Home Office Starts Evicting Asylum Seekers Despite Warning of Second Wave of Covid

Reckless and Irresponsible’: Thousands of asylum seekers are at risk of becoming homeless after the Home Office announced it was lifting a ban on asylum evictions “with immediate effect”. Individuals who have claimed asylum and had their cases refused will begin receiving notices to leave within 21 days from this week. It comes despite Boris Johnson announcing on Friday that the UK is “now seeing a second wave” of coronavirus and that it was “inevitable” that the pandemic would hit the country again. Charities and MPs said it was a “reckless and irresponsible” move that would put both asylum seekers and the public at risk, and accused the government of making already cash-strapped local authorities and third sector groups responsible for its actions. The Home Office announced at the end of March that asylum seekers would not be asked to leave their accommodation once their claim or appeal had been decided, as a protective measure in response to the pandemic.
In a letter to charities on Tuesday, the director general of UK Visas and Immigration said asylum seekers with negative decisions would be served eviction notices “with immediate effect” in England. Officials in the devolved administrations in the rest of the UK will be consulted before evictions. Prior to the pandemic, failed asylum seekers who had been evicted would often become homeless and rely on third sector groups to provide support – but charities said much of this provision had been forced to cease due to the pandemic and so was no longer available.  People who have been refused asylum are usually not eligible for public funds, meaning it is questionable whether cash-strapped local councils will be able to provide them with support.
Read more: May Bulman, Independent,

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