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Monday 14th November to Sunday 20th November 2022

ECHR Orders Belgium to House Homeless Asylum Seekers

A notable development in Belgium over recent weeks has seen the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) grant two interim measures requiring Belgian authorities to comply with national court orders to provide accommodation for homeless asylum seekers.

"The case concerns the applicants (adult males), who have applied to the Belgian authorities for international protection and have not been assigned accommodation on account of the alleged saturation of the network for receiving asylum-seekers in Belgium. The applicants have all obtained a final domestic decision from the Brussels Labour Court ordering the Federal Agency for the Reception of Asylum-Seekers (Fedasil) to provide them with accommodation and material assistance in accordance with the Law of 12 January 2007.

"The Court decided to enjoin the Belgian State to comply with the orders made by the Brussels Labour Court in respect of each of the applicants and to provide them with accommodation and material assistance to meet their basic needs for the duration of the proceedings before the Court."

ECHR: https://rb.gy/rnidlo

UK Pinching 1 in 4 of its Nurses From Countries With Desperate Shortages

Since 2017, 50,000 of the nurses who registered to practise in the UK were trained in countries that have too few of their own nurses to provide the standard of healthcare recommended by the United Nations.

Once registered, nurses can be employed in the NHS or the private sector. It is likely that the majority join the NHS, with 38,000 new NHS England nurses reporting their nationalities as countries with severe staffing shortages in the past five years – though it is not known where they trained.

This includes thousands of Ghanian, Nigerian and Nepalese nurses, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) discouraging active international recruitment from all three countries.

Read more: Adam Bychawski, Open Democracy, https://rb.gy/bdjvwo

Asylum Briefing: Representing Palestinian Refugees

(There is no independent state of Palestine and therefore no such thing, in legal terms, as Palestinian nationality.)

What is Article 1D of the Refugee Convention? Immigration lawyers tend to have a good grasp of the definition of a refugee. We can confidently recite the “well-founded fear” definition at Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees (the “Refugee Convention”) which, if met, can lead our clients to a grant of refugee status.

Article 1D and its meaning are less familiar. But understanding Article 1D is essential if you find yourself representing Palestinian refugees. This group of refugees can be “excluded” from protection afforded by the Refugee Convention and have a special status, so it’s important to be aware that these cases are dealt with differently.

Background: Palestine was placed under British administration in 1922 by the Council of the League of Nations. Increasing Jewish migration to the region led to tension between the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities, with frequent violent outbreaks and little political cooperation.

In 1947 the United Nations recommended that Palestine be partitioned into two: an independent Arab territory and an independent Jewish territory. As Britain withdrew from Palestine and the Israeli declaration of independence followed on 14 May 1948, civil war between the two communities broke out. By the time the war ended in July 1949, Israel controlled over three quarters of the territory and around 750,000 Palestinian Arabs had been displaced.

Palestinians displaced by the conflict were recognised as refugees by the United Nations. But the vast majority who fled in 1948 and their descendants remain stateless in law. There is no independent state of Palestine and therefore no such thing, in legal terms, as Palestinian nationality.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/vjwxmu





Asylum Seekers Backlog Reaches 122,206 - Hundreds Waiting Over 5 Years

The Refugee Council on Tuesday, published new Home Office data on the asylum backlog obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. As highlighted by the Refugee Council, the data shows that that total number of asylum seekers waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim stood at 122,206 at the end of June 2022. This figure includes main applicants, adult dependents and children. The backlog when only counting adult main applicants was 93,969.

The asylum backlog has doubled in a year and a half (from 64,891 at the end of December 2020) and has quadrupled in just five years (up from 29,522 in December 2017). Over ten years, the backlog has increased almost tenfold (it stood at 12,808 in December 2012). Of those in the backlog at the end of June 2022, some 38,036 asylum seekers had been waiting between six months and a year, 40,913 between one and three years, 9,551 between three and five years, and 725 asylum seekers had been waiting for over five years. The Refugee Council said the latter statistic was shocking.

Read more: EIN, https://rb.gy/op8nwl

Asylum Seeker In SERCO Run Hotel On 12th Day Of Hunger Strike - (14th November)

A man who has been living with his family at a Serco managed hotel in Stockport - which has been the subject of widespread complaints - has now been on hunger strike for 12 days, protesting about conditions at the hotel and the way Serco staff treat residents.

The hopelessness of the situation and his belief that no-one was listening led the man to start a hunger strike on November 2nd. He was taken to hospital two days later after collapsing at the hotel.

RAPAR sent an Open Letter to Stockport council, and the town's four MPs, after being told that Serco were not responding to residents' safeguarding and health and safety complaints. Stockport council said they shared RAPAR's concerns .

Attempts by residents to reach Migrant Help, the organisation tasked by the Home Office with relaying residents' complaints to Serco, are frequently unsuccessful and many people have given up trying. This is a UK wide problem which is not being properly acknowledged by the Home Office or Serco. (On the Guardian: ‘It just rings and rings’: Home Office helpline for asylum seekers rated inadequate)

Read more: Rhetta Moran/Kath Grant RAPAR, https://rb.gy/ufmlg5

A Year On: Only 4% of People Seeking Asylum Have Received a Decision

Only 4% of asylum seekers who arrived in the UK by boat last year have received a decision from the Home Office on their claim, according to the Refugee Council. The majority of people who have claims processed are found to be refugees by the Home Office. In a report in July, the Home Affairs select committee said the delays were caused by “inappropriate” software and “insufficient” staff to support officials making decisions.

Last week, the Observer reported that new Home Office recruits put in charge of making decisions about asylum claims were “inexperienced” and receiving little training. The committee said that “long delays” had a substantial impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people seeking asylum. It added that the backlog could impact the cost of the asylum system, such as accommodation for asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their claim. It said that addressing the asylum claim caseload must be the department’s “highest priority” within asylum operations.

Ella Hopkins, Each Other, https://rb.gy/w9aqul

Asylum Seekers Surviving on ‘One Meal a Day’ as Cost of Living Spirals

“People think we live in heaven, that they are giving us everything – but this is not true. Believe me, it’s hard,” William*, who is afraid to share his real name or location, tells openDemocracy over the phone.

William is one of the approximately 120,000 asylum seekers in the UK awaiting a decision on their claim for refugee status. All are banned from working while their applications are processed and those housed in self-catered accommodation, like William, receive just £40.85 a week to live on – less than £6 a day.

This money is supposed to cover essentials such as food, clothing and toiletries, as well as travel, non-prescription medicine, communication and anything else they might need. But amid the soaring cost of living, which has seen food inflation reach its highest annual rate on record, many are struggling.

Read more: Isabella Cipirska, Open Democracy, ?https://rb.gy/yt4on2

Failed Asylum Seeker’s False Identity Conviction Quashed

In Elmi [2022] EWCA Crim 1428, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of a failed asylum seeker who had been found guilty of possessing a false identity document. Elmi had not been advised that he could use the defence of a presumptive refugee under s.31 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Errors leading to convictions such as Elmi’s are often overlooked with no regard to future consequences. In this case, Elmi’s path to citizenship was blocked and he was unable to work in certain jobs. The Court of Appeal’s decision may offer an olive branch to others who find themselves in similar circumstances.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/pqo8r1

Home Office Guidance on Refugee Family Reunion Applications Unlawful

The reality of safe and legal routes for refugee family reunion: SGW is a UK-based refugee and Eritrean national. His brother, FGW, is a young person who was trapped in Libya until recently. FGW’s journey to the UK has not been quick, safe or simple.
In the case of R (SGW) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Biometrics, family reunion policy) [2022] UKUT 15 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal decided that Home Office guidance on refugee family reunion applications was unlawful because it failed to accurately describe the legal discretion in relation to providing biometric information. You can read more about the judgment here. This post looks at the individuals behind the case, and the personal impact of trying to obtain safe and legal entry to the UK.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/n6emkx





Opinions Regarding Immigration Bail

36 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate

UK Human Rights and Democracy 2020

Hunger Strikes in Immigration Detention

Charter Flights January 2016 Through December 2020

A History of

Immigration Solicitors

Villainous Mr O