Schedule 6 - Support for certain categories of migrant

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 10th November 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 9:30 am, 10th November 2015

Maybe I did. I apologise.

Amendment 225 is intended to prevent individuals and families from being made immediately homeless and destitute on receipt of a decision from the Home Office on their further qualifying submissions. The existing policy allows for 14 days of support if further qualifying submissions are rejected and 21 days if they are accepted. Under proposed new subsection (3A)(b) in paragraph 3(5) of the schedule, however, if no regulations are brought in prescribing the period after which support is terminated, or the individual is not covered by the scenario envisaged in the regulations, support can be terminated immediately.

Essentially, there are three scenarios that are a cause of concern. The first is applicants whose further submissions are accepted and who are granted leave. They would have no time to obtain the documentation they need to apply for mainstream benefits and/or work. Lest anyone thinks that that is a theoretical example, there was the tragic case that a number of Committee members will know of—the case of EG—where support was withdrawn and there was a serious case review, which touched upon the transitional periods when support was not provided under the existing regime. To be fair, I do not think that that was the sole cause of the issue, but it was certainly one of the issues that was flagged up in the serious case review, and obviously everyone wants to ensure that everything is done to ensure that that type of thing does not happen again. EG was a little boy who starved to death in that period. So that is applicants whose further submissions are accepted and are granted leave.

The second group is applicants whose further submissions are treated as a fresh protection claim with a right of appeal. As I understand it, they would have to reapply for support on receiving a decision about their further qualifying submissions, because the Bill provides for the support they were receiving to terminate on the day that the decision is taken. So, as far as they are concerned, there is an interim period.

The third group is applicants whose further submissions are rejected. Until now, they would have had 14 days of support. There is a provision in the Bill—new subsection (3D) under paragraph 3(5) of schedule 6—that provides for support to be continued when

“permission to apply for judicial review is granted”.

Clearly, however, there will be a gap between the decision and any application being made for judicial review, and any permission being granted.

As I say, to some extent, these are technical amendments, but they are important because they deal with periods that until now have been dealt with under policy and guidance, whereby support is not removed during the possible gap period. However, it may be that the Minister can give some assurances that will remove the need for the amendment.