The UK Border Agency must end this culture of disbelief

The chaos at the UKBA that forces asylum seekers to languish in poverty-stricken limbo shows the need for change

‘This tale of bureaucracy and incompetence overlooks a tragic human toll for the asylum seekers suspended in the UKBA twilight zone’. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The UK Border Agency has come under fire in a report from the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, John Vine, for allowing a huge backlog of asylum cases to build up and for misleading parliament about how it has dealt with this backlog. The report focuses on 147,000 legacy cases – asylum seekers who made a claim before March 2007 – and says that this group has spent an average of seven years waiting for a decision. Continue reading

Call for newspapers to set the record straight on refugees and asylum seekers

More needs to be done to challenge unfair, inaccurate and negative newspaper coverage of refugees and asylum seekers, the British Red Cross has said. (Click here for full article by BritishRedCross)

Today the charity launched its Dispatches UK initiative, which reveals new research about how refugees are depicted in the press. The research shows how news stories about refugees and asylum seekers continue to be overwhelmingly negative, despite a significant fall in asylum claims in the last decade, and rarely give a voice to refugees themselves. Continue reading

Homelessness and G4S

Homeless migrants: a humanitarian crisis on the door step

Paul Birtill, The Guardian  – 15 November 2012
Our latest publication, Housing Associations and Provision for Destitute Migrants: a Practice Pack, uses a model by Hope Projects in Birmingham to demonstrate how housing associations and the voluntary sector can work together to address what is one of the worst humanitarian issues in our communities.

Paul Birtill is the director of Metropolitan Migration Foundation and a member of the Housing and Migration Network.

Full article available here Continue reading

Last minute immigration appeals: Hamid, R

The Home Office delayed making a decision on a case leaving the solicitor no choice but to prepare for a last minute appeal.  The danger is that Judges will look unfavourably on such last minute appeals following this case:

Hamid, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 3070 (Admin) (30 October 2012) http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/ markup.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/ Admin/2012/3070.html&query= hamid&method=boolean

This has recently been reported here: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/without-merit-immigration-appeals-rounded

The response has been to note that it is the delay in Home Office/Border Agency decisions on such matters which can force last minute immigration appeals and that such delay must be taken into account.  So … if Hamid is applied without reference to this then it gives the power to the Home Office to push you and therefore your client into disfavour with the court.

UNHCR asylum data for the first half 2012

UNHCR has published its latest statistics on asylum applications lodged in 44 industrialized countries (full details at: www.unhcr.org/statistics). Key findings include the following:
* An estimated 212,600 asylum applications were recorded during the first six months of 2012 in the 44 included industrialized countries, nearly identical to the same period 2011 (210,100).

* The 27 Member States of the EU registered 123,300 asylum claims in the first half of 2012, 58% of all asylum claims in the 44 countries.

* The top five receiving countries together accounted for more than half (56%) of all asylum claims. These were: the United States of America (42,800),France (25,400), Germany (22,500), Sweden (16,300), and Switzerland (12,800).

* nationalities making the most claims for asylum were Afghanistan (16,300), China (12,400), Pakistan (10,000), Iraq (8,900) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (8,400). Persons from these five countries together accounted for 56,000 applications, or about one quarter (27%) of all asylum claims submitted in industrialized countries. Applications from Syria showed the highest relative increase, with some 6,500 Syrians claims in the first 6 months of 2012.