Bishop of Durham asks about safe routes for people seeking asylum

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.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about safe routes for people seeking asylum”

Bishop of Durham asks about finances for those with no recourse to public funds

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 9th January 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 24 October (HL2407), what estimate they have made of the number of people with British children who have applied for a change to their asylum status from a status with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) over the last five years.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about finances for those with no recourse to public funds”

Bishop of St Albans urges better communication with local authorities when processing people in the asylum system

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question regarding lack of communication with local authorities regarding people seeking asylum on 14th December 2022, following a government statement on immigration and plans for the future of the asylum system:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, there are a number of aspects of this Statement which I welcome, not least that there are going to be increased numbers of people processing and that the aim is to process within weeks rather than months and get people through the system much more quickly. But there really has been quite a problem, not least at Manston, where at one stage 4,000 people were staying in a centre designed for 1,600. As they were being shipped out around the country, a whole lot were delivered into Luton, in my diocese, with no warning. Even the local authority was not able to help. So my question is: what lessons have been learned? Can we be sure that we are really communicating well with local authorities, so that we can work on this together, give people dignity and try and process them as quickly and effectively as we can?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans urges better communication with local authorities when processing people in the asylum system”

Bishop of Durham -need for ‘courageous, compassionate leadership, not hostility and defensiveness’ in asylum policies

The Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on 9th December 2022 led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the principles behind asylum and refugee policy.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Prashar. We are not often afforded the opportunity to look at asylum policy forensically and dispassionately, so I thank the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury for choosing this debate. I also congratulate those who have given their maiden speeches today, and note my registered interests as a trustee of Reset and a principal of RAMP.

I begin by laying out clear principles that come from how ancient Israel was called to treat refugees: to welcome people, to treat them with dignity as fellow humans, to provide support, and to enable self-support and integration. It is no secret that we are not doing the mechanics of “welcome” through asylum processing well. The applications backlog means we are unable to prioritise those in need or humanely return those not recognised as refugees. There were close to 140,000 unanswered applications in the system by the end of September, so men, women and children were left in limbo and unable to rebuild their lives. This is not treating people with dignity. Chronic underinvestment in both people and systems at the Home Office has caused this, but there are workable solutions, such as to recruit more caseworkers and set up a dedicated case clearance unit that effectively triages.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham -need for ‘courageous, compassionate leadership, not hostility and defensiveness’ in asylum policies”

Archbishop of York – asylum system does not give people dignity, safety and agency their humanity deserves

On 9th December 2022 the Archbishop of York spoke in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s debate on the principles behind UK asylum and immigration policy.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, despite my probably sensible and timely demotion on the speakers’ list*, I am nevertheless delighted to speak in this very moving debate and to thank my brother, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, for bringing it to us.

I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, for his kind words about our preaching earlier this year. I can assure him that on almost every other occasion when I rise to speak, although not on this occasion, it is to speak about the Christian gospel, whose values underpin everything I am about to say. I was also very moved by the noble Lord, Lord Singh, who quoted the Jewish and Christian scriptures to us. That is such a powerful sign of the generous spirit of the Sikh faith, which we can all learn so much from. I am also grateful for the three powerful maiden speeches that we have heard today

I want to emphasise a small but significant point. Getting this right, and doing the right thing, is a blessing for everyone in our society and the best way of shifting the opinion of the public, whose anxiety about this issue is fuelled by the dysfunction of our current system. The hard truth is that our asylum system simply does not treat everyone the same. It does not give people the dignity, safety and agency that their humanity deserves. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Lilley, that everyone is our neighbour. Of course, we cannot take everybody, but that makes it even more important that we have a fair system for everyone.

Continue reading “Archbishop of York – asylum system does not give people dignity, safety and agency their humanity deserves”

Bishop of Leicester makes maiden speech in debate on asylum, refugees and integration

On 9th December 2022 the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Martyn Snow, made his first speech in the House of Lords, during the Archbishop of Canterbury’s debate on the principles behind UK asylum and refugee policy.

The Lord Bishop of Leicester (Maiden Speech): My Lords, it is a privilege to make my maiden speech in this most important debate. I am grateful to my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury for putting forward this Motion. I am grateful also to noble Lords for their welcome today. I look forward to learning from, and working with, them in service of His Majesty’s Government and our great nation. As one of my relatives was the first ever manager of the English football team, I echo the noble Lord, Lord Sahota, in his hope that his and my elevation may lead to success as in 1966.

As Bishop of Leicester, I have the honour of serving a city which has been made by migration, including those seeking asylum. Among them were Asian refugees expelled from Uganda 50 years ago and Somalian refugees fleeing the civil war in the 1990s. Socially, culturally and economically, Leicester has benefited phenomenally from the talents, hard work and rich heritage of migrant communities.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester makes maiden speech in debate on asylum, refugees and integration”

Bishop of Chelmsford – good housing solutions required for good refugee integration

On 9th December 2022 the Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in a debate led by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the principles behind UK asylum and refugee policy.

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Twycross, for her gracious maiden speech and for mentioning the role of churches in local resilience forums. I look forward to hearing the two maiden speeches to come. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester and I were formerly colleagues when I was Bishop of Loughborough, and I look forward to working with him in this House.

I thank my right reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury for securing this timely and important debate. This past year alone, we have seen multiple developments of concern, with an increase in forced migration due to conflict around the globe and over a third of Ukraine’s population displaced by war, with millions seeking refuge beyond their borders. A record 40,000-plus people have made the precarious English Channel crossing. We have also seen deeply troubling conditions faced by people once they are in the UK: overcrowded processing centres, threats of deportation to Rwanda, and a lack of resettlement through the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford – good housing solutions required for good refugee integration”

Bishop of Southwark asks about delayed resolutions to asylum applications

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.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about delayed resolutions to asylum applications”

Bishop of Durham asks about detention and accommodation of migrants

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 9th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government whether they have adopted the recommendation in the report by Stephen Shaw Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons (Cm 9186), published in January 2016, to reduce the use of detention for immigration purposes and to explore alternatives.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about detention and accommodation of migrants”

Bishop of Durham asks about asylum claims by children and families

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 24th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government when they will publish the next version of the Processing children’s asylum claims guidance.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): The Processing children’s asylum claims guidance is under review.

The current version of the guidance does not yet reflect changes under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, where those came into force on 28 June 2022. Other guidance reflecting those changes made under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, which are relevant to children’s asylum cases, are available on GOV.UK.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about asylum claims by children and families”
%d bloggers like this: