- Updates on AIRE Service
- Serco Lock-Change Evictions Appeal Refused
- Migration Observatory: Local Data Guide & Asylum Briefing
- Refugee Week Leadership Project – Call for Applications
- Crisis Policy Seminar: Ending Homelessness Together – Tues 26 Nov
- STAR Annual Student Conference – Sat 23 Nov
1. Updates on AIRE Service
Migrant Help have issued further updates on the steps they are taking to address issues with the AIRE service. You can find a newsletter from 8 November here and a letter from their Chief Executive from 15 November attached. It is noted that the demand of services remains high and additional staff are being recruited, with “improvements this week with the average answer time reducing by more than half.” They are working closely with accommodation providers, whose proactive approach to regular visits and logging of issues helps to reduce the demand on the service. There has also been an increase in the use of webchat. Organisations are repeatedly urged to send emails only once, as it is suggested this increases the time it takes to process correspondence. Migrant Help have committed to further improve the service in November and to achieve service level standards in December.
2. Serco Lock-Change Evictions Appeal Refused
The Court of Session in Edinburgh has refused an appeal against Serco’s policy of lock change evictions. This means that evictions without a court order – which are otherwise unlawful in Scotland – can now be carried out by Serco against people in the asylum system. Serco said it would now proceed with returning the occupied properties to their owners “in a considered and sensitive manner”. The Scottish Refugee Council commented, “We’re bitterly disappointed by today’s decision. This galling verdict leaves hundreds of men and women in Glasgow at risk of lock-change evictions and immediate street homelessness.” The Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Judith Robertson, said, “The court’s finding that Serco is not acting as a public authority in this context, and therefore is not bound by human rights legal obligations, has profound consequences for how people’s rights are protected when public services are delivered by private providers.” It therefore sets a deeply worrying precedent for asylum accommodation contracts across the UK.
3. Migration Observatory: Local Data Guide & Asylum Briefing
The Migration Observatory has recently published two useful resources. The Local Data Guide brings together different sources of official data related to migration to help answer key questions about the levels of local migration, how this has changed over time, and if/ how effective integration has been. You can search data by local authority and results are presented in a user friendly and accessible way.
They have also produced a briefing on asylum and refugee resettlement in the UK available here. Through their analysis, they revealed that three quarters of asylum seekers in the UK had waited more than six months for an initial decision on their claim by the end of 2018. There has been a sharp decrease in the number of claims decided within 6 months, from a recent peak of 80% in the second quarter of 2014, to just 25% in the last quarter of 2018. However, more than half of asylum claims resulted in success for the applicant. In recent years, 55% of asylum applications processed were eventually successful, with 38% granted at the initial decision, and a further 17% granted after appeal (appeals had a 40% success rate).
4. Refugee Week Leadership Project – Call for Applications
As part of Refugee Week 2020, Counterpoint Arts are looking to work with emerging leaders from refugee backgrounds, giving them leading roles in the production of Refugee Week 2020, and offering tailored support for their own leadership journeys – including training from the Clore Leadership Programme. They are inviting applications from emerging leaders from refugee backgrounds who are aged 30 or under, and are passionate about changing public attitudes to refugees and asylum seekers. The deadline to apply is 29 November 2019 and more information can be found here.