News

DECISION MAKING ON ASYLUM APPLICATIONS

A radical and effective way of making decisions on claims for asylum must be brought in.  It is no use tinkering around the edges and making little adjustments.  The issue has been highlighted by The Guardian here https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/may/07/home-office-abandons-six-month-target-for-asylum-claim-decisions?fbclid=IwAR0gEIY-YFU6MCKCrEOJlcpSmtNvonc2K9esjSjc-Yb_1JJOEMCab_LOku8

The quality of decision making must always be upheld, by fully trained case worker, with realistic targets to both eliminate the backlog and process new applications.

Our Lib Dem policy on decision making is here http://libdemfocus.co.uk/ld4sos/archives/1447 and you can see the submission that LD4SOS made to the Home Office consultation here sUBMISSION TO UKVI ON TIMES TO MAKE DECISIONS

ANOTHER PUSH TO END INDEFINITE DETENTION

There has never been a better parliamentary opportunity to finally end indefinite detention for immigration purposes. Ending such indefinite detention has long been a key policy for Lib Dems. It has featured in both the 2015 and 2017 manifestos. You can see more detail on our policy paper here. Our MPs and Peers have taken lots of opportunities in Parliament to raise and campaign on the issue. We have worked with Detention Forum who have done brilliant work with all parties and none, too

There is an amendment, that has cross-party support with not just Lib Dems but Conservative, DUP, TiG, Green, SNP, Plaid MPs already signed up.

We don’t know when this will come before Parliament, but it could be any time now, and it is essential that as many MPs as possible, from all parties are signed up to it.

Detention Forum have drawn up this note that can be sent to MPs. You can see from the link above which MPs have already signed.

So please take the time to send the message below, that is in italics, to make sure that this amendment will be agreed, and we put an end to the inhumane practice of locking people up with no time limit.

We understand that your time in Parliament will be focused on other pressing matters but we hope you would consider supporting the amendments tabled to the Immigration Bill that would introduce a 28-day time limit on how long an individual can be held in immigration detention.  This link takes you to the amendment.

Just recently the Home Affairs Select Committee released their report into immigration detention and ‘found serious problems with almost every element of the immigration detention system’ and reiterated the need for a 28-day time limit in immigration detention.

This follows the Joint Committee on Human Rights report earlier this year which also called for a 28-day time limit. “

Detention Forum say “We would be happy to provide further briefing on the issue and to the amendment more specifically. For now we are asking MPs to add their names to amendments NC1 – NC8 in the immigration Bill. Further briefings will be available ahead of Report Stage. “

Lib Dem manifesto for Euro policies relevant to refugees and asylum seekers

New updated set of Lib Dem policies and values as relate to refugees and asylum seekers.  This May 2019 document emphasises Liberal Democrat policies relevant to the Euro elections, and the important issues that need to be tackled.

LD4SOS mini manifesto May 2019

EU WIDE PRINCIPLES and POLICIES

LD4SOS have issued this statement of Lib Dem Policies relating to refugees and asylum seekers, relevant to the current European Parliamentary elections  on 23rd May

EU-wide principles

  • We reiterate our commitment to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and to the right of every person to seek and enjoy asylum.
  • We support the creation of ‘safe and legal routes to Europe’ through the introduction of humanitarian visas.
  • We endorse EU search and rescue operations and tackling criminal people-smuggling.
  • We strongly oppose all forms of racism, division of societies and hatred against human beings.

We believe the UK should play an active part in Europe by:

  • Implementing in full Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 welcoming unaccompanied refugee children, expanding the commitment to 10,000 children over the next 10 years
  • Speeding up processes for taking unaccompanied children with established family links in the UK
  • Offering safe and legal routes to the UK for at least 10,000 refugees a year by expanding the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to cover other conflict zones such as Myanmar
  • Ending the travesty of the Calais camps by committing to properly assess applications of those with relevant links to the UK

April 2019 Newsletter

April 2019 newsletter here APRIL 2019

HUGE PROFIT FOR GOVERNMENT FROM CHILDREN’S VISA FEES

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published his inspection of the Home Office’s policies and practices relating to charging and fees, together with the Government response.

Citizens UK has revealed through an FOI request that the Home Office is making £2 million a month profit from charging children for citizenship, with around 40,000 children estimated to be affected. Together with the Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants, Coram, Let us Learn and others they have published a letter calling on the Home Office to stop profiteering from children’s immigration and citizenship applications.

This situation is completely unacceptable to Liberal Democrats and they are taking what action they can in all directions

It was agreed as Lib Dem policy last year that that we would “Significantly reduce and align the fees for naturalisation with the cost of processing applications” and specifically proposes “that the cost of nationality registration for children is limited to that which covers the administrative costs of processing the application”. Note that the actual cost is £372 per child.

Also in the Lib Dem “Ten demands for the Immigration Bill”: https://www.libdems.org.uk/ten-lib-dem-demands-for-the-immigration-bill includes “Cutting citizenship fees for children” and we’re keeping an eye on the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) current judicial review – when there’s a judgment on that we’ll have a good opportunity to raise it in Parliament.

Tim Farron and Kate Green are putting an amendment to the Immigration Bill that would establish a bespoke pathway to citizenship for EU citizens who get Settled Status, with fees “commensurate to the cost of administering an individual application” – so this would ensure that EU children already living here aren’t forced to pay the high fees.

On a linked issue, Ed Davey has a Private Members’ Bill on the specific issue of fees for Indefinite Leave to Remain for Armed Forces personnel & their families.  There are several thousand Foreign and Commonwealth nationals serving in our Armed Forces. Under the Immigration Rules, those who have served for four years or more are entitled to apply for indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK upon discharge, and to sponsor applications for their partners and children. However in recent years the fees for these applications have been increased, by successive governments, to exorbitant levels: they now stand at £2,389 per person, despite the unit cost to the Home Office of processing an application being just £243. This means that the cost of applying for a family of four is £9,556. Veterans and their families often therefore face a choice between: leaving the country, remaining here undocumented or taking out big loans to pay the fees.

Ed Davey and Jamie Stone have also tabled an Early Day Motion on the issue: https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/52668/foreign-and-commonwealth-forces-personnel

In addition, Ed Davey raised it at Home Office Questions on Monday: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-04-01/debates/9A562887-5EF2-4FE4-AFB5-11EF72C1DB09/TopicalQuestions#contribution-32BBBCA4-6AAF-444C-A7D9-741ED7AE0968

Whilst the Government is fixated on maintaining a hostile environment, Liberal Democrats are continuing to stand up for, and fight for, the rights of children living in the UK to become citizens, and play a full part in our British way of life, and take up the education opportunities offered to all children.