Lord Roger Roberts, LD4SOS president, has lost no time in having a Bill prepared in time for the ballot for Private Members Bills. Congratulations for getting on with business that is important to these young people who need legal representation, and good luck in the ballot to him.
BILL PRESENTED TO ENSURE LEGAL SUPPORT FOR YOUNG ASYLUM SEEKERS – TO
Make provision for unaccompanied asylum seeking children to receive legal advice and for extending the deadline period for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child to appeal an asylum decision.
BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: –
1 Legal advice for unaccompanied asylum seeking children
(1) The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 is amended as follows. (2) Insert the following new section— “(96A) Legal advice for unaccompanied asylum seeking children
(1) The Secretary of State has a duty to ensure the provision of legal advice for unaccompanied asylum seeking children as soon as possible after a child is first encountered by any public authority. (2) The legal advice under subsection (1) must consist of, but is not restricted to, the provision of a level 3 immigration advisor for the unaccompanied asylum seeking child. (3) The Secretary of State must make provision to meet the fees and costs associated with legal advice provided under subsection (1). (4) In this section— “level 3 immigration advisor” means an individual who is registered with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner and who provides advice on claims for asylum and may appear on behalf of their clients at a First-Tier Immigration Tribunal; “public authority” means any public authority within the meaning of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, other than a court or tribunal; and “unaccompanied asylum seeking child” has the meaning given in paragraph 352ZD of the Immigration Rules.”
2 Extending the deadline period for appeals
(1) The Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Rules 2014 are amended as follows. (2) After “tribunal” in paragraph (4) of rule 1, insert the following— “”unaccompanied asylum seeking child” has the meaning given in paragraph 352ZD of the Immigration Rules;” (3) In rule 19, insert the following— “(3A) Irrespective of whether the person is in or outside of the United Kingdom, the notice of appeal for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child must be received not later than 12 months after they are sent the notice of the decision against which the appeal is brought.”
3 Extent, commencement and short title
(1) Section 1 of this Act extends to the whole of the United Kingdom. (2) This Act comes into force at the beginning of the day on which it is passed. (3) This Act may be cited as the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (Legal Advice and Appeals) Act 2017.
None of us with an ounce of compassion or humanity would say that it is a good thing for anyone to be separated from their family against their will. Our own manifesto for the General Election says :
“●● Offer safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees to prevent them from making dangerous journeys, which too often result in the loss of life, for example via reform of family reunion rules to make it easier for refugees to join relatives already living in safety in the UK.”
Refugee Council are campaigning for people to contact their MP to ask them to sponsor a Private Members Bill “Refugee Family Reunion Bill”.
You can do this very easily by putting in your postcode into this site https://action.refugeecouncil.org.uk/togetheragain/ or of course use your own words if you can.
Below is a briefing from the Refugee Council, giving more detail, and thank you to them for drawing it up. Also more on their website https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/4952_saving_their_lives_broke_up_their_families
As refugees are forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence and persecution, they can find themselves separated from their loved ones, further compounding their suffering.
For refugees already living in safety in the UK, the forced separation from their families and constant anxiety about their well-being can be devastating, preventing them from rebuilding their lives and undermining their successful integration into their new communities.
Refugee family reunion is a way to reunite divided families but the Government’s strict rules mean that many refugees do not qualify. Currently, adult refugees living in the UK can apply for their spouse and children under the age of 18 to join them. For child refugees alone in the UK, they are unable to apply for even their parents to join them.
This leaves families facing a stark choice: leave some family members behind, be it an elderly mother in Syria or a 19 year old daughter in a Taliban-controlled region of Afghanistan, or turn to people smugglers and embark on perilous journeys in a desperate attempt to join their families.
The result is that families are kept apart just when they need each other the most.
You have a chance to change this by contacting your MP
“As your constituent, I am asking you to enter the Private Members’ Bill ballot on 29 June and, if selected, to use the opportunity to introduce a Refugee Family Reunion bill.
A Refugee Family Reunion bill would make it easier for families torn apart by war and violence to be reunited. It would give refugees a safe, legal route to join family members who have already found refuge here, so that they are not forced to turn to smugglers .”
I hope you will take this opportunity to help refugee families by entering the Private Members’ Bill ballot.
We are very pleased with the Party Manifesto released yesterday, and you can see the policies around refugees and asylum seekers at section 7.8 on page 78.
This is the LD4SOS Manifesto for General Election June 2017which encompasses the party one, but has more information and detail on issues around those seeking sanctuary. It is all based on existing party policy.
If you need it as a word document to take extracts from please do get in touch, it is there to be used and shared as needed.
If you would like any further information, please do get in touch with us.
End to Azure card in name only explains how the new Aspen Card does not help those on Section 4
Doctors of the World has just launched its #StopSharing campaign calling on the UK government to stop using NHS patients’ personal information to track down migrants. The deal struck in January between the Home Office and NHS Digital gives the Home Office easier access to migrant patients’ information, such as addresses, and allows them to track down, arrest and deport undocumented migrants. Patient confidentiality is essential for NHS staff to be able to do their job – and yet they have not been consulted about this deal, with concerns raised by medical organisations ignored.
Support the #StopSharing campaign by sharing the petition with your networks and taking action on social media. You can also help promote the “Safe Surgeries” toolkit for healthcare professionals which gives GP practices concrete ways to defy the data-sharing deal by keeping their patients’ addresses off NHS records, including using the GP practice address as c/o address. Resources to promote the campaign are here DotW website.
Commenting on the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group “REFUGEES WELCOME ?, “ Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary say :
- We welcome the APPG report which is right to question the difference in support depending on how people got here, but the crucial thing is the UK welcomes those that are seeking sanctuary with us.
- We welcome the recommendation to appoint a Minister for Refugees and to devise a National Refugee Integration Strategy in cooperation with members of civil society, faith groups, local authorities and officials from the relevant Government departments
- Integration is what the refugees, however they arrive here want, as well as what the UK needs to be encouraging
- Better and more humane ways of family reunion is all part of people settling into our communities.
- We particularly welcome the recommendation that the 28 day period someone who is granted refugee status has to find somewhere to live and a job and any benefits is extended to at least 50 days, to avoid destitution and homelessness. Along with better moves for better ESOL provision, a NiNo to be given, support for job searching and health care, this will lead to support across the board for our newly recognised refugees, and better integration into our communities.
- All of this complements LD4SOS’s call for all those seeking sanctuary to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, and for them to be able to contribute to life in the UK as they so much want to be able to do.