The Labour MP for South Shields will resign his seat to become president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee in New York
David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, will resign as an MP to become head of the US-based refugee charity the International Rescue Committee.
Read full post here
Source: Third Sector
Message received via Leicester City of Sanctuary
My name is Sethu. I am a mum and a refugee. I was eight months pregnant when the UK Border Agency forced me to leave behind everything that was dear to me, to live in a town where I knew no one. My world fell apart.
I am writing to you today, on Mothering Sunday, to ask you to take action so that no woman who is expecting a baby suffers like I did.
I am from Zimbabwe but Leeds has been my home for over 10 years now. It was here that I met the father of my baby, where I made friends who became like sisters to me, and where I found support from organisations like the Refugee Council and the National Childbirth Trust.
I was living with a friend, waiting for a decision on my asylum claim when I fell pregnant. My friend couldn’t support me and a baby so I applied for UKBA accommodation. But I couldn’t believe it when they said that I would have to leave all I know, heavily pregnant. I had to choose between living on the streets in Leeds or having a roof over my head in a town where I knew no one. I didn’t go without a fight though – even my NCT antenatal teacher and the specialist consultant who was supporting me wrote to the UKBA to tell them it would be dangerous to move me. They didn’t listen. At eight months pregnant, I travelled alone to start my new life.
But giving birth on your own is not a good thing. When my labour started, I got a train back to Leeds so I could be with the father of my baby and the midwife that I trusted, in the hospital where I felt safe. There were complications during the birth and a week later I was still there. The doctors wanted me to stay longer but my housing support officer kept phoning me and telling me I had to return. I was scared I was going to get in trouble with the Home Office so I left the hospital, against my doctor’s advice, and went back to my UKBA accommodation. That night I got really sick and ended up calling 999. I was rushed into my local hospital with a serious infection. Because I hadn’t given birth in this hospital, they said they couldn’t provide a bed for my baby. For two weeks I could only see my baby daughter during visiting hours.
Six months later UKBA granted me my papers and I returned home, to Leeds. But I will never forgive UKBA – they robbed me of everything – my friends, my family, everything I know – at a crucial time in my life. They robbed me of the first two weeks of my baby’s life.
Please help me and the Refugee Council win this campaign. Please join us in telling the government that all women deserve dignity in pregnancy today.
Women seeking asylum have high risk pregnancies and need quality care and sometimes specialist services during pregnancy to ensure that they and their babies are safe and healthy. But UKBA makes this impossible by moving pregnant women like Sethu to housing across the country, often many times.
(IRIN) – An increasing caseload of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is stretching food and non-food resources in western Uganda, say humanitarian officials.
This report online: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportID=96491
Source: Free Movement
Following on from the earlier posts on the new(ish) changes to the Immigration Rules, this post looks at the situation for adult dependent relatives. It will surely come as no surprise that the new rules raise the bar substantially for those seeking entry under this heading.
The change most likely to affect all applications is the need to now demonstrate that an applicant requires a level of long-term personal care which they are unable to get in their home country, either due to cost or availability.
The Rules apply to all applications made on or after 9 July 2012 and replace the old Rule 317. They are as follows:
E-ECDR.2.1. The applicant must be the-
(a) parent aged 18 years or over; (b) grandparent; (c) brother or sister aged 18 years or over; or (d) son or daughter aged 18 years or over
of a person (“the sponsor”) who is in the UK.
E-ECDR.2.2. If the applicant is the sponsor’s parent or grandparent they must not be in a subsisting relationship with a partner unless that partner is also the sponsor’s parent or grandparent and is applying for entry clearance at the same time as the applicant.
E-ECDR.2.3. The sponsor must at the date of application be-
(a) aged 18 years or over; and (b) (i) a British Citizen in the UK; or
(ii) present and settled in the UK; or (iii) in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection.
E-ECDR.2.4. The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks.
E-ECDR.2.5. The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because-
(a) it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or (b) it is not affordable
The guidance in the IDIs define ‘personal care’ as requiring assistance with everyday tasks such as washing, cooking or cleaning. The guidance at 2.2.1 also establishes that medical evidence is required in support of any application. This marks a clear departure from the old Rules, as very clearly set out within the new IDIs:
These new rules end the routine expectation of settlement in the UK for parents and grandparents aged 65 or over who are financially dependent on a relative here.
Under the old Rules, it was all about money for applicants over the age of 65. They only had to demonstrate that they were mainly or wholly financially dependent on their UK sponsor, with nobody else to turn to financially, and were able to be accommodated without recourse to public funds. UKBA guidance in Annex F to Chapter 8 of the IDIs back in March 2010 even went so far as to state that
Where the applicant is over the age of 65 detailed enquiries will not be necessary.
The later IDIs from August 2010 also recommended that caution be taken in refusing applications for those over 65 simply on maintenance and accommodation grounds. Not any more. Under the new Rules, no distinction is made with regard to age, and the test is much more stringent. Although the ‘exceptional compassionate circumstances’ test that previously needed to be satisfied in cases involving those under 65 has been removed, the change is nevertheless likely to severely restrict the number of successful applications across the board. Article 8 arguments can (and will) still be made for those who do not meet the rules, though.
What is interesting is that this category remains one of only two under the new FM heading which is exempt from the new minimum income threshold requirements for sponsors. Instead, E-ECDR3.1 requires that the applicant show that they will be adequately maintained, accommodated, and cared for without recourse to public funds. This disparity will no doubt prompt administrative challenge of the minimum income threshold in other categories, and rightly so.
But sadly it seems that for now, any elderly family member who is living independently and simply wants to come here in their twilight years to join their family, will have to wait until they can show that they are both no longer physically capable of looking after themselves and unable to access care in their own country. Uncles and aunts are now excluded entirely, regardless of their circumstances, and it seems supergrans are no longer welcome in the UK.
(IRIN) – Ahmed Hurani* sits distraught in a dusty tent in Jordan’s Al Zaatari refugee camp, just a few kilometres from the Syrian border, after learning that his father and two brothers have been arrested by Syrian security forces. His injured mother is in Dera’a. For all he knows, she has been taken too.
This report online: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportID=96376
A TEENAGE ref-ugee who hopes to enter the world of politics is on track to fulfil his ambition.
Gulwali Passarlay, aged 17, who fled from war-torn Afghanistan to safety in the UK, has been chosen to be part of the National Scrutiny Group (NSG), a body made up of young people who work with government departments and ministers.
Source: The Bolton News
He was born in Mogadishu and came here as a child, able to do so because his Somali-born father was already a resident. He came to escape from the mounting problems in Somalia, arriving via Djibouti, but like some other Somalis already had the family connections that enabled him to enter Britain.
Source: Migrants Rights Network
On Human Rights Day, the Refugee Council is launching a short film commemorating the people the charity has protected and supported over the last 60 years.
The film, “60 years of refugee protection”, features the testimonies and views of refugees who fled conflicts around the world and rebuilt their lives in the UK, in each decade since 1951 – the year the charity came together to offer support and advice to refugees. With British actress Zoe Wanamaker’s voiceover, the film features a refugee from each decade from Hungary, Kenya, Chile, Ghana, Kosovo and Liberia.
The film is the culmination of the Refugee Council’s 60th anniversary celebrations in 2011, as well as the 60th year of the UN Convention for Refugees.
You can watch the film here.
On behalf of refugees thank you for your support.
If you haven’t already donated to the Colin Firth appeal, you can give a gift here.
A Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People has been set up to fund strategic litigation on the issue of… I think you can guess from the title. It is funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and managed by MigrationWork. An expert panel has been set up (disclosure: somehow, I’m on it) to assess applications on a monthly basis. Applications for funding are now open and welcomed.
A description of the purpose of the fund is best lifted from the website:
The SLF supports strategic legal work: work which goes beyond securing justice for an individual to make a significant contribution to law, practice and procedures that upholds and promotes the rights of refugee and asylum seeking children and young people (up to the age of 21)…
The SLF will test a new model for supporting legal work in the UK by providing flexible and responsive funding. It will distribute up to £300,000 to eligible providers of specialist level legal services to undertake a non-profit making piece of work which does not qualify for public funding. Initially, cases in areas of law relevant to refugee children, including asylum, immigration, human rights, community care, housing, education, discrimination and health, may be supported. See How to apply for more details.
Strategic litigation in the field of immigration and asylum is all but dead in the water after the demise of RMJ and IAS so this looks like a very interesting experiment. All involved know that the fund cannot repair the damage done to children’s cases by cuts to legal aid, but the idea of trying to use a relatively small amount of money to bring about structural change is an interesting one.
Do you know any refugees who came to the UK in the 1960’s?
The Refugee Council is looking for someone who may be willing to take part in a short film we are making for our 60th Anniversary year and to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UN Convention for Refugees. We are looking for someone who came here as a refugee in the 1960’s and settled here.
In practical terms it will involve a couple of hours of a person’s time at a location convenient to them.
It would involve talking about the person’s experience of coming to the UK, and how the person was able to rebuild their life here thanks to the UN Convention for Refugees. The actual camera time will be very short because this is only a short film.
The main aim of our film is to highlight the lives saved by the UN Convention over the last 60 years and in the future, as well as to highlight the work of the Refugee Council. We plan to raise awareness’ and to help us build support for the important work we do.
Please email us as soon as possible if you can help!