Serco and Asylum Seeker Lock-change Evictions

Part of Children’S Future Food Report – in the House of Commons at 4:43 pm on 27th June 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 4:43 pm, 27th June 2019

The hon. Gentleman is right to point out that they have the right to submit a fresh claim, but I am very anxious to emphasise that what we cannot encourage is a circular process, where people submit claim after claim when a first-tier tribunal and then an upper-tier tribunal found their claim to be unfounded. Circumstances may change, I absolutely accept that, but it is important that, while we treat individuals fairly, the system is upheld.

Decisions to refuse section 4 support attract a right of appeal to an independent tribunal. It is clearly reasonable to limit the offer of section 4 support to people who satisfy these conditions. Providing support indefinitely and without conditions to people who have no right to be in the UK is wrong in principle and risks undermining public confidence in the asylum system.

I have said that it is right that people who have no legal basis to remain in the United Kingdom are not supported indefinitely, but it is also right that they should be aware of their options, and the advice and support available to them. Advice on accessing further support or returning home with support is routinely provided to all whose claim has been refused. However, in the case of this particular cohort of people we have gone further. Since August 2018, we have been working with partners in Glasgow, including Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Refugee Council, to ensure that affected individuals are aware of the further support available to them.

Migrant Help, on behalf of the Home Office, has been reaching out to those affected to explain how they can continue to be supported and accommodated if they take the necessary steps to return to their country of origin. We have also provided information on our assisted voluntary returns scheme, which provides up to £2,000 in reintegration assistance.

Migrant Help has contacted 373 people to discuss these options and conducted 154 advice appointments. The Home Office has also held over 296 conversations about voluntary return. The scheme available is designed to assist those who require more help and includes supporting resettlement in the country of return by providing financial or “in kind” support from an overseas provider.

I should note that a minority of the affected individuals have received a grant of leave to remain, but have none the less refused to leave their accommodation at the end of their eligibility. We are working closely with Glasgow City Council on these cases and have an agreed process to move these individuals into appropriate local authority housing and to access mainstream benefits.