Asylum Update – 23 October 2008


UNHCR has published Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, covering the first half of 2008.

The Home Office has published its immigration statistics including asylum figures for the second quarter of 2008.

What Are They Doing Here? A Critical Guide to Asylum and Immigration by Peter Fell and Debrah Hayes (Venture 2007) is reviewed in Vol 8 No 4 of the Journal of Social Work.


Policy and law

The European Council comprised of EU heads of state and the president of the Commission has adopted the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. See EUObserver coverage.

The UK Border Agency has now awarded contracts for the Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES). The service is for over-18s with refugee status or humanitarian protection and started up on 1 October 2008.

See also the Refugee Council’s new Multilingual Leaflets for New Refugees on housing, welfare rights and training and employment. 

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has announced an independent inquiry into claims by asylum seekers that they were mistreated or abused by security and detention centre staff, following publication in July of the Outsourcing Abuse report. See also press coverage



Two new research reports into Chinese migration to Britain will be launched on 14 November at Middlesex University’s Hendon Campus. The reports are ‘Cityscapes of Diaspora: Images and Realities of London’s Chinatown’ and ‘The Changing Chinese Community in London’. Further information from Professor Rosemary Sales


Following a cabinet reshuffle, Phil Woolas has replaced Liam Byrne as Minister of State for borders and immigration.



A new interactive website developed by the Institute of Community Cohesion (ICoCo) and supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government, brings together practical advice and support for practitioners on how to promote cohesion and integration, based on good practice cases.

Radio 4 interviews with some of the young asylum seekers who contributed to the ‘New Londoners’ book of photographs.


Asylum Update – 15 October 2008


UNHCR has recently published a series of new evaluation reports on different aspects of their work, including returnee reintegration programmes in the Sudan and Angola, voluntary repatriation, and human trafficking.

State failure and extra-legal justice: vigilante groups, civil militias and the rule of law in West Africa is a new report in the UNHCR series New Issues in Refugee Research.

A new report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child entitled Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention looks at the situation of asylum seeking children in the UK in the context of international standards. See also UN summary and Institute of Race Relations commentary

The Refugee Council has published More Token Gestures – a research report on the experiences of asylum seekers who receive Section 4 voucher support.

Migrationwatch has published a Balanced Migration: A new approach to controlling immigration. The report places asylum and trends in asylum seeking numbers within the context of immigration as a whole.

The October issue of Forced Migration Review focuses on climate change and displacement. To coincide with this the ippr have released a full transcript of the conference held on the same topic in London in April 2008.

Policy and law

The Asylum Support Partnership presented its recent policy report Access to Legal Advice for Dispersed Asylum Seekers to the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum in September 2008. Forum members are expected to respond in November.

The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) has released a statement documenting its efforts to tighten border controls six months on from UKBA’s inception. Among the targets it is still pursuing it notes that it has “360 days to make and enforce 60 per cent of asylum decisions within six months, with alternatives to detention for children.”

A written statement on asylum seekers’ educational entitlements and sources of further guidance on the subject has been provided by David Lammy, the Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills in response to parliamentary questions.

The European Parliament has adopted an amendment to the European Refugee Fund which creates a “Solidarity Mechanism” allowing refugees to be transferred from EU member states facing severe migratory pressure to other member states. See October 10 ECRE weekly update for further details and background documents.

Asylum Update – 9th October 2008

Refugee Children: Towards the Next Horizon
Health and Social Care in the community
2008 16(5)
C, Watters and Dennis, J.

Unaccompanied refugee children and adolescents:
The glaring contrast between a legal and a psychological perspective
International Journal of Law and psychiatry
2008 31(4)
Derluyn, I and Broekaert, E.

The housing and neighbourhood impact of Britain's changing ethnic
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
October 2008
Perry, J.
Policy and Law
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has produced
a report that criticisesthe UK Government for failing to meet
international standards on the treatment of children.

