Still not safe - fresh research into violence against women seeking asylum
Women who have fled war and persecution in their home countries are not protected from abuse and violence here in the UK, in the country they thought would make them safe, finds ground-breaking new research published today by the Refugee Council and ASAP.
The Refugee Council is delighted to hear the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)’s announcement that immigration matters for unaccompanied and separated children in care will be brought back into the scope of legal aid. This is a fantastic achievement for the Children’s Society - the charity that has settled their case against the Lord Chancellor - and represents an important forward step in the protection of the fundamental rights of vulnerable children.
What will this actually mean for unaccompanied and separated children?
by Chris Bowie, Regional Therapeutic Services Team
The Home Office today published a report from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, "How the Home Office considers the ‘Best interests’ of Unaccompanied Asylum seeking Children", following an inspection in late 2017.
The Refugee Council has today welcomed the Government’s integrated communities strategy green paper, which you can read here.
This much awaited green paper includes an acknowledgement that refugees who have come through the UK asylum system need better support to enable them to integrate in the UK and that important improvements need to be made in this area. This includes learning from the elements of the Government’s resettlement scheme that have worked most effectively.
The number of people resettled from Syria under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, first announced in 2014, has been published today in the government’s migration statistics for 2017. The grand total since that date has reached 10,538; just over half of the total commitment to be resettled by 2020. Local authorities, charities and communities throughout the country have welcomed people selected for the scheme because a member of the family is deemed vulnerable and would be unlikely to be able to continue living in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Turkey.
The Home office has today published its quarterly immigration statistics covering the period between July and September 2017. You can see the Refugee Council’s response to these statistics below, and the statistics themselves here.
The private security company G4S has today announced that it has suspended nine staff members from an Immigration Removal Centre following allegations of abuse and assaults against people detained.
An investigation has been launched into the allegations ahead of a BBC Panorama programme scheduled to be shown on Monday evening that is reported to include covert footage recorded at Brook House IRC near Gatwick airport. The footage is said to show officers “mocking, abusing and assaulting” people being held there.
We are delighted that Angus MacNeil, an SNP MP for the Western Isles, today (Wednesday 19 July) introduced a Private Member’s Bill about Refugee Family Reunion in Parliament. Hooray!
This means that the existing rules surrounding refugee family reunion, which prevent refugee families from being together, will be debated by decision makers in Parliament in the coming months. If successful, the law will be changed to enable more refugee families the chance to reunite just when they need each other most.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced to Parliament today that the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, launched in 2014 and expanded in September 2015, will no longer exclude non-Syrians living in Syria who are in need of resettlement. These include Iraqis and Palestinians, many of whom had lived in Syria for many years, having been safe there until the conflict in Syria broke out.
Today new statistics have been published showing a significant increase in the number of people seeking refuge in the UK having to wait longer than six months for a decision on their asylum application.
The figures show that at the end of March 2017, there were 8,879 asylum applications that hadn’t received an initial decision within six months — a 72% increase on twelve months before.
The Home Office has previously said that it aims to decide straightforward asylum applications within six months.
A landmark cross-party report has found that Government policies are creating a costly “two-tier system” of refugee protection leaving many homeless and destitute, seriously damaging their prospects of integration.
'Refugees Welcome?' released today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees, which the Refugee Council provides the secretariat for, found that refugees want to contribute their skills and talents to the UK, but face a number of barriers.
Syrians being resettled in Britain have finally been recognised as refugees by the UK Government.
The Home Office has today announced that Syrian refugees who are being resettled here will now be granted refugee status, which will enable Syrians to access university and to travel more easily to visit relatives in other European countries.
Overview of the of the main changes since the previous update
The report was previously updated in November 2015.
A new process for children’s claims was introduced in July 2016.
There are changes to the early parts of the process, as well as new guidance on family tracing.
G4S is to be awarded a Government contract to provide welfare services to children and families imprisoned in a new family detention unit at Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre, according to media reports.
The news follows the closure of Cedars, a controversial specialist detention unit used to detain children and families awaiting removal from the country.
The Government has announced it will close a special scheme to relocate vulnerable unaccompanied children from other European countries to the UK.
The Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill has said that the UK has committed to relocating 350 young people through section 67 of the Immigration Act – often known as the Dubs Amendment – with over 200 children having arrived already.
A project designed to help young refugees integrate into communities in Britain has secured £1 million in funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
‘From Surviving to Thriving’ is a joint project between the British Red Cross, the Refugee Council and UpRising.