On 30th June there was a repeat of an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on support and accommodation for Asylum Seekers during Covid-19. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing onsupporting vulnerable people with wrap around care.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, vulnerability assessments are so important. There are questions about when they happen and the need for them to be ongoing and serious. There is also a question about how. Is the Minister satisfied that the vulnerability assessments are sufficiently tuned to the experiences and needs of asylum seekers in their extremity, and take into consideration the whole person and the impact of the ongoing experience of lockdown?
On 30th June the Rt Revd ChristopherChessun, Bishop of Southwark, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark:HL5625 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of oversight of sanctions, including denial of employment, health services, benefits and housing, to Commonwealth Citizens who do not have correct documentation but who have (1) right of abode or (2) right to remain in the UK.
On 25th June the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, received a written answer to a question on child refugees in Greece.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL5618 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conditions for child refugees in Greece; what humanitarian and medical aid they have provided to those refugees; and what plans they have, if any, to allow them to come to the UK.
On 24th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark received a written answer to two questions to Government on the handling of cases of Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation .
Lord Bishop of Southwark:
(i) HL5624 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) gaps in national insurance records where the fault does not lie with the individual, and (2) whether Home Office caseworkers should be able to use discretion when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens, including those with right of abode, who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
(ii) HL5623 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice and training they have given to Home Office caseworkers about (1) the right of abode in the UK, and (2) the level of discretion that caseworkers can use when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
On 15th June 2020 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent any increase in child poverty”. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a follow up question focusing on those who have ‘no recourse to public funds‘ attached to their immigration status.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, children in families with no recourse to public funds are at increased risk of facing poverty due to the pandemic. The increases the Government have announced do not offer support to the thousands of children whose parents have “no recourse to public funds” attached to their immigration status, making them extremely vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider lifting the NRPF condition to protect children from poverty?
On 9th June the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on immigrants displaying Covid-19 symptoms.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: HL4966 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many residents of immigration removal centres (1) have displayed, or (2) are currently displaying, symptoms of COVID-19; and of those, how many have been tested.
On 20th May 2020 the Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, received a written answer to a question on NHS migrant workers.
The Lord Bishop of London: HL4423 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any (1) NHS employee, and (2) agency worker engaged by the NHS, during the COVID-19 pandemic who is currently on (a) a Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa, or (b) a family visa, have the right to remain in the UK.
On 12th May the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Boswell of Aynho “That the Virtual Proceedings do consider the Report from the European Union Committee Beyond Brexit: How to Win Friends and Influence People”. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, spoke in the debate, and highlighted concerns about how the Dublin Regulation will impact refugee children after Brexit.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, we must consider this report in light of the global pandemic. Decisions about our future relationship with the EU must be informed by Covid-19, recognising our international interdependence rather than being driven by ideology. Our European neighbours remain our friends and allies. This must continue for the sake of all, and especially for vulnerable children. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham raises treatment of refugee and migrant children after Brexit”
On 6th May 2020 the Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion that the Lords “do consider the case for increasing income equality and sustainability in the light of the recent health emergency.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, also spoke in the debate, highlighting the position of those with no recourse to public funds:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, first, I thank the most reverend Primate for tabling this debate today, as well as for a lifetime’s work of battling inequality. May we continue to benefit from his wisdom and prophetic voice. I also look forward to hearing the maiden speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby.
I wish to highlight the issue of those particularly at risk because they do not have the right to access public funds. Migrants are more likely to be self-employed, in temporary work, or working in industries which have been especially badly hit. They are less likely to own their own homes, risking homelessness if they lose their income. Concerns have been raised that migrants may be compelled to continue working even if they become ill as to stop would be to risk destitution, which puts their and others’ health at risk. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury raises economic insecurity of migrants without access to public funds”