Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to resume refugee resettlement programme

On 5th October 2020 Lord Foulkes of Cumnock asked the Government “whether they are planning (1) to establish asylum processing centres in British Overseas Territories, and (2) to house those who are seeking asylum on disused ferries; and, if so, how any such plans would comply with international obligations.” The Bishop of Southwark asked a further question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, talk of Her Majesty’s Government possibly acquiring timeshares in property on the isle of Elba or anywhere else aside, it is worth noting that the Home Secretary yesterday stressed the importance of “safe and legal routes” to asylum in the United Kingdom. I was grateful to hear that. Since the Government have now determined that it is safe and appropriate to resume deportation flights from the UK, will the Minister confirm that they have decided to resume immediately the refugee settlement programme they suspended in March? If not, will she inform the House of the difference in criteria for holiday and deportation flights and for those seeking sanctuary in this country? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to resume refugee resettlement programme”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government to restart vulnerable persons resettlement scheme

On 28th September 2020 Members of the House of Lords questioned Government on steps being taken to reform the asylum system. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow question:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, the Minister will know the importance for those in need of asylum of safe and legal routes to the UK directly, rather than undertaking hazardous journeys on land and sea. The UK’s vulnerable persons resettlement scheme was one such route and has been something of a success story. However, with the scheme still paused, I believe, due to Covid, what discussions have the Government had ​with local authorities, and perhaps with voluntary sector groups, about their capacity in the light of Covid to restart it and—dare I say it?—extend it? Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government to restart vulnerable persons resettlement scheme”

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children

On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler,  supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  •  Limiting the time a specified person can be detained for immigration purposes, and defining those purposes.
  • Family reunion for those seeking refugee status, and unaccompanied children

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of the Minister responding. The text of amendments 39, 40 and 48 supported by the Bishop are reproduced at the bottom. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on detention, refugee family reunion and unaccompanied children”

Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people

On 9th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its second day in Committee.

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, proposed and supported amendments to the Bill, on:

  • the right to work after six months for asylum claimants
  • ‘displaced talent visas’ for for skilled forcibly displaced people
  • reducing the cost of citizenship administration fees
  • assessing the impact of the Bill on religious people

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below, with extracts from the speeches of others in support and the Minister responding: Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendments on right to work, cost of citizenship, impact on religious people”

Bishop of Durham asks Government unaccompanied refugee children

On 5th June the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to two question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on refugee and asylum children.

800px-Official_portrait_of_The_Lord_Bishop_of_Durham_crop_2The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4110 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have put in place to ensure that children can continue to be transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4111 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications for the UK of successful transfers of separated children from Greece to other countries in Europe under the European Commission’s relocation scheme for transfers of unaccompanied children.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government unaccompanied refugee children”

Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding

Durham040219On the 5th November the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about EU-related immigration funding:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL92 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guarantee, if any, has been provided to charities and non-governmental organisations who currently receive funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund through the UK responsible authority rather than through direct bids to the European Commission. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding”

Bishop of London asks Government about no-deal risk to refugee funding

london170119On 8th October 2019 the Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union (Lord Callanan) repeated a Government statement about Brexit preparations. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. Will he confirm how many organisations are currently receiving funding for the asylum, migration and integration programmes via the responsible authority in the UK, and whether these will be placed at risk from a no-deal Brexit? Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about no-deal risk to refugee funding”

Bishop of Chichester raises concerns about the mental health of unaccompanied child refugees

Chichester190718bOn 25th June 2019 Lord Dubs asked the Government “how many unaccompanied child refugees have entered the United Kingdom since the beginning of 2016 under (1) section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 or (2) the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the recent report by the Church of England’s Children’s Society entitled DistressSignals, in which the mental health of unaccompanied children entering the UK for asylum was examined? The report notes that these children show a high risk of suicide and self-harm and find it extremely difficult to communicate their needs and fears to professionals. Does she recognise the value of these young people being assured and guaranteed access to a guardian—a respected, stable, safe and trained person—so that they can have the support they need?

Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester raises concerns about the mental health of unaccompanied child refugees”

Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what consultation takes place with religious communities to inform asylum decision making

On 9th April 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, received written answers to two questions about asylum decisions and consultation with religious communities:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester:

(i) (HL14943) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what processes they operate for monitoring and reviewing decisions on asylum claims.

(ii) (HL14942 ) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation they have undertaken with religious communities to inform decision-making processes for asylum claims.

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what consultation takes place with religious communities to inform asylum decision making”

Bishop of Peterborough asks Government about religious literacy training for Home Office immigration caseworkers

PeterboroughFeb2017bOn 3rd April 2019 the Minister for Equalities, Baroness Williams of Trafford, repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, about the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, responded with a follow up question about religious literacy in determining asylum applications:

Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, while grateful for the Statement and the compensation scheme, I have a particular concern to raise with the Minister. We have recently seen publicity about very poor decisions on immigration made in the Home Office, suggesting that decisions are being made by staff who are perhaps too junior or not adequately trained. Can we be assured that there will be enough staff working on this scheme who are of sufficient seniority and adequately trained?

Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough asks Government about religious literacy training for Home Office immigration caseworkers”