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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Centre for Social Justice: help failed asylum seekers


    by Rumbold on 15th December, 2008 at 10:22 am    

    A think tank founded by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) has called for failed asylum seekers to be allowed to work, or else to receive state support. Not aiding failed asylum seekers means that many are forced to work in the black market, sometimes as prostitutes, while discouraging them from seeking state help. As Iain Duncan Smith said:

    “The British government is using forced destitution as a means of encouraging people to leave voluntarily. It is a failed policy. UK policy is still driven by the thesis, clearly falsified, that we can encourage people to leave by being nasty. The result is that we rely heavily on forcible return, which is both very costly and time-consuming, and engages only a small proportion of those whose claims are refused. This system gives refused asylum seekers good reason to abscond and little reason to engage with officialdom.”

    Having not read the whole report, I don’t know whether I agree with it all. However, the information available so far is encouraging, as it shows a desire to help failed asylum seekers return home voluntarily, rather than get sucked into a nightmarish illegal world here and then be forcibly deported anyway. Yes, the main purpose of the report is to save time and money for the state; but that is not necessarily injurious to the welfare of failed asylum seekers, especially as the report wants them to be able to earn money legally even after their application has failed.

    Moreover, the report comes from a think tank usually associated with the right of the Conservative party, and has the backing of another influential rightist, namely Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home (admittedly he did work for IDS previously). So even if the proposals turn out to be far from perfect, at least some sections of the Tory party seem to be softening their stance on dealing with failed asylum seekers.



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    17 Comments below   |  

    1. sonia — on 15th December, 2008 at 12:27 pm  

      well that makes sense of course. seeing as they are here anyway the obvious solution is to allow them to work, pay taxes and not be a burden to the state.

      i daresay of course there will be the usual ah but they are taking “our” jobs away and all that malarkey. also claims that people might use this to avoid the work permit system etc.

    2. MaidMarian — on 15th December, 2008 at 12:37 pm  

      Sonia (1) - ‘i daresay of course there will be the usual ah but they are taking “our” jobs away and all that malarkey. also claims that people might use this to avoid the work permit system etc.’

      Those concerns are not illigitimate! The sentiment may be, but on the face of it this report seems to skate a bit close to a reward for illegality.

      I think that the point the report is getting at is that detention is an overly expensive way of doing this.

      I’m sure that is true, but I am rather struggling to see quite how the labour market provides the answer.

    3. Roger — on 15th December, 2008 at 12:41 pm  

      Well, if people regard destitution in the U.K. as less bad than their native countries they’ve got pretty good cause to claim asylum.
      What happened to the term refugees?

    4. MaidMarian — on 15th December, 2008 at 12:54 pm  

      Roger (3) -

      ‘Well, if people regard destitution in the U.K. as less bad than their native countries they’ve got pretty good cause to claim asylum.’

      How do you work that out? Asylum is about (usually) political persecution, not economic migration regardless of the conditions to be faced in the country of destination.

      ‘What happened to the term refugees?’

      It is still used - asylum seekers are seeking. Refugees are those granted refuge.

    5. sonia — on 15th December, 2008 at 12:56 pm  

      good point from maidmarian. yes i wasn’t suggesting those concerns were illegitimate..I’m fully aware of the complexities. especially because if you want to have reform in this area, of course it will bring into question the wider immigration methods. and ultimately the complexity is that if you haven’t got an open system of some kind, whereby people can come forward and say honestly ok look i want to come here because i want to work and make money and i can’t do that elsewhere as easily, then naturally there will be concerns that sme will claim asylum falsely to use whatever other system they can to get work. so that’s the tricky bit. if people could feel they could be honest and get somewhere, then we’d know the people claiming asylum were in genuine fear for their lives from political situations.

    6. sonia — on 15th December, 2008 at 1:03 pm  

      of course the issue is that on a ‘human rights’ basis, states are effectively bound to provide asylum, but are not bound in the same way to open up to more ‘general’ immigration. a nation-state can say sorry, we are here for the benefit of our citizens and we can’t help the rest of you. of course the difficulty again is in a world of so much inequality, people will try to go where they can get a better life.

      so the question is how people deal (in a humane way) with the reality of being in a nation-state where other people will want to come. Not an easy one at all, and certainly absolutely a critical aspect given that we are a globe of nation-states. yet we are a world of individuals, and war and want.

    7. Roger — on 15th December, 2008 at 1:30 pm  

      “Asylum is about (usually) political persecution, not economic migration regardless of the conditions to be faced in the country of destination.”
      How do you tell the difference in most cases? A political opponent of Robert Mugabe is at risk of starving to death and so improves their economic position by fleeing. A Congolses refugee may be motivated for economic reasons but those reasons exist because of the politics of the Congo.

      “It is still used - asylum seekers are seeking. Refugees are those granted refuge.”
      Then it has changed its meaning, Maid Marian. It used to mean those seeking refuge.

      It is absurd to think that discouraging refugees will have much effect. Most do not seek something better so much as flee something worse. Where they choose to go may be based on what they imagine about the countries concerned but most have little choice and most end up in countries neighbouring the places they fled. The solution is to give people less need to flee in the first place.

    8. Ashik — on 15th December, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

      Failed asylum seekers means just that. Failed.

      These people are not deemed to merit the protection of the UK govt after going through lengthy appeals procedures and scrutiny from the Home Sercetary and independent judiciary, usually with the benefit of publicly funded legal representation.

      Any relaxation of the right to work for failed asylum seekers will simply encourage further waves of economic migrants seeking entry by claiming political persecution.

    9. sonia — on 15th December, 2008 at 6:55 pm  

      “The solution is to give people less need to flee in the first place.”

      that is definitely a good idea

    10. persephone — on 15th December, 2008 at 7:46 pm  

      From the sounds of it IDS’s thinktank appears to be starting a move to give asylum seekers the same rights as refugees. I suppose as they benefit from NHS healthcare w/t being a taxpayer, if they work & pay taxes then they are paying for such benefits.

      I do share Maidmarians concern, more in the light of reports predicting further heavy redundancies until the end of 2009.

    11. persephone — on 15th December, 2008 at 7:49 pm  

      Aside from asylum seekers, one must also not forget that refugees have benefitted the UK economy. The most famous example being Michael Marks, the joint founder of Marks & Spencer who fled persecution in Russia in the 1800s before setting up his first market stall in Leeds.

    12. George — on 15th December, 2008 at 8:05 pm  

      #11
      Using the example of past EUROPEAN Jewish refugees is not relevant to the asylum crisis today.
      Today there are no white refugees and the determining factor in vetting applications is race. They are Asian, Arab or blacks and the EU cannot, as a rule, stomach them.

    13. Ashik — on 15th December, 2008 at 9:04 pm  

      The Conservatives can afford to experiment with Asylum and immigration policy while in opposition. No party in power will dare grant any amnesty for asylum seekers in the UK. It would be political suicide.

    14. persephone — on 15th December, 2008 at 10:28 pm  

      @ 12 is that not the point? That race be overlooked & to vanquish the prevailing attitude of non white refugees being perceived to milk the system w/t any input?

      Perhaps you would like to provide examples of non white refugees in like vein?

      Though race aside ANY refugee and immigrants etc can & do bring something to the economy.

    15. persephone — on 15th December, 2008 at 10:46 pm  

      @ 12 “Today there are no white refugees and the determining factor in vetting applications is race”

      Is the vetting predominately by race? Or by the situation since the Home Office grants full protection and refugee status to people considered to be in extremely vulnerable conditions by the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR)

    16. MaidMarian — on 16th December, 2008 at 7:29 pm  

      Roger (7) - ‘It is absurd to think that discouraging refugees will have much effect. Most do not seek something better so much as flee something worse. Where they choose to go may be based on what they imagine about the countries concerned but most have little choice and most end up in countries neighbouring the places they fled. The solution is to give people less need to flee in the first place.’

      It is an important point and on that is too often overlooked.

      The two best things that the UK (and indeed namy other countries) could do to deter inappropriate immigration are:

      1) Work to a world where there is less to flee. Quite how interventions will do down politically post-Iraq is a nettle that needs to be grasped full in the knowledge that it won’t always be pretty.

      2) Go to countries where immigrants come from and give people a real picture and shatter any impression that streets are paved with gold. I understand that the Spanish broadcast over radio down the West African coast telling people that there are no jobs etc. Indeed, such work could also be useful in Poland and Eastern Europe too.

      Asylum brings with it issues that are much less of a factor in other forms of immigration. It is so important to distinguish the various ‘categories’ of immigrant. Your comment is a good summary of that point.

    17. bullhead — on 7th January, 2009 at 7:47 pm  

      and finally

      High Court orders review of work ban on failed asylum seekers -

      Friday, 19 December 2008 07:22

      http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2008/3064.html

      http://nrcentre.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=205:high-court-orders-review-of-work-ban-on-failed-asylum-seekers&catid=13:Policies%20&%20Rulings&Itemid=9

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