Thomas McGee, PhD researcher at Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness (Melbourne Law School) and the MENA Statelessness Network (Hawiati)
This blog post introduces new research, conducted as part of the #StatelessJourneys project, into the challenges faced by stateless claimants within asylum procedures in the UK context. The study focuses on the experiences of stateless Kurds from Syria in the UK, revealing hurdles related to civil documentation, cultural understanding, and language analysis. These findings emphasize the need for more statelessness-sensitive procedures and policy changes, both in the UK and within other countries of asylum across Europe.
Continue reading “Mapping Statelessness”
22 August 2023: Institute for Public Policy Research – IPPR report: The asylum in-tray in 2025
With a general election expected in the next 12-18 months, the UK’s asylum system is in crisis.
The backlog is at over 130,000 cases, the system is costing around £3.6 billion a year in asylum support costs, and the Home Office is gripped by institutional challenges. At the same time, the number of people arriving in small boats has escalated rapidly from the hundreds to the tens of thousands in the past five years.
The prime minister has pledged to ‘stop the boats’ as one of his five priorities for government. Central to the government’s plan is its flagship Illegal Migration Act – which will place a duty on the home secretary to remove irregular arrivals and not consider their asylum claims – as well as the agreement to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda.
This briefing sets out the in-tray for the UK government in 2025 – after the next general election – across the main parts of the asylum system.
Continue reading “IPPR: The asylum in-tray in 2025”
As many asylum seekers say they have been placed in unsuitable properties littered with tripping hazards, an expert blamed the system which she says ‘creates a hostile environment’
Alimony Bangura, a disabled asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, is living in Manchester (
Disabled asylum seekers who fled war zones for the safety of Britain say they have been left as prisoners in their own homes.
Many claim they have been placed in unsuitable properties that are littered with tripping hazards and have broken lifts.
One disabled man told how he fell while trying to reach his upstairs bathroom.
And a blind refugee said he could only go out once a week with the aid of carers.
Their misery continues despite a 2020 court case which found the Government failed to provide disabled-friendly digs.
Campaigners say they have warned Home Secretary Suella Braverman of a string of cases across the country.
Worryingly, there is no official record of how many asylum seekers are disabled.
Continue reading “Further Housing issues”
As the government pushes ahead with ever more draconian punishment for people fleeing war, tyranny and persecution, many of us feel compelled to act. While there are countless incredible people working at a grassroots level to support refugees and people seeking asylum, it’s also a field ripe for exploitation. Donating your hard-earned cash to certain migrant charities might not reach the people you’d hoped to help. Even more concerning, your donations might actually enforce the government’s hostile environment policies.
This article looking at the charity Migrant Help, is the first in a series of reports examining the corporate interests behind organisations working with refugees and people seeking asylum. We interviewed people working with refugees who had frequent contact with the organisation. We found that:
Continue reading “MIGRANT ‘NO’ HELP: THE HOME OFFICE’S CHARITY GATEKEEPER”
Note: At a time when the Home Secretary, Priti Patel has been stalling to publish a report by the Government’s own ICIBI David Neal, she had sought an ‘independent review’ that would fully support the intensification of this hostile environment.
Alexander Downing’s report is here – note the language he uses, and his recommendations that will intensify the hostile environment, for example:
10.3 Third country processing should be fully implemented People that have entered the UK should be moved to a third country rapidly for assessment under the UN Convention and other relevant legislation. The rapid movement of people that have entered the UK illegally to a third country reduces the risk of the removal process being frustrated. The eligibility for removal should embrace all cohorts of people who enter the UK illegally.
The lessons from Australia’s experience on this issue suggest that the pace with which people are moved, along with avoiding a running commentary on numbers, is useful in achieving success. The discussion of numbers at various stages of operational implementation will potentially look like the odds are still in favour of attempting dangerous, illegal migration journeys and the deterrent effect is lost.
Continue reading “‘Independent’ review of Border Force”
15 June 2022: Home Affairs Committee Oral evidence: Migration and asylum, HC 197 on 8 June 2022. The witness is David Neal, ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration:
Members present: Dame Diana Johnson (Chair); Ms Diane Abbott; Paula Barker; Tim Loughton; Stuart C McDonald; Matt Vickers
Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/10372/html/
Watch the meeting
This interview raises many interesting issues about the relationship between ICIBI, Priti Patel and Home Office Ministers; about David Neal’s use of his role; and about the limitations of the system in keeping the system to account.
Continue reading “Home Affairs Committee interviews David Neal, ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration”
This report from ICIBI links well to the report of 24 November 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins – see that and other information about the Brook House Inquiry below
21 October 2021: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – ICIBI Report Published: Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ July 2020 to March 2021
This inspection found that work to address shortcomings in the Home Office’s policy and procedures for identifying and safeguarding vulnerable detainees was moving at an unacceptably slow pace. Though seven of the eight recommendations made in ICIBI’s first annual inspection were accepted in full or in part, none of these had been closed by January 2021.
Continue reading “ICIBI: Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’”
23 November 2021: Guardian: ‘Performative cruelty’: UK treatment of refugees worst ever, says charity
Kent Refugee Action Network says young people arriving on south coast are a benefit, not a problem
On a windswept, bitingly cold day in Folkestone a discreet green portable building is a beacon of welcome on a stretch of the south coast patrolled by Border Force boats and self-proclaimed migrant hunters on the far right.
Inside its cheerfully decorated walls are workers from Kent Refugee Action Network. The organisation has supported young asylum seekers who arrive on the south coast for more than two decades.
Despite the plummeting temperatures and supposedly enhanced border patrols along the French coast, people continue to head for Kent’s shores in unseaworthy small boats.
Continue reading “Young People”
18 June 2021: UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement
Congolese asylum-seekers await health screening in Zombo, near the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 2020. © UNHCR/Rocco Nuri
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.
Continue reading “UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement”
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.
The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.
“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”
“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
Girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.
“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.
The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures – such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.
While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.
27 May 2021: Compas: Forced worklessness and fatherhood by Candice Morgan-Glendinning & Melanie Griffiths
Research being launched on 8 June: Political and media discourses around immigration tend to make a sharp distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants. Some people are more welcome than others, including on the basis of factors such as income level, savings, education, employment status and area of work. Foreign nationals with low incomes, who are out of work or deemed ‘low skilled’, tend to be portrayed as abusing the system, undercutting British workers and as a burden on the taxpayer.
Less known, are the many ways in which the immigration system itself forces unemployment upon people (whilst simultaneously draining people of savings through the huge sums required for immigration applications and appeals). Many migrants, including people claiming asylum or subject to Deportation Orders, rarely have the right to work or access public funds. The few asylum seekers who do get the right to work are only eligible to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which are graduate level or above and include civil engineers, archaeologists and chemical scientists. And those who do receive any financial support, only get a fraction of mainstream benefits.
Continue reading “Forced worklessness and fatherhood”