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Written Question
Asylum: Economic Situation
25 Nov 2021

Questioner: Baroness Stroud (CON - Life peer)


To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the net contribution to the economy generated by those granted asylum in the UK over the financial year 2019–20.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

The Home Office has not made an assessment of the net contribution to the economy generated by those granted asylum in the UK over the financial year 2019–20.

Written Question
Deportation: Zimbabwe
18 Jun 2020

Questioner: Lord Oates (LDEM - Life peer)


To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to suspend all removals of Zimbabwe citizens from the UK in the light of the political, economic and humanitarian situation in that country.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw.

The Home Office only seeks to return those whose claims have been unsuccessful and who, by definition, do not need our protection and are not at risk on return. We work closely with other countries to ensure people are returned safely and with dignity.

Written Question
Migrant Workers
18 May 2020

Questioner: Helen Hayes (LAB - Dulwich and West Norwood)


To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of migrants and asylum seekers with the right to work but no recourse to public funds; and what plans she has to review that policy in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Chris Philp

The majority of migrants from outside of the European Economic Area have no recourse to public funds; this includes asylum seekers but also extends to other individuals, such as those here for work or as the partner or parent of a British citizen. The public interest in migrants being financially independent and not being a burden on the State is long established.

However, the Home Office is working closely with other government departments to support people, including migrants with no recourse to public funds, through this crisis. We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19 measures the government has put in place are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

The Coronavirus job retention scheme, self-employment income support and statutory sick pay are not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Contribution-based benefits are also not classed as public funds for immigration purposes. Additionally, measures we have brought forward such as rent and mortgage protections are not considered public funds and can be accessed by migrants with leave to remain.

Migrants with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes can apply to have the NRPF restriction lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application if there has been a change in their financial circumstances. The Home Office has recently digitised the application form to make sure it is accessible for those who need to remain at home, and I can assure you that the applications are being dealt with swiftly and compassionately.

Local authorities may also provide basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

The Government has made in excess of £3.2bn of funding available to local authorities in England to assist them in managing the pressures arising out of the pandemic.

Asylum seekers do not have an automatic right to work. However, they may apply for permission to work in the UK on jobs on the Shortage Occupation List if their asylum claim has been outstanding for 12 months or more, where the delay is through no fault of their own.

Those asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute are supported by the Home Office on application. An asylum seeker or failed asylum seeker who requires assistance can contact Migrant Help and make an application for support from the Home Office through the contact details below:ASCorrespondence@MigrantHelpUK.org Telephone: 0808 8010 503

As part of this Government’s response to covid-19, we have ensured that asylum seekers who are provided with accommodation will be able to remain in their current accommodation for the next three months. This includes those granted refugee status or other leave who can access public funds, as well as those whose application for asylum has been refused. The situation will be reviewed at the end of June.

Written Question
Sri Lanka: Minority Groups
16 May 2019

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)


To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to assist Pakistani Ahmadi and Christian refugees, fleeing persecution in Pakistan and awaiting determination of their asylum cases in Sri Lanka, who are seeking refuge in police stations and elsewhere due to fear of targeted attacks on minorities.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The British Government has agreed with Sri Lankan counterparts the need for inclusivity and respect for human rights in their response to the Easter Sunday attacks and underlined the importance of Sri Lankans working together to reduce intercommunal tