Overview of the main changes since the previous report update

United Kingdom

Author

Refugee Council

The report was previously updated in November 2015.

Asylum procedure

  • A new process for children’s claims was introduced in July 2016.1 There are changes to the early parts of the process, as well as new guidance on family tracing.2

     

Reception conditions

  • A new transfer scheme was introduced to share responsibility for the care of unaccompanied children across a greater number of local authorities. Although the Immigration Act 2016 allows for the scheme to be mandatory, it remains a voluntary process at the time of writing.3


  • The government announced in December 2016 that the contracts for the provision of accommodation have been extended and some changes made to the contracts, particularly to funding.4   


  • A little more detail was contained in a response to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) as it had been reported in the media that the age thresholds for children sharing with parents and/or opposite gender siblings, had been changed at the same time.5

     

Detention

  • Since the suspension of the Detained Fast Track Process in 2015, a new instruction has been issued to staff dealing with those applications.6


  • Following a January 2016 report on the review of detention policy with regard to vulnerable groups (“Shaw review”) and calls to end the detention of pregnant women, the Immigration Act 2016 introduced a time limit for the detention of pregnant women and children.

     

Content of protection

  • No change has been noted to integration policy, but an increased evidence base of problems encountered by refugees when they move from asylum support provided by the Home Office to becoming self-reliant, having to find their own source of income and accommodation. Evidence of extreme destitution and homelessness can be found most recently in a research report by the Refugee Council: England’s Forgotten Refugees.7

  • 1. Home Office, Processing children’s asylum claims, 12 July 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2jfz4uD.
  • 2. Home Office, Family tracing, 12 July 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2kmRWet.
  • 3. Section 69, Immigration Act 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2jQM3Dh.
  • 4. House of Commons, Asylum Accommodation: Written statement by the Minister of State for Immigration, HCWS335, 8 December 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2jypHWb.
  • 5. House of Commons, Asylum: Housing, Written question 58481 of 20 December 2016, and reply by the Minister of State for Immigration of 9 January 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2jPHATC.
  • 6. Home Office, Detention: Interim instruction for cases in detention who have claimed asylum, and for entering cases who have claimed asylum into detention, 1 August 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2kPK16s.
  • 7. Refugee Council, England’s Forgotten Refugees: Out of the fire and into the frying pan, May 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/1U4c3VH.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti