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Strategic Migration Partnership/Home Office update – 16th September 2021

  • Operation Oak* – Home Office have carried out a review of Operation Oak and confirmed the focus providers will now be on procurement for family properties. There will still be a need to procure a full range of properties but family accommodation is the priority.
  • Intake – Channel crossings continue to be busy with intake figures over June July and August between 3-4000 each month. So far in September there have been 2286 small boats arrivals.  More efforts on the French side are helping – approx. 50% of crossings are intercepted by French authorities. Home Office are seeing very little from traditional clandestine routes, almost all arrivals are from small boats. Home Office will provide some breakdown of arrivals in the next couple of weeks.
  • Accommodation – There is pressure on Immigration Removal Centres used to accommodate new arrivals.
  • UASC – Home Office are aware of concerns over the number of UASCs placed in adult hotels without having received an age-assessment. Home Office are working on a Standard Operating Procedure which should be finalised today [ie 16th September 2021] and will make clear at each stage what needs to be done to ensure that nobody who claims they are under 18 will be dispersed to hotels without receiving an age-assessment first. Home Office aim is to reduce the number of claims –  but whilst the number of claims are high, the number of people being assessed as under 18 is also high. They are developing a system to review every case.
  • Hotel pilot – Home Office are finalising decision on which hotels will be used. There is work ongoing around ensuring access to legal aid. Home Office aware of concerns and Asylum Casework team are confident SUs will be able to access representation. Main goals are to maximise attendance for interviews and reduce travel. Decisions will not be served until after dispersal.

*[Editorial] Operation Oak in this case relates to the way the Home Office refer to the ending the hotels as longer-term accommodation for asylum seekers, and not (just in case you’re tempted to google it)

  • this Operation Oak – which is to do with student safety in the North East, or
  • this one – the rescue of Mussolini by the Nazis) or even
  • this one – run by an online group who imagine how they’d conduct military interventions – “spread[ing] freedom and democracy” via airborne assaults on Russian-backed Libyan mercenaries, occupying Georgia – apparently)
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