Asylum: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 5th November 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on issuing discontinuation letters to people living in asylum accommodation who (a) have had their asylum claim or fresh claim refused and (b) were eligible for asylum accommodation on public health grounds during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy is on issuing discontinuation letters to people living in asylum accommodation in Tier (a) 2 and (b) 3 local covid-19 alert level areas.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many discontinuation letters have been issued to people living in asylum accommodation in (a) Manchester, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Liverpool since the outbreak of covid-19.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the risk to health of evicting people from asylum accommodation during alert level 4 of the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will publish the evidence she used to make that assessment.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential effect on people in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities of discontinuation letters being served to people living in asylum accommodation.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights are eligible to receive accommodation and other support provided they take reasonable steps to leave the UK or there is a legal or practical obstacle to their departure. Only failed asylum seekers who are able to take steps to leave the UK, but choose not to, are therefore issued with notices that their support will be discontinued.

The process of issuing discontinuation notices is kept under regular review, taking consideration of public health guidance and the impact of the virus on those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. The issuing of notices was paused on 27 March, but resumed on 15 September for some cases, starting with failed asylum seekers living in tier 1 and 2 areas in England at the time of the decision being prioritised over other cases.

The number of discontinuation notices issued to those living in Manchester, Greater Manchester and Liverpool since 27 March is not in a recordable format and to do so would be at a disproportionate cost.

Information on the number of people in receipt of support are published here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#asylum-support this includes applications, supported persons and those discontinued. The Home Office does not publish a breakdown by individual Local authority.

This is being kept under continual review, particularly in light of the fact that we are only issuing negative cessation notices where a route back to the home country exists for the individual, amongst other things. An offer of voluntary return is made, in each case, including flights being paid for and a cash sum of X is offered as well.

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