Following a six-month Home Office review of the
general reservation on immigration and citizenship to the UN
Conventionon the Rights of the Child (CRC) the UK government
has announced that the reservation will be withdrawn. This means
that vulnerable children who are subject to immigration control will
now be entitled to the fundamental human rights set out in the

UKBA have published a consultation on proposed reforms to the
immigration appeals process.

Children's Service Network Conference
‘Are Asylum Seeking Children Safe in the UK?'
The conference is to be held on Tuesday 14th October in London.
It will examine the "tension between asylum legislation and policies
designed to support and protect vulnerable children", with speakers
from UKBA, IOM and other bodies.

The Home Office has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse
of asylum seekers during their detention and removal from the UK: 
Under the Freedom of Information Act the Home Office has released
information on: 'Deportation of asylum seekers failed due to
disruptive behaviour by the passenger'.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has published a Report on an
announced inspection of Tinsley House and Yarl's Wood Immigration
Removal Centre carried out in March 2008.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the Housing 
Associations'Charitable Trust (HACT) have launched the first housing 
rights website to be specifically aimed at answering housing rights 
queries for new migrants.

Asylum Update – 2nd October 2008


New journal article: Questions of inclusion and exclusion. Are there ways of achieving `real participation’ of users from refugee and asylum seeking groups in service development at an institutional and treatment level? by David Palmer and Cath Maffia in the Journal of Mental Health Education and Practice Vol 3 No 3. 

The European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has released Country reports 2007: Belarus, Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine on the situation for refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in those countries in 2007.

Last year the Asylum Support Partnership produced ‘The Destitution Tally’ – a report based on partners’ counts of destitute asylum seekers seen. This month the exercise will be repeated with the participation of more organisations including the Red Cross. Contact Kate Smart for details.

The latest statistical report (May 2008) on the Refugees into Teaching database is now available. This voluntary database seeks to get an accurate picture of the number of refugee teachers and their training needs.

Forced Migration Online has published two new guides for researchers: Researching Forced Migration: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources by Elisa Mason, and A Research Guide to Local Integration by Sarah Meyer.


Policy and law

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith announced at the Labour Party conference that the UK is to lift its reservation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The reservation restricts the rights of children who are subject to immigration control. See UNHCR press release and also Refugee Council conference season blog

On 21st August the UK Borders Agency published A strong new force at the border – a 3 year strategy paper which proposes ‘triple checks’ of stronger checks overseas, a new force operating the ‘frontline’, and tighter checks in the UK.

The Refugee Council has issued briefings on Permission to work for asylum seekers on the basis of European Directive 2003/9/EC) [September 2008] and the Draft (partial) Immigration and Citizenship Bill 2008

European Union Justice and Home Affairs ministers have agreed on the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum which was initiated by the French Presidency. The Pact seeks to harmonise different asylum practices in EU Member States and promote voluntary resettlement within the EU of UNHCR-protected persons.

Eurasylum has published its new monthly policy interview featuring Chris Hedges, Chair of the European Committee on Migration of the Council of Europe, on ‘Current trends in irregular migration to Europe’.

Under the Freedom of Information Act the Home Office has released information on Policy on the cancellation of refugee status and Home Office asylum policy towards Iraqi refugees

Asylum Update – 24th September 2008



Call for papers to be included in panel on ‘Is humanitarianism compatible with refugee rights?’ at the World Conference of Humanitarian Studies, February 2009, The Netherlands.

The Journal of Refugee Studies Vol 21 No 3 contains Back to Basics: The Conditions of Just Refugee Returns by Megan Bradley.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has published Access to Protection at Airports in Europe, a report on monitoring at 5 airports.

UNHCR has published an Evaluation of UNHCR’s returnee reintegration programme in Angola


Policy and law

The Council of Europe has presented the first of three memoranda on asylum and immigration in the UK. It is based on visits this year, and issues addressed include children, the detention of asylum seekers and forced returns. See also BBC coverage and the Welsh Children’s Commissioner on the treatment of asylum seekers’ children.

The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) has published a new policy paper entitled ‘The French Presidency’s European Pact on Immigration and Asylum: Intergovernmentalism vs Europeanisation? Security vs Rights?’

The Report on UNHCR’s Annual Consultations with Non-Govermental Organisations is now out. The consultations included a session on Europe which addressed the Common European Asylum System.



A conference will be held to evaluate Refugee Week 2008 and make specific recommendations for Refugee Week 2009. It takes place at Amnesty International in London on Friday 21 November 2008.

Asylum Update – 17th September 2008


Amnesty International has published Scotland’s Slaves: An Amnesty International briefing on trafficking in Scotland

Soldiers, Migrants and Citizens – the Nepalese in Britain is a new report by Jessica Mai Sims in the Runnymede Community Studies series.

Beyond the 21st Century Hadrian’s Wall: the Externalisation of Immigration and Border Control Policy by the European Union by Frigo, M; and Clandestine Immigration across the Strait of Gibraltar: Effects of Control Mechanisms on Immigration from North Africa by Mesa, J.R. appear in Vol 11 No 2 of the Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights

The quality of Somali translations of public service information used by refugees in Manchester is deficient, according to an ongoing study sponsored by the Millennium Commission and Manchester Metropolitan University.


Policy and law

On 8 and 9 September, the French EU Presidency hosted a ministerial conference entitled “Building a Europe of Asylum” in Paris, in order to prepare the second phase of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and host an exchange between the EU Institutions, Member States, UNHCR and civil society on the issue. See also UNHCR statement to EU ministers.

A legal challenge on behalf of Iraqis who worked for the British military who do not currently qualify to be resettled in Britain has been dismissed. The challenge sought a judicial review on the basis that the government’s duty of care to its staff was not being met.

The Refugee Council has published a new briefing on the Draft (partial) Immigration and Citizenship Bill 2008 [September 2008]

An 8-year-old Iranian boy held at Yarl’s Wood removal centre since 15 July has been released after solicitors began High Court proceedings against the Home Office, challenging the legality of his detention. See also: families’ ‘alternative to detention’ centre to shut and centre for returning Afghan minors to open


‘Are Asylum Seeking Children Safe in the UK?’ is a conference to be held on Tuesday 14 October in London and hosted by the Children’s Service Network. It will examine the ‘tension between asylum legislation and policies designed to support and protect vulnerable children’, with speakers from UKBA, IOM and other bodies..

The Institute of Race Relations will be holding a conference to mark its 50th anniversary on Saturday 1 November in London, with Lee Bridges, Victoria Brittain, David Edgar, Liz Fekete, Arun Kundnani, Herman Ouseley, Colin Prescod, A. Sivanandan and Salma Yaqoob.


The Refugees into Teaching project has issued reports of two conferences held in June: its annual national conference and a special conference on retraining and reemploying refugee teachers.

Asylum Update – September 12th 2008


A summary has been published on research by the Institute of Education into the emotional wellbeing and mental health of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in the UK.

Policy and law

The European Parliament has adopted a report critiquing the Dublin system and will propose amendments to the Dublin Regulation later this year.


The Electronic Immigration Network is holding a conference on Immigration and asylum law on 25 September 2008. Email for more information.

On Tuesday 14 October 2008 in The British Library the International Library and Information Group will host a half day seminar on Information Services for Migrants and Refugees. Email for more information.


United Nations Committee on the ‘Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’ (CEDAW) has criticised the United Kingdom for its treatment of immigrant women and women asylum-seekers and has observed that they may be subject to multiple forms of discrimination. A report was published by the Committee on 29 August.

The New Statesman has launched a campaign against the detention of children for immigration reasons.

According to Home Office figures, incidences of self-harm in immigration detention centres rose 73 per cent in the first six months of this year.


The Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust and the Chartered Institute of Housing have launched the first housing rights website to be specifically aimed at answering housing rights queries for new migrants.