Asylum Update January 30th 2009

30 January 2009


The National Audit Office (NAO) has published 'The Home Office: Management of Asylum Applications by the UK Border Agency'. According to this report, the ‘New Asylum Model' has strengthened some aspects of the asylum process, such as the rise in the proportion of cases being dealt with within six months,  but is not yet working to its optimum efficiency and effectiveness. See responses from UKBA and the Refugee Council, and also press coverage in The Guardian

The London Detainee Support Group has published the report: 'Detained Lives: The real cost of indefinite immigration detention'. The report is based on 24 in-depth interviews with current detainees who have been held for more than a year. They have also launched the ‘Detained lives' campaign and its new website. See also press coverage by The Guardian

The 2007 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook is now out contains five chapters dealing with (a) methodological issues; (b) global levels and trends in the population of concern to UNHCR; (c) durable solutions; (d) asylum and refugee status determination; and (e) well-being and living conditions of refugees.

Book release:  ‘Social Work and Migration: Immigrant and Refugee Settlement and Integration', by Kathleen Valtonen. The author draws on a wide range of current research in migration which is not widely available to social workers or included in social work literature. For details see table of content.

Book release: ‘The Politics of Immigration in France, Britain, and the United States: A Comparative Study' By Martin Schain. The book highlights how immigration policy in these countries has been driven by considerations of race,  national identity, citizenship, naturalization, urban policy, housing, and education, rather than market needs only.

Journal Article: Exploring maternity care for asylum seekers and refugees by Briscoe, L. and Lavender, T. in British Journal of Midwifery Vol 7, No 1.

Journal Article: Asylum seekers and refugees: issues regarding assessment by Watson, HIV Nursing, Vol 8, No 4.


Policy and Law

UKBA will be publishing a new refugee strategy in February 2009, based on integration and resettlement. It is being developed in partnership with the Refugee Council, who are coordinating input from the voluntary sector. At the same time, UKBA intend to set up a quarterly Scottish Asylum Stakeholder Forum (SASF) that will oversee Scotland's asylum issues. It will serve as the Scottish equivalent of the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum (NASF). Information:

France's immigration minister, Mr Eric Besson, is to visit Calais as concerns grow among some sectors that better asylum seeker facilities will attract more migrants to the town. Mr. Besson is due to meet his British counterpart, Phil Woolas, in the UK in February. See BBC coverage



The Medical Justice network is holding a meeting on Children in Detention. It is taking place next 9 February 2009 at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

The University of Birmingham's School of Social Policy are running a research seminar entitled ‘Refugees, Mental Health and Integration - recent research findings' Date and time: Tuesday 10 February 2009, 12.30 - 2pm. Email Helen Harris if you are able to attend.



The Asylum Support Partnership has produced a new leaflet for clients on Section 4 support. It explains how to apply for additional vouchers for travel and childcare. It is available in 18 languages.

The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association has produced new Information Sheets  on the subjects of the draft Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill, Children's welfare and a Zimbabwe country guidance

UNHCR has published the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Advocacy Toolkit. It is designed to support efforts by United Nations-managed and supported mine action centres to advocate for the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol.

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