The Bishop of Durham asked a question on the backlog of asylum claims on 21st February 2023, during a debate on the practice of accomodating asylum seekers in hotels:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, slightly contrary to what the Minister said earlier, surely one of the main reasons hotels are being filled is because accommodation is being blocked, in a sense, because so many applications have not been processed in due time. Could the Minister update us on the reduction in the numbers awaiting their claims being dealt with, as was promised in January? Have they been reduced, and by what number?
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 21st Febrary 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on the asylum application waiting list of the requirement to reassess refugees with Group 2 status every 30 months.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The Home Office will publish further details in due course on the process for Group 2 refugees applying for further temporary refugee permission to stay after 30-months.
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 2oth February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what is the average wait before an individual is returned following acceptance of a voluntary deportation from the UK.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The average processing time of voluntary return applications is not routinely captured. To capture numbers would require a manual trawl of data and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.
On 6th February 2023, the Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on the Government’s use of a Memorandum of Understanding rather than a treaty as the vehicle for the agreement with Rwanda on the transfer of asylum seekers, highlighting the stance of the House of Bishops against the policy and the government’s responsibility towards children and the vulnerable:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: I declare my interest in RAMP as laid out in the register. The Lords Spiritual as a whole chose to speak out against the transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda. We did not do this lightly, knowing the privileged role we hold in the life of our nation, but the memorandum of understanding brings into question fundamental issues about individual rights, our commitment to international law and our moral standing as a nation. It is because of these deep and important questions that I believe the use of an MoU was highly inappropriate.
On 24th January 2023, the Bishop of Durham asked a question on what forecast the government have made on numbers of people seeking asylum in the UK via safe routes in 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask His Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the number of people from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, and Sudan who will travel to the United Kingdom via a safe route in order to seek asylum in 2023.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The United Kingdom welcomes vulnerable people in need of protection through our relocation and resettlement schemes. The number of people coming to the UK via safe and legal routes depends on many factors, including local authorities’ capacity to support them and the extent to which community sponsorship continues to thrive. There is no explicit provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel here to seek asylum or temporary refuge.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question on appointing advocates for unaccompanied asylum seeking children on 23rd January 2023, following a debate on safeguarding these children in hotels and other government-provided accommodation:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the Minister for the care with which he is responding today; it is appreciated. Can he say how well qualified the social workers and others are to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, because there are particular issues around them? Would it not be better if we had a system of placing an advocate for each child, who could help them through the system, as soon as they arrive?
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question concerning safe and legal routes for people seeking asylum in the UK, during a debate on the government’s migration policy and partnership with Rwanda on 20th December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in the recent Statements, and in the Prime Minister’s comment piece in the Telegraph, there was a stated commitment to create more safe and legal routes, but no information was given on the timeline or the proposed numbers, and there was no indication of the sorts vulnerabilities that have been identified. The Rwanda partnership is one among many deterrence policies, but the worry is that, in the absence of safe routes, it seems very unlikely that that will be sufficient. When will the Government bring forward plans and proposals for these additional safe and legal routes?
On 9th December 2022 the Archbishop of Canterbury led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion:
That this House takes note of the principles behind contemporary United Kingdom asylum and refugee policy, and of the response to the challenges of forced migration.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am very grateful to the usual channels for facilitating this debate, to those among the staff of the House who have had to work extra hard to come in today, and to so many noble Lords for being present. I look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the right reverent Prelate the Bishop of Leicester, the noble Lord, Lord Sahota, and the noble Baroness, Lady Twycross, on this subject.
The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 1st December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government, following the publication of figures by the Refugee Council on 14 October, how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years; and what factors have led to delays of that length.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The Home Office is unable to state how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years because the Home Office does not publish this information.
You must be logged in to post a comment.