Many as thousands of asylum seekers recently accommodated in hotels are facing up removal from the the Home Office has announced.
A brief from the Home Office, seen by the Independent, states that evictions of refused asylum seekers will take place “with immediate effect” and charities have reported an increase in people being held in immigration detention centres.
Asylum seekers whose cases have been refused and who do not have an outstanding appeal will begin receiving notices to leave the UK within 21 days from this week. This group generally have no recourse to public funds.
The Home Office recently closed one immigration detention centre – Morton Hall – and is using another – Yarls Wood – to process asylum seekers who arrive here in small boats from northern France.
While some refused asylum seekers were placed in hotels funded by the Home Office, others are having their temporary hotel accommodation paid for by local authorities. It is not known if the latter group will be targeted for removal.
About half of the homeless people provided with hotel and other temporary accommodation in London when lockdown began are thought to be migrants.
In the letter to charities last Tuesday, the director general of UK Visas and Immigration said asylum seekers with negative decisions would be served eviction notices “with immediate effect” in England. Consultation will take place with officials in the devolved administrations before evictions.
In June the Public Interest Law Centre expressed concern about the possible fate of migrants with no recourse to public funds after lockdown.
“A human being’s right to safety, care and shelter should never depend on where they were born or what papers they hold,” a spokesperson for PILC said.
Luke Hall, previously minister for rough sleeping and housing, wrote to councils on 28 May about accommodating rough sleepers, both UK citizens and migrants. He said: “For some people voluntary return to their country of origin may be the best outcome for them.”
Bella Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said her organisation was aware of an increase in people being placed in immigration detention: “It is a scandal that in pre-Covid times, people caught up in the asylum system had to rely on charity support for their very survival. But to push people – including families – back into homelessness and destitution as we enter a second wave of this pandemic shows a naked disregard for human life at the very highest levels of government.
“Huge numbers of these people will have initial asylum refusals overturned on appeal and others cannot be removed while flights are grounded so this is punitive politicised decision-making at its worst.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The phased cessation of support has now begun in order to reduce the demand on the asylum system. We have been clear from the outset that this was a temporary measure which would be brought to an end as soon as it was safe to do so.
“Those who have received a negative asylum decision, which means they have no right to remain the UK, are given a 21-day grace period. During this time they are expected to make steps to return to their country of origin while still remaining in accommodation and receiving support.
“Assistance is available for those who leave voluntarily, but for those who do not, enforcement action may be taken to facilitate removal.” Source from The Guardian News.