Asylum seekers granted temporary reprieve


Charity welcomes move to protect residents housed by Serco.

30th September 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Asylum seekers threatened by eviction in Glasgow have been granted a temporary reprieve by judges at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Around 130 cases centring on proposed lock changes by Serco have been put on hold or continued, temporarily protecting the clients in all of these cases.

Another handful of cases were dismissed, as asylum support had been reinstated.

A final decision by the Court of Session on an appeal against the lock changes is expected in the coming months.

Refugee and migrant homelessness charity Positive Action in Housing welcomed the news.

Director Robina Qureshi said: “This is a welcome decision for now. Our caseworkers worked tirelessly round the clock in collaboration with Glasgow lawyers including Latta & Co, Shelter Scotland, Legal Services Agency and Govan Law Centre to block Serco from embarking on its lock-change programme since it was recommenced in June 2019.

“Our network meetings were instrumental in encouraging an en masse approach of pursuing interim interdicts. Since June 2019, we have directly assisted 102 men and women from 26 different countries of origin, the greatest numbers are from Iran, Eritrea, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria.

“We worked to make fast track referrals to solicitors to secure interim interdicts. We also provided advice, casework challenges to Serco, community hosting and crisis grants to those left without support.”

The charity said some of its clients had given up under the constant pressure, going to stay with friends or moving south. Another 60 or 70 had been given temporary accommodation in the homes of “generous Glasgow host families with spare rooms to offer”.

Ms Quresh added: "Serco - a multinational worth billions - is still trying to force out asylum seekers who don't have interdicts and it’s a case of making sure people know their rights. Asylum seekers are vulnerable because they are unlikely to have access to homelessness accommodation that the rest of us can expect as a basic right.

"Some people have had their rights reinstated, and this is par for the course. The Home Office routinely refuses cases out of hand, cuts off peoples support only to be forced to reinstate that support. It’s like a yo-yo effect that goes on for years and often ends in people getting their right to remain.

“Making people destitute just means it takes longer to get their case heard when you’re street homeless, without support of any kind, you are trying to survive each day, not think about legal paperwork.

“The suffering and stress caused by the threat of destitution is immense and often results in serious mental and physical health problems. It hurts our society too, because when society makes refugees destitute, it is delaying their path to resettlement and contributing as taxpayers of the future."