the legal process to be given Indefinite Leave to Remain/settled status:

Early Day Motion 1442 tabled on 3 February 2021: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Motion text: That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.

Brought by Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East

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Increasing vulnerability

24 June 2021: Freemovement: High Court strikes down pandemic protections for refused asylum seekers

The High Court has overturned a tribunal judgment that had instructed the Home Office to house refused asylum seekers until lockdown restrictions end. The decision in R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) [2021] EWHC 1690 (Admin) is said to affect at least 1,000 people.

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Man ‘stripped of identity’ after family holiday to the UK became 13-year ordeal through immigration system

A child of 13 spends the next `13 years in uncertainty about his status in UK – how can this be OK … it cannot

2021 June 28: Leicester Mercury: Man ‘stripped of identity’ after family holiday to the UK became 13-year ordeal through immigration system

The privileged and happy life he knew back home was ‘taken away from him in a matter of seconds’ […]

“Our intention was always to go back to Pakistan, ” he said. “We had no plans to stay here and claim asylum.

“It was all spontaneous because of the drastic changes that happened in Pakistan.”

His dad made a number of “political commitments” in Pakistan which led to the family receiving threats and meant they could not return.

Read more here: https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/leicester-news/man-stripped-identity-after-family-5561337

Spotlight on Migrants at Work

Updated 24 June 2021: From StatusNow4All signatory Migrants at Work: 1st July 2021 – drawing attention to those pulled into home-grown slavery … more information below

18 June 2021: The Problem: Regular ( Undocumented) migrant workers

Some of us migrant workers and British citizens from BAME backgrounds are being affected by immigration rules, and discriminatory employment practices because we are unable to obtain the documents required to confirm our legal right to work in the Uk.

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Why do we call for StatusNow4All: In The Spotlight: Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG)

CARAG is a grassroots organisation made up of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants going through the UK asylum and Immigration system. 

“CARAG signed up for the #StatusNow4All campaign because the Hostile Environment is killing our members. We just want the suffering to end NOW” said CARAG chair Loraine Masiya Mponela.

CARAG and Maokwo (another SNN signatory) made this film for #RefugeeWeek2021: Watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE-rRoMFYpM
Catch up with latests episodes of CARAG podcast #StillWeRise here https://www.carag.co.uk/podcastFollow T, F and Insta: @caragcoventryW:  https://www.carag.co.uk

BID and Liberty call for an end to intrusive GPS monitoring

This has direct impact on time-served prisoners who are ‘released’ on immigration bail:

14 June 2021: from BID and Liberty: Our letter, signed by 42 organisations, was covered in an article below in the Guardian

The most recent Home Office bail policy sets out its plan to transition from radio frequency
monitoring to GPS monitoring for people on immigration bail. Whereas radio frequency monitoring can verify whether a person is where they should be at a given time, GPS monitoring provides 24/7 real time location monitoring, tracking an individual’s every move: it tells you where someone has gone, where they have shopped, what GP’s practice they have been to, and much more. Those who are being monitored in this way do not know when the ordeal will end because there is no time limit for how long people will be tracked.

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FAMILIES who have loved ones living with an insecure immigration status face “extreme and wide-ranging harm,” with children especially affected, according to a new report.

27 May 2021: Compas: Forced worklessness and fatherhood by Candice Morgan-Glendinning & Melanie Griffiths

Research being launched on 8 June: Political and media discourses around immigration tend to make a sharp distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants. Some people are more welcome than others, including on the basis of factors such as income level, savings, education, employment status and area of work. Foreign nationals with low incomes, who are out of work or deemed ‘low skilled’, tend to be portrayed as abusing the system, undercutting British workers and as a burden on the taxpayer.

Less known, are the many ways in which the immigration system itself forces unemployment upon people (whilst simultaneously draining people of savings through the huge sums required for immigration applications and appeals). Many migrants, including people claiming asylum or subject to Deportation Orders, rarely have the right to work or access public funds. The few asylum seekers who do get the right to work are only eligible to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which are graduate level or above and include civil engineers, archaeologists and chemical scientists. And those who do receive any financial support, only get a fraction of mainstream benefits.

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

An expectant mother staying at a mother and baby unit in Glasgow spoke to The Canary about living conditions there. This mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been living in this unit since March 2021. She said it’s “very stressful” living in such cramped conditions where “there is no community”.

Various campaigners in Glasgow, coming together as “the Roof Coalition”, are demanding the Home Office closes this unit that accommodates over 20 women and their babies. The Roof Coalition’s #FreedomToCrawl campaign calls on the public:

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Challenges to Home Office withholding Data

8 June 2021: Open democracy: Judge slams Michael Gove’s office as open Democracy wins transparency court case

Exclusive: UK government accused of ‘profound lack of transparency’ as openDemocracy wins legal victory over ‘Orwellian’ Freedom of Information unit

openDemocracy has won a significant legal victory against the UK government. The judgement forces transparency on a secretive unit accused of ‘blacklisting’ Freedom of Information requests from journalists, campaigners and others.

After a three-year battle, judge Chris Hughes found that the documents the Cabinet Office presented in court about the controversial Clearing House unit were ‘misleading’. He added that there is a “profound lack of transparency about the operation”, which might “extend to ministers”.

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