“No one should fear accessing medical advice from our superb NHS due to an immigration reason.”

28 December 2020: StatusNow4All: Yes.  This is all perfectly doable. We can overcome public health inadequacies, end the endangerment of people and map out a logical and comprehensive route to health and safety for all by giving settled status or Indefinite Leave to Remain to everyone who is undocumented and in the legal process who is currently in the UK and Ireland, thereby guaranteeing access to services, without fear or retribution.

Open letter from Status Now 4 All:

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The Friend Christmas issue 2020

The new issue of The Friend is a double 32-page Christmas special. 

You can download the magasine as a PDF above. It has now been circulated to every Local Quaker Meeting in the UK on BYM’s generic address list, that’s over 400 Meetings.

George Penaluna, Advertisement Manager, hopes you’ll share this PDF with your networks, QARN trustees and anyone else you think may enjoy reading it. Many thanks and best wishes for Christmas

We thank George for his warm engagement with us.

Migrant Voice report launch, today

16 December 2020: Migrant Voice: As part of our International Migrants Day celebrations, we’re launching a report looking at media coverage of migrants and migration during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.

The launch will take place on Zoom, Wednesday 16 December, 5.30-7pm, and all are welcome. Email info@migrantvoice.org to get the link. 

For this report, we analysed almost 900 news stories across nine of the UK’s most popular media outlets to answer these questions: Did we really see a shift to positive coverage of migrants, or just those working in the NHS? Which news outlets were best at including migrant voices in their Covid-19 coverage? Were migrants presented as heroes, threats or victims during this unprecedented time?

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Revealed: shocking death toll of asylum seekers in Home Office accommodation

15 December 2020 Guardian: FoI response shows 29 people died – five times as many as lost their lives in perilous Channel crossings

Twenty-nine asylum seekers have died in Home Office accommodation so far this year – five times as many as those who have lost their lives on perilous Channel small boat crossings over the same period.

The Guardian obtained the figure in a freedom of information response from the Home Office, which does not publish deaths data. The identities of the majority of those who died have not been made public and the circumstances of their deaths are unclear.

[…] Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/dec/15/revealed-shocking-death-toll-of-asylum-seekers-in-home-office-accommodation

We call for Status Now 4 All #HealthAndSafetyForAll Join us

High Court finally calls time on asylum accommodation delays

15 December 2020: Freemovement

Everyone who works with asylum seekers knows that the Home Office system for providing accommodation is not fit for purpose. In R (DMA and Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWHC 3416 (Admin) the High Court has finally and emphatically recognised this. The judgment will surely have significant ramifications for how the Home Secretary discharges her duty to accommodate destitute asylum seekers.

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2020 Nov Public accounts committee: Asylum accommodation and support transformation programme

The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit” (Standing Order No.148).

The report itself is here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/3561/documents/34409/default/

Conclusions and recommendations

1.It is unacceptable that the Department has failed to engage adequately with local stakeholders. The Department and its providers have repeatedly failed to properly consult and communicate with local authorities and NHS providers, and local MPs on the use of hotels in their areas. We are concerned to hear that the Department moved service users that had contracted COVID-19 to a hotel in another local authority at the last minute and without notifying either the relevant local authority or the relevant NHS bodies affected. We are similarly concerned to hear that in another local authority, the provider had told the local authority but had not informed the local health commissioner that 160 asylum seekers were moving to a local hotel and would need medical services. Where plans are shared, this is not done so with enough time to allow health and well-being services to put the necessary support services in place. It is essential that the Department contacts local care commissioning groups or equivalent before relocating asylum seekers in their areas so that their medical needs can be properly catered for. The Department accepts it needs to improve how it works with local partners, but despite its claims to have redoubled efforts since we last discussed this issue in June 2020, MPs’ and local authorities’ concerns have continued.

Recommendation: The Department should, as a matter of urgency, communicate with NHS bodies, MPs and other key stakeholders such as police, setting out how it will consult and engage with them in future. The Department should write to the Committee within three months to confirm its approach.

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Greater Manchester leaders “will not be complicit” in asylum seeker evictions

9 December 2020: Greater Manchester mayoral and local authority leaders have released a joint statement today pledging that they “will not be complicit” in the Home Office policy of enforcing asylum seeker evictions amid winter and Covid.

Andy Burnham, deputy mayors Bev Hughes and Richard Leese, and nine council leaders have written to Priti Patel to express “profound concern” over those asylum seekers who receive a negative decision soon being evicted.

During the first coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, the evictions of refused asylum seekers from Home Office accommodation were paused due to considerations around the impact of homelessness on the spread of the virus.

But the government did not repeat this policy for the second national lockdown, with Home Office sources telling The Guardian last month that refused asylum seekers were again expected to leave the country and would not receive support.

This was despite a court order being issued that instructed the Home Office to halt evictions due to public health concerns and in light of the judge concluding that “the harm and risk cannot readily be reversed”.

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Update from NACCCOM re: Reverse the decision to evict people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) into homelessness

8 December 2020: Update from NACCCOM: We are writing to you as individuals or organisations that signed the joint letter to the Prime Minister against evictions from asylum accommodation which was sent in October.

Since then, a response has been received by both Chris Philp, Immigration Minister, and Kelly Tolhust, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing. Please click on the hyperlinks to see the letters directly.

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