Please find information below including:

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.       British Future: Winning the Argument to Keep Families Together

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

 

 

1.       Asylum Statistics: January to March 2019

 

The immigration statistics for the first quarter of 2019 (Q1) have been released today. 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 applications in 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 decisions on 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 pending initial 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.

 

2.       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.”

 

3.       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. 

 

4.       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.

 

5.       British Future: Winning the Argument to Keep Families Together

 

British Future have recently published a report aimed at increasing understanding of public attitudes to family migration, refugee family reunion and integration, and tto offer insights into effective campaign strategies and messaging. The report offers advice on how to mobilise those who are already supportive and persuade new audiences, and offers cross-over messages that resonate with supporters and new audiences alike. Please note that this is intended as private advice for refugee and migration advocates – so please do use the messages but do not publish or blog about the poll findings publicly. For any questions or feedback please get in touch with Steve from British Future ([email protected]). Attached is the full report and summary (not for wider circulation).

 

6.       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.

 

7.       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.

8.       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.