New arrivals

The Home Office has announced that all refugees in the UK must now undergo a ‘safe returns review’ after five years temporary leave to remain in the UK.

In what will likely be a costly and complicated process for the UK government, all individuals who have already been recognised as in need of refugee protection will face the terrifying prospect of being returned to the country from which they fled.

This regressive policy creates an additional burden of anxiety for people who have fled warzones, torture and other types of violence and lived with the uncertainty that comes with seeking refugee protection in the UK.

Seeking asylum in the UK is not an easy or pleasant process. It is an exhausting, fraught experience in which people have to prove, repeatedly, that their lives would be at risk in their home countries if they returned. Claiming asylum here can take years and it is only when people receive a positive decision on their claim that they feel any sense of security and are able to begin to take steps to rebuild their lives. Now the fear and anxiety people live with throughout the asylum process will remain even when granted refugee protection.

Wafa Shaheen, Head of Integration at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“This threat of removal from the UK despite being granted refugee protection will hang extremely heavily over people who are already living with huge amounts of ongoing anxiety. It will be particularly difficult for families and parents doing their best to raise their children here despite deep insecurity about their futures. How do you plan for your child’s future or support them through their education when the Home Office threatens to remove you from the country after five years?

“This policy shift is also a huge step backwards for all of us committed to supporting well integrated communities. Employers and education providers may be less likely to take refugees on if they suspect that people will only be here temporarily, with negative and avoidable consequences all round”

What you can do:

Refugees are our friends, neighbours and colleagues. Please continue to show support for people from refugee backgrounds when and wherever you can. #refugeeswelcome

Chris Pettigrew
Author: Chris Pettigrew