News & Views Monday 20th March to Sunday 26th March 2017  
People Are Not Bargaining Chips - Solidarity With EU Migrants 
  • Full rights for EU nationals in Britain now

On Wednesday 29 March Theresa May will formally began the process of Britain leaving the European Union. This has raised the crucial issue of the rights of EU nationals presently living in Britain and who make a huge contribution to our society.

The government has refused to guarantee these rights, saying it will wait until there is a deal involving British nationals who live in the rest of Europe.

But people are not bargaining chips.

The government’s attitude means terrible insecurity for EU nationals and their families.

We Rely on EU nationals

92,000 work in the social care sector—which has massive staff shortages

55,000 work in the NHS as nurses and doctors

311,000 work in manufacturing

210,000 work in construction

146,000 in education

All EU nationals who have come to live or work or study in Britain should have their rights guaranteed now—full rights, indefinitely. Anything else means that at least some people will be forcibly removed from Britain, families torn apart, valuable workers lost and there will be even more restrictions on those who are allowed to stay.

Already any EU national applying for proof of residency must now show they have been living and working in Britain for the past five years, providing documents for every occasion they have left Britain in that period, while those who have not been working must reportedly show they took out comprehensive health insurance—a requirement that was little known until recently.

The government’s refusal to grant workers’ rights is already hitting key services. Only 96 nurses joined the NHS from other European nations in December 2016 – a drop from 1,304 in July that year. This comes at a time when there are 24,000 nurse vacancies unfilled and the government’s withdrawal of bursaries for trainee nurses is making matters worse.

Take action now! Show your solidarity with EU nationals, and if you are an EU national be part of fighting for your future. However you voted in the EU referendum, Stand Up To Racism urges you to join our campaign to pressure the government to give EU nationals full rights now.

Get involved in the day of action to defend EU migrants next Wednesday 29 March.

  • Organise mass leafleting of your local station, tube, town centre or at your workplace or college on Wednesday 29 March. Email for leaflets
  • On the day in Central London Stand Up To Racism will be doing a banner drop and a speak out with EU migrants at Downing Street at 5.30pm. 
  • Share the Stand Up To Racism facebook event page for the day of action and post information about your local activity on it here 
  • Download a defend EU workers selfie to use at work here
Government Keeps Asylum Seekers ‘Below Subsistence Levels’ £5 A Day

The Government will maintain financial support to asylum seekers at a rate of five pounds a day, despite evidence from charities that asylum destitution is “on the rise”. Asylum seekers are barred from working or claiming benefits including job seekers' allowance while the Home Office processes their claim. Instead, they are supported under Section 95 of the immigration Act, receiving £36.95 per adult or child per week. The level of support is reviewed annually, and on Thursday the Home Office published new guidance which concluded that the cash allowance should remain the same. Despite the annual review process, payments to asylum seekers have been largely static in recent years. In 2011, a single adult received £36.62 a week. Support payments have increased by 33 pence over the last 6 years A number of migrants’ rights organisations have expressed concern that support for asylum seekers is inadequate to cover the most basic necessities.

Read more: Niamh McIntyre, Independent,
UKHO CPI Note - Iraq: Security and Humanitarian Situation

1.1  Basis of claim

1.1.1      That the general humanitarian situation in Iraq is so severe as to make removal to this country a breach of Articles 15(a) and (b) of the European Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2014 (‘the Qualification Directive’)/ Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); and/or

1.1.2 That the security situation in Iraq presents a real risk which threatens a civilian’s life or person such that removal to this country would be in breach of Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive.
1.2  Other points to note

1.2.1      Previous Home Office country information and guidance on the security situation in Iraq had been divided into two sections: the ‘contested’ and ‘non-contested’ areas of the country. The:

· ‘contested’ areas were Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk (aka Tam’in), Ninewah and Salah al-Din governorates; 

· ‘non-contested’ areas were Baghdad governorate, ‘the south’ (Babil, Basra, Kerbala, Missan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qaddisiyah, Thi-Qar and Wasit governorates) and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) (Dohuk, Erbil, Halabja and Sulamaniyah governorates). 

1.2.2 However, the security situation has changed since these definitions were first used. Furthermore, sources sometimes refer to ‘contested’ (or ‘disputed’) areas as the areas where sovereignty or control is disputed between the Government of Iraq (GoI) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Therefore, to avoid any confusion, the ‘contested’ and ‘non-contested’ definitions in the context of the security situation in Iraq will no longer be used.
Published on Refworld, 21/03/2017

Early Day Motion 1093: Government Life in The UK Test (Unreasonable Travel Distance)

That this House expresses grave concern that the Home Office is advising EU nationals, and those from other countries, living in the north of Scotland and wishing to apply for UK citizenship, that they must be prepared to undertake the Life in the UK test in offices as far away as Newcastle, Preston, Blackpool and Northern Ireland; notes that the closest office authorised to conduct this test is a minimum nine hour return car journey from Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency, and that any individual wishing to use public transport must undertake an overnight stay; further notes that a person living in Durness, Sutherland required to attend Blackpool to undertake this examination will be expected to complete a round trip of almost 1,000 miles; and considers it unacceptable to require people to travel such vast distances simply to meet the requirements of a test in circumstances that promote and encourage disadvantage and discrimination.

House of Commons, 22/03/2017
Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Schemes – (Humanitarian Protection Replaced by Refugee Status)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Amber Rudd)

Currently those arriving through the Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement scheme (VPRS) and the vulnerable children’s resettlement scheme (VCRS) are granted humanitarian protection and five years’ limited leave to remain. This entitles individuals to broadly the same benefits as British citizens. When the Syrian VPRS was launched in March 2014, it was decided that it was the most appropriate form of leave to grant for a number of reasons, including the processes in place at the time and the need to upscale quickly to respond to the urgent humanitarian situation.

At the beginning of the scheme, granting humanitarian protection allowed us to quickly assist and resettle the most vulnerable. As we have previously said, we have kept the policy under active review. We have listened to those who have raised concerns about the consequences, for those we resettle to the UK, of granting humanitarian protection rather than refugee leave. We have also taken the time to work through the policy and practical implementation issues in detail.

The decision to grant humanitarian protection was the right one at that time. However, while humanitarian protection recognises the need an individual has for international protection, it does not carry the same entitlements as refugee status, in particular, access to particular benefits, swifter access to student support for higher education and the same travel documents as those granted refugee status. Furthermore, we recognise that this policy is at odds with what happens to those Syrians who claim asylum in the UK and who are granted refugee status.

We think it is right to change the policy and now is the right time to make this change. Therefore, with effect from 1 July 2017, we will be granting those admitted under the VPRS and the VCRS refugee status and five years’ limited leave. Those who have been resettled under these programmes before this date will be given the opportunity to make a request to change their status from humanitarian protection to refugee status. We will publish more information on how individuals can do this in due course.

    We can be proud of the contribution the UK is making to support refugees and we believe that this policy change better reflects the situation of those being ?resettled to the UK and the additional entitlements attached to refugee status will help these vulnerable people make the best start to their life in the UK.

22 March 2017 - Volume 623 - Column 28WS -
Morton Hall IRC – Rise in Self-Harm/Violence/Antisocial Behaviour/Drug Use

Morton Hall immigration removal centre was working well to prepare detainees for removal or release, but safety had declined, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. As he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the immigration removal centre (IRC) near Lincoln. Morton Hall had previously been a women’s prison until May 2011 when it was re-roled to become an IRC. It was last inspected in March 2013. This more recent inspection found that the IRC was generally well run, with good provision of activities for the detainees and an impressive focus on welfare and preparing men for release or removal. This was particularly impressive given the high levels of frustration felt by many detainees, fuelled by the fact that many of them had spent a considerable time in detention and for many there was no clear pathway towards release. Delays in casework created some of the frustration. In these circumstances, it was to the credit of leadership and staff that relationships between staff and detainees remained generally strong. However, there had been a significant decline in safety since the last inspection in 2013.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

• 16 recommendations from the last inspection had not been achieved and 14 only partly achieved.

• levels of violence and antisocial behaviour had risen and the IRC needed to do more to understand the causes to enable it to take a more active approach;

• there had been a self-inflicted death since the last inspection in 2013 and another man has died since this inspection;

• self-harm had risen threefold, and the causes had not been sufficiently analysed to inform a strategy to reduce it;

• too many detainees were held for prolonged periods – 31 for over a year – and the average length of detention was also high at over three months; and

• Morton Hall had suffered the impact of new psychoactive substances becoming available.

• Inspectors made 42 recommendations

The IRC looks and feels like a prison, with a great deal of razor wire in evidence to prevent access to roof areas. While it might not be feasible to change this in the immediate future, it should be a longer-term aspiration so that the environment can more properly reflect the principles of immigration detention.

Peter Clarke said: “The very real challenges faced by this IRC should not be allowed to overshadow the commitment and skill of the staff who clearly had the interests of the detainees at the forefront of their minds. We saw many examples of extremely positive interactions between staff and detainees, professional de-escalation of potentially violent incidents and creditable patience in the face of the anger and frustration of the detainees. The challenge for Morton Hall is to halt the decline in safety and secure the investment needed to prevent any further deterioration in the condition of the residential units. The inevitable wear and tear of ageing facilities had been exacerbated in many places by vandalism and graffiti. Poor physical conditions will do nothing to lessen the frustration felt by many of the detainees when faced, in many cases, with indeterminate uncertainty about their future.”

Download the full report:
Country Policy and Information Note - Kenya: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state and/or non-state actors because of the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 This note provides policy guidance on the general situation of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons – referred hereafter collectively as ‘LGBT persons’, though the experiences of each group may differ.

1.2.2 Where a claim by a man falls to be refused, it must be certified as clearly unfounded under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 unless the decision maker is satisfied that the claim is not clearly unfounded, as Kenya is listed as a designated state in respect of men only.

Published on Bailii, 23/03/2017
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 144

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 7 March and 20 March 2017.