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Massive Briefing from Asylum Matters – Asylum Stats for Q1 2019, NHS Health Charging stuff, trafficking research and local info too

A huge post from Asylum Matters, only slightly redacted. Well worth it – local stuff at the bottom

National updates

  1. Asylum Statistics: January to March 2019
  2. Home Office Abandons Six-Month Target for Asylum Claims
  3. Access to Healthcare Resources from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission
  4. Patients not Passports Toolkit
  5. *missing*
  6. ARC & Asylos Research: Albania: Trafficked Boys and Young Men
  7. Home Office Announce Funding Boost for Local Authorities Supporting UASCs
  8. NACCOM Happy to Host Convention for Hosts, Guests & Coordinators
  9. Recruitment: British Red Cross Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer
  10. Recruitment: NACCOM Campaigns & Policy Co-ordinator

Regional updates:

  1. Recruitment: St Augustine’s Integration Support Worker
  2. Hidden Talents Project 
  3. Migration Yorkshire VCS Engagement Day
  4. Lift the Ban events for the Month of Action across Yorkshire & Humber

  1. Asylum Statistics: January to March 2019

The immigration statistics for the first quarter of 2019 (Q1) were released last Friday. Key asylum figures are below and you can find the data tables here. Some headlines from the stats are below, and a lengthier overview is available here.

  • There were 31,589 asylum applicationsin the UK (main applicants only) in the year ending March 2019, 18% more than the previous year but below the level seen in the year ending March 2016 during the European migration crisis.
  • There were 3,223 applications from UASCs, 31% more than the previous year. UASCs accounted for 10% of total asylum applications in the latest year.
  • In the last year, 39% of initial decisionson asylum applications were grants of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave, compared with 30% in the previous year.
  • There were 32,309 cases pendinginitial decision at the end of March 2019, of which 43% (13,994) were more than 6 months old. This is the largest backlog recorded in asylum statistics.
  • At the end of March 2019, 45,643 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of support under Section 95, up 8% from the same time the previous year.
  • In the year ending March 2019, 5,794 people were provided protection under resettlement schemes (a similar number to the previous year). The Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) accounted for three-quarters (4,328) of those resettled in the UK in this time.

  1. Home Office Abandons Six-Month Target for Asylum Claims

 The Home Office has abandoned its target of processing ‘straightforward’ asylum claims within six months. In 2014 the Home Office introduced this service standard to process 98% of straightforward asylum claims within six months. As noted above, the backlog in cases waiting for an initial decision for more than six months, has grown steadily over the last few years. The Home Office stated, “We have moved away from the six-month service standard to concentrate on cases with acute vulnerability and those in receipt of the greatest level of support, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC). Additionally, we will prioritise cases where an individual has already received a decision but a reconsideration is required. We are engaging stakeholders to help inform how we will prioritise decision-making in the future, which will result in a new service standard that will seek to address the concerns that have been raised with the current arrangements.”

  1. Access to Healthcare Resources from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has recently published a number of practical materials to improve healthcare access for people seeking and refused asylum. This includes a video which explains what people seeking asylum are entitled to when they access healthcare, as well as a practical guide for organisations working with people seeking asylum, which sets out the rights and entitlements to healthcare for adults and their dependents seeking asylum in England, Scotland and Wales. They’ve also released a series of case studies of healthcare and service providers facilitating access to healthcare for people seeking asylum which highlight good practice in tackling the barriers people in the asylum system are facing when accessing healthcare. 

  1. Patients not Passports Toolkit

The ‘Patients not Passports’ Toolkit has recently been launched by Docs Not Cops, Migrants Organise, and Medact. The Toolkit offers resources and information to support healthcare workers and people affected by charging to launch campaigns in their Trusts and in their communities. It includes resources to campaign for change to the charging policy more widely, as well as guidance to support individuals who are affected by upfront charging.

To complement this, Medact has also released a briefing paper examining NHS charging and the introduction of immigration controls in the NHS. It is designed to be a tool used to support people in campaigning against the Hostile Environment. It sets out the policy and ideological background to NHS charging and presents evidence of the likely impact of restricting access to the NHS. It also includes new data on NHS Trusts’ response to the policy and reveals how little has been done to mitigate or monitor the harm it will cause.

  1. ARC & Asylos Research: Albania: Trafficked Boys and Young Men

ARC and Asylos have recently published a new report ‘Albania: Trafficked Boys and Young Men’, which addresses a critical gap in country of origin information (COI) in refugee status determination procedures relating to the scarcity of available information in relation to child-specific persecution and harm. This is especially stark in the UK as Albanian children regularly form one of the top five largest groups of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, yet not one was granted asylum or humanitarian protection in 2018 despite Albania being the third-most prominent foreign country of origin for trafficked children identified in the UK in 2018.

The report found that boys and young men are being targeted for exploitation by groups in Albania associated with organised crime, and several sources commented on these networks having links to the UK. Sources spoke about a weak child protection system and raised concerns about the effectiveness of the Albanian National Referral Mechanism in identifying male victims. They mentioned that young trafficked men are returned without having been formally identified as such, thereby preventing their access to support, exacerbating the already significant barriers to reintegration and increasing the risks of re-trafficking. The report is here and the press release here.

  1. Home Office Announce Funding Boost for Local Authorities Supporting UASCs

A significant increase in funding for local authorities looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), was announced earlier this month by the Immigration Minister. The change means that local authorities will be paid the same amount for every UASC that they look after, regardless of the child’s age or when they entered the UK. Local authorities will receive £114 for each child every day that they are in their care which equates to over £41,600 per year per child. The Minister said, “I recognise the vital role local authorities play in this effort and that is why I have increased the funding available for looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children by over £30 million.” Alongside the increase in funding and simplification of the process, the Home Office is working to reduce the time it takes to conclude UASC asylum cases. The Home Office is working with stakeholders to develop a new service standard to ensure a better prioritisation of cases.

  1. NACCOM Happy to Host Convention for Hosts, Guests & Coordinators

On 13th July, NACCOM is running ‘Happy To Host’, a one day convention for hosts, guests and coordinators as well as anyone who is interested in knowing more about opening up their home to someone in need. The day will feature workshops on recruiting hosts, responding to issues, understanding the global context, and self-care and boundaries. There will also be two Q&A panels on ‘Advocacy on your doorstep’ (how hosts can play a key role in raising awareness about destitution with local decision makers) and ‘Home Truths’, exploring hosting from different perspectives. Travel costs can be funded & free tickets are available here.

  1. Recruitment: British Red Cross Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer

The British Red Cross is looking for a Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer to join the team and help secure policy and practice change to improve the experiences of refugees, people seeking asylum and survivors of human trafficking in the UK. The role will lead on developing and implementing key advocacy strategies within the policy, research and advocacy team and work closely with operational colleagues to identify key issues impacting British Red Cross service users and undertake relevant policy development. The closing date for applications is 29 May 2019 and more details are available here.

  1. Recruitment: NACCOM Campaigns & Policy Co-ordinator

NACCOM is recruiting a Campaigns and Policy Co-ordinator for maternity cover up to one year- deadline 8am 3rd June 2019. This key role is an exciting opportunity to work with their members, other organisations and those with lived experience to evidence the impact of destitution and lobby for change. Key details- £27,000 pro rata’d (plus London weighting), 30 hours per week (with plans to increase to full time in Sept), home based. More information is available here.

Regional Updates

  1. Recruitment: St Augustine’s Centre Halifax, Integration Support Worker

St Augustine’s Centre, Halifax, are recruiting an Integration Support Worker . The deadline is fast approaching on 3rd June 2019! Find out more here

  1. Hidden Talents Project- Film Launch

Growing Points, the charity behind the Hidden Talents Project which supports people from marginalised communities to overcome barriers and forge successful careers within the NHS, have collaborated with Leeds University students to create a film about the project. The launch was held on 16th May in Leeds and you can catch the film on the LMP Blog here. You can find more information on how to make a referral to Growing Points on their website

  1. Migration Yorkshire VCS Engagement Day

Our Regional Strategic Migration Partnership, Migration Yorkshire, held a Voluntary and Community Sector Engagement Day on 2nd May for organisations supporting refugees & asylum seekers in Yorkshire & Humber. The aim of the event was to review the progress since the last VCS Engagement Day in 2016, identify strategic engagement opportunities, and to identify how Migration Yorkshire can best support the VCS in the region through round table discussions. The event also included briefings from the Home Office, Mears and Migrant Help on current asylum issues. 

More information on the outcomes from the day will be shared in due course, particularly around improving VCS representation at strategic and sub-regional forums. For more information on the VCS engagement day, please contact Vicky Ledwidge at Migration Yorkshire. 

  1. #LiftTheBan events across Yorkshire & Humber for the Month of Action

The Lift the Ban coalition calling for the right to work for people seeking asylum, of which many of you are partners, are holding a Month of Action in June with events and actions planned across the UK to raise awareness of the campaign and ensure the arguments for policy reform are heard loud and clear by the Home Secretary as the policy is reviewed over the coming months. There are lots of actions planned across Yorkshire: 

  • BEACON Bradford will be doing a #WalkforWork on 19th June, with a welcome event to greet them at their destination at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds. You can find more info here
  • Campaigners will be speaking about Lift the Ban at the Arts without Borders event hosted by Open Source Arts, LASSN, LRF and others on 20th June.
  • Sisters United and St Augustine’s in Halifax will be holding an event to celebrate, support and lift the ban on 17th June.
  • Mafwa will be holding a postcard writing stall at the launch of their To and Fro performance at Sheffield’s Migration Matters festival, as will Ripon City of Sanctuary at their Refugee Week events
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