In our continued effort to generate a crease and desist notice from Asylum Matters for ripping off their content, LMP presents their last newsletter in (almost) its entirety.
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- Home Office Announces New Refugee Resettlement Commitment
At the start of the week the Government announced a new commitment to support resettled refugees with existing schemes like the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme, Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and Gateway Protection Programme coming to an end during 2020. In a statement, the Home Secretary said, “Once we have delivered our current commitments we will consolidate our biggest resettlement schemes into a new global resettlement scheme. Our priority will be to continue to identify and resettle the most vulnerable refugees, identified and referred by UNHCR. Under the global resettlement scheme, we will broaden our geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa region and be better placed to swiftly respond to international crises in coordination with global partners. In the first year of operation of the new scheme, the UK will aim to resettle in the region of 5000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.” Refugee Council responded to the news, “We fully endorse the move towards consolidating the existing schemes into a single programme. This will help to ensure the UK resettlement programme is more responsive to changes in global conflict situations and resettlement needs.”
- NACCOM Report: Mind the Gap – One Year On
NACCOM has launched its Mind the Gap – One Year On report, which builds on findings published in June 2018 that made a direct link between Home Office policy and the high prevalence of homelessness among refugees in the UK. Details from the follow-up report, which contains new evidence gathered from winter night shelters in Manchester, London and Leicester, have been published in an exclusive article in the Independent online. Key data shows that 36% of refugees using the night shelter services were known to have left their asylum accommodation in the previous six months. This is a higher proportion than in 2018, when 21% of the refugee guests were known to have left asylum accommodation in the previous six months. In addition, the number of refugees known to have left asylum accommodation within the previous 1-4 weeks has risen proportionally. The report recommends that the move-on period is extended to 56 days, as well as an extension of support for asylum seekers and an increase in integration loans to reflect the cost of entering the private rental market. The Home Office replied, “If an asylum seeker is granted refugee status or humanitarian protection they have immediate and unrestricted access to the labour market and many mainstream benefits.”
- Refugee Action Report: Turning Words into Actions
Refugee Action has released a new report called ‘Turning Words into Action’ which highlights the stark contrast between the Government’s rhetoric on supporting everyone in the country, including refugees, to learn English, and the lack of concrete action and new funding needed to achieve this goal. It reveals that funding for providers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes across England has shrunk dramatically over the past decade, from £212.3m in 2008 to £105m in 2018 – a real terms cut of almost 60%. This means refugees have long waits to access classes, don’t receive adequate hours to learn properly and the lack of childcare provision means parents are often unable to take part in classes at all. Refugee Action is calling on the Government to create a fund to allow all refugees to receive a minimum eight hours a week of formal, accredited English language teaching for their first two years in the UK, starting from within a month of their arrival in the country or from being granted status. The report can be found here and you can share on social media with #LetRefugeesLearn.
- Healthcare Charging Review: Department of Health & Social Care Refusal to Publish Evidence
The Department of Health & Social Care has refused to share any of the evidence from their review into the impact of the NHS Visitor Charging Regulations from 2017 with the Health & Social Care Committee. The exchange between the Committee Chair, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, and Health Secretary, Matt Hancock MP is available here. Despite reassurances from the Committee that the evidence would not be made public, the Health Secretary claims that their refusal to share the evidence is due to the importance of “maintaining the confidentiality of the evidence” submitted to the Department. The Committee considers this refusal to be contrary to the Government’s commitment to being “as open and transparent as possible” with select committees, and to the presumption that requests for information from Select Committees will be agreed to, as recorded in paragraph 40 of the Government’s guidance for civil servants on giving evidence to select committees. It has consequently invited the Secretary of State to give evidence in person on Tuesday 25 June, to account for the refusal to provide the information. More information can be found here.
- Chief Inspector of Borders: Call for Evidence of Family Reunion
The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) invites anyone with knowledge and experience of the Home Office’s handling of family reunion applications to submit evidence for his next inspection. The inspection will look to address whether the Home Office family reunion policy and guidance, including eligibility criteria, are clear, accessible and relevant to the circumstances of those looking to be reunited, applied consistently and with understanding and compassion. All bodies with relevant knowledge and expertise, including NGOs, academics, think tanks, faith groups and representative bodies, are invited to submit evidence or case studies by 24 June 2019. Individuals, including those who have first-hand experience of the family reunion application process, are also encouraged to submit evidence. More details of the investigation can be found here.