On 15 January we reported that the UK Home Office had announced a change in procedures for lodging further submissions on asylum and human rights applications, after a refusal of an asylum claim. All further submissions were now to be made in person, in Liverpool, rather than at the applicant’s local Immigration office.
The new process, announced without notice or consultation, was scheduled to start on 26 January. However, the Home Office made a further announcement that this was to be delayed.
The Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) had coordinated a response from lawyers and community groups who were concerned that this new process would present significant barriers to asylum applicants presenting evidence.
It has now emerged that Liverpool City Council has applied to the courts for a judicial review of the decision to implement this new procedure, citing concern for the people forced to travel to the city, and the capacity of local services and communities to support them.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the Mayor of Liverpool said:
We will continue to do our fair share and offer the hand of friendship to people in desperate need because that’s what this city is proud of. But this is asylum apartheid – people in the poorest areas are those who are forced to accept asylum seekers in their communities and they are already struggling.
This was followed-up by another report in the Echo confirming that Liverpool City Council had won a reprieve, at least temporarily, for asylum seekers.
So, for now at least, the system for making further submissions for asylum applications remains the same. Most applicants continue to submit them locally, and only those whose initial claim was made before 5 March 2007 must make an appointment to travel to Liverpool.