Internal UKBA investigation into professional standards

UK BORDER AGENCY Professional Standards Unit – Complaints and Correspondence Standards and Performance Directorate
An investigation into the allegations made by Louise Perrett about her experiences working for the UK Border Agency

Full report here: investigation-report into UKBA

The report makes a number of recommendations.

They are that:
• There should be no disciplinary charges brought in respect of the UK Border Agency officers involved in this investigation.
• Consideration should be given to it becoming a disciplinary offence for staff to fail to challenge inappropriate behaviour. It further recommends that consideration should be given to whether there are other ways in which inappropriate behaviour can be routinely challenged by all staff.
• The UK Border Agency should consider engagement with the PCS concerning advice they gave to their members not to come forward with evidence for the investigation to encourage full cooperation from Union representatives.
• The Agency should consider whether there is a need for a mentoring process for new or temporary members of staff ensuring that they are able to address concerns formally and without fear of penalty.
• Cardiff staff should be reminded of the appropriate channels in which to raise concerns ensuring they know how to access it and provided support when doing so.
• Consideration should be given to minimum contract terms for staff undertaking roles in which a large amount of time is invested in their training.
• All staff within the Wales and South West Region should be reminded of the appropriate tests that can be used to assess the credibility of an applicant’s claim. Continue reading

Home Office bids to restrict jobs for asylum seekers

Limit sought so some asylum seekers can apply for work only in industries with staff shortages

Home Office ministers are trying to thwart the impact of a supreme court ruling lifting a work ban on 45,000 asylum seekers by severely restricting the jobs they can apply for.

The immigration minister, Damian Green, wants to bar the asylum seekers from more than 28.5m jobs and restrict them to industries in which there are official staff shortages. Continue reading

A High Court judge ordered the UKBA to stop removing foreign nationals from the UK with little or no warning

Written by Emma Ginn
Update on Medical Justice Judicial Review

A High Court judge ordered the UKBA to stop removing foreign nationals from the UK with little or no warning after individuals were denied access to justice in the process.

Immigration officers have descended on vulnerable people late at night and transported them under guard to early morning flights a few hours later.  Medical Justice, a charity that provides independent medical advice to immigration detainees, claims that some people were not able to contact a legal representative and challenge their removal. Mr Nyam, a seriously ill man, was arrested last month for removal to Cameroon in a manner that a judge described as “completely unconscionable” (see case-study below). Continue reading

Quaker response to UK Borders Agency review of detention of children

Review into ending the detention of children for immigration purposes

1. We welcome the Government`s commitment to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes and this opportunity of making a submission to the UK Border Agency’s review. We hope that this may be a first step to reducing the reliance on immigration detention for adults.

2. We welcome also the recognition that this review will take place within a framework of international EU and human rights obligations and the duty of the UK Borders Agency to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in carrying out its functions under section 55 Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. Continue reading

Medical Justice welcomes the announcement to close the facilities to detain children at Yarl’s Wood.

Press release : Nick Clegg’s announcement on ending detention of children today

We agree with Nick Clegg that detaining children at Yarl’s Wood is a “moral outrage”. So too is the continued indefinite and arbitrary detention of vulnerable women at Yarl’s Wood, including torture survivors, pregnant women, victims of trafficking and women with serious medical conditions, some of whom are denied adequate medical care. We believe that the harm being caused by Yarl’s Wood is so extensive that the only solution is to close it down. We therefore call on the government to close Yarl’s Wood in its entirety today. Continue reading

SERCO contract continues with Yarls Wood until April 2013 – £32m

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre contract extension

Our contract to operate, manage and maintain the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre on behalf of the UK Border Agency has been extended for a further three years from April 2010 to April 2013. The extension is valued at around £32m.

http://www.serco.com/media/pressreleases/contractnewsupdate10.asp

Private Eye: OTHER TOP STORIES IN THE LATEST ISSUE: – ASYLUM CENTRES:
The coalition vows to stop locking up child asylum seekers – but, after some serious schmoozing, hands Serco another £32m to keep running Yarl’s Wood. http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back

ECDN record of campaign against detention of children

End Child Detention  Now press campaign: http://claresambrook.com/campaign-page/campaign-page.html

Through the Summer of 2009 six friends helped a small family who had been split up and imprisoned simply because they had exercised their legal right to claim asylum in this country.

One family’s story
The father was separated from his wife and toddler for nine months. The two year old child was left parentless for 4 days. This traumatised family was reunited by uniformed guards in a car-park, then locked up in Yarl’s Wood for 26 days.

The 31st solicitor we called agreed to represent them. Eventually they were released and permitted leave to remain here. There had never been any reason to detain them.

We know this family. We felt furious and ashamed about what our government did to them. So we launched what we hoped would be the shortest campaign in British political history. We called it End Child Detention Now. This page is about our press campaign, led by Clare Sambrook. You can read more about the full campaign here. Continue reading

Trees only move in the wind – A study of unaccompanied Afghan children in Europe

6. Conclusion and recommendations [see full report UNHCR AFGHAN CHILDREN JUNE 2010]

233. The interviews conducted in the preparation of this study indicate that unaccompanied Afghan children who make the long trip to Europe are deeply and negatively affected by their experience. As well as the hardships and abuses of the journey, after arrival they are confronted with the prospect of forced return to Afghanistan, coupled with continuing pressure from family members to send remittances home, so that the debts incurred to pay for the journey can be paid off.
234. As stated by a recent study of asylum seeking children in the Netherlands23, “their vulnerability … is increased by the problems they are likely to develop as a result of the lengthy, uncertain and deprived circumstances of their stay in the host country.” Continue reading

Sample letter in support of suspension of forced removals to Baghdad, Iraq

Letter to:

Lord Navnit Dholakia
House of Lords
Westminster
London SW1A 0PW

Dear Navnit Dholakia,

As a member of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network I am writing to support your recent call for the suspension of deportations of Iraqis to Baghdad (22 June 2010, House of Lords). I deplore the fact that this call did not receive the response it deserved from the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lord Howell.

It is heartening that you and your fellow Liberal Democrat peers are in favour of the moratorium, as are a number of peers of other persuasions.

However, the Coalition Government policy on this is surely unacceptable. It seems that deportations are to continue irrespective of the concerns raised over both the immediate and the long-term safety of many of the deportees. These concerns continue to be raised by no lesser authority than the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, supported by Amnesty International, Oxfam and others.

Recently, the government has shown itself capable of accepting enlightened positions, notably the decision of the Supreme Court on Gay asylum seekers. Should you not be pressing it further on the matter of the Iraqi deportees? Can any self-respecting government be allowed systematically to oppose the UNHCR and the humanitarian organisations?

Yours sincerely,

Permission to Work

We’ve teamed up with Still Human Still Here to urge the government to get behind more sensible rules for asylum seekers which allow them to work if they’ve been in the UK for more than six months.

E-mail your MP now in 2 minutes and ask them to sign a declaration which supports asylum seekers being allowed to get jobs to pay their own way if they’ve been in the UK for over six months. If they change the rules, taxpayers won’t be paying benefits to support people who are able to work, but aren’t allowed to. It means that asylum seekers won’t be relying on charity to get by. And those who are allowed to stay in the UK will find it much easier to become part of British society if they’ve already been given a chance to work.

Just enter your postcode to get started – it will only take 2 minutes.

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/PermissionToWork