In 2017, ICIBI reported on the identification and treatment of Potential Victims of Modern Slavery (PVoMS) by Border Force, following this up in 2018 with a re-inspection to check on progress made in implementing ICIBI’s recommendations.
Following discussions with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner about where a further inspection might add most value, between October 2019 and April 2020 ICIBI examined the work being done by Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and UK Visas and Immigration to identify, investigate, disrupt and prosecute the perpetrators of modern slavery and human trafficking (MSHT).
The inspection found that while operational activity overall had increased since the Modern Slavery Strategy was launched in 2014, the work of the Home Office’s three Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) operational directorates, and that of the wider Home Office, remained siloed and disjointed, with little evidence of a plan to address this.
Motion text: That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.
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.
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”.
8 December 2020: AVID: Today, we sent a letter to the Immigration Minister and Shadow Home Secretary highlighting the risks of housing vulnerable asylum-seekers in crowded barracks where social distancing is impossible, and urging them to implement community-based alternatives, to avoid further harm. Our letters were co-signed by more than 60 community organisations working with people in detention or seeking asylum.
‘Given the significant backlog in processing asylum applications, made worse during the current pandemic, it is time to consider alternatives. The government has talked about a reset moment for migration. Now is the time, but this can only be done by involving and engaging with civil society and people with experience of the system.’
This week Immigration Rule changes targeting rough sleeping migrants came into force. The Home Office has confirmed that the new Rules will not be enforced until official guidance is published, but the changes have been met with defiance across the board.
In particular, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has stated that it will not cooperate with the Home Office on this issue:
Catherine Henderson argues that how we talk and write about migrants determines how we and others think about them and their place in our society. Welcoming migrants as ‘arrivers’ matters as much as recognising the reasons they had to leave other countries.
A few weeks ago a series of leaks from the Home Office conjured up a dystopian world where people seeking asylum in the UK might be kept on old ferries or oil rigs or sent to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The boats in which they attempt to cross the Channel might be pushed back to France by wave machines or trapped in giant nets.
More under-18s seeking asylum likely to be affected by ruling against Hillingdon council
The high court has ruled that unaccompanied child migrants cannot be placed in adult hotel accommodation after three young asylum seekers won the right to be placed in the care of social services in the first case of its kind.
Little Amal, a young refugee, embarks on a remarkable journey – an epic voyage that will take her across Turkey, across Europe. To find her mother. To get back to school. To start a new life. Will the world let her? Can she achieve what now seems more impossible than ever?