Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Andrew Hewett: We see examples every day. The British Red Cross supports over 7,000 destitute people a year, some of whom will be able to apply for section 4 support. Some of them will then experience real practical barriers to leaving the UK. I have got some examples. One real, very recent example: a Palestinian male claimed asylum in 2004. He became appeal rights-exhausted the following year, 2005. He applied for assisted voluntary return through the voluntary return scheme; he applied for section 4 support. He was not able to progress his application for voluntary return because there is no direct route into Palestine. Therefore, he was not eligible for section 4 support. He cannot find a solicitor to make a stateless application, so he is really stuck. He has literally spent the last 10 years homeless and destitute in the UK, having pursued every legal avenue. So there are some real practical barriers with challenges to returning people from particular countries that have no embassies in the UK or those with no viable route of return or other practical challenges with documenting or proving their nationality. Where people have proved that they have done as much as they possibly can to effect their own voluntary departure and there are some obstacles in their way, absolutely that needs to be considered.