Asylum seekers: no eviction without court order

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New contractor says it will do everything to support asylum seekers to move on 

17th September 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Housing associations have brokered a deal meaning the eviction of asylum seekers in Glasgow will only proceed with a court order.

Mears, the accommodation provider which took over from Serco, said it would do everything in its power to help asylum seekers move on before eviction.

The deal was made with support from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) and Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

The Home Office currently provides free, fully-furnished accommodation to asylum seekers while applications are being considered.

However when asylum seekers have exhausted all appeals and are given notice to leave the country, the lease on their property is cancelled.

Polly Jones, head of policy at SFHA, said: "Social landlords want to continue to provide much-needed accommodation to asylum seekers in Glasgow and this new contract ensures that will happen."

Serco, the previous provider of housing, triggered a series of protests in Glasgow, with campaigners after it tried to evict 300 residents who had been refused refugee status.

GWSF director David Bookbinder welcomed the move by Mears.

He added: "It's important for housing associations to be confident that their homes are managed by the Home Office's contractor professionally and humanely."

A Mears spokesman said it would always hope to avoid a court order.

"We will make sure that service users have access to advice and support, from the Home Office's contract provider Migrant Help, to reach the best outcome and we will notify the relevant local authority to enable the move-on process."

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, said: "Mears' decision flies in the face of the Home Office which has attempted to divide society based on where someone is from.  

"It means people not being too frightened to go to the doctors or their lawyers or to college or to drop children at school, in case a housing officer sneaks into their home while they're out, changes the locks and dumping half their belongings into black bags. 

"However, questions still remain. If the Court of Session decides that asylum seekers can be evicted without a court order, what then? Will Mears change its approach?"