On 22nd July the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill was debated at Sec0nd Reading in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, and the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in the debate, highlighting modern slavery, work eligibility, EU citizens, visas for ministers of religion, tariffs, and children’s welfare.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the introduction of this Bill in another place is a signal opportunity for Her Majesty’s Government comprehensively to reset the legislative basis for immigration control in this country, to set out a vision for doing so, and to rationalise and streamline the more than 1,000 pages of immigration legislation under which we labour. It is surprising, therefore, that, as other speakers have pointed out, this Bill is so narrow in scope. Continue reading “Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill”
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 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 28th October 2019 Lord Bethell repeated a Government Statement about the tragic deaths of 39 migrants in Essex. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:
Lord Bishop of Durham: While I understand that the Minister does not wish to speculate, it is possible that there are people already in this country who may have been illegally trafficked here and will know the identity of those people when it emerges. In order to fully understand the depths of the depravity that leads to this kind of evil, will consideration be given to offering immunity to those who are here illegally at present who can offer good, solid evidence that will help us to understand and bring people to justice? Will immunity be considered for those who are already here, perhaps illegally?
Lord Bethell (Con): The Secretary of State has spoken in another place of her determination to track down the perpetrators of this crime. When asked a similar question, she communicated her determination to use whatever routes or opportunities she had, including the kind described, in order to achieve that objective.
On the 8th January 2019 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked a question of the government about migrants crossing the English channel. the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek asked a follow-up question about the right of family reunion and child migrants.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, children granted refugee status in the UK have no rights to family reunion. This sets the UK apart from all other European countries. What are the Government doing to ensure legal protection and mental health support for these children? Will they consider granting rights to family reunion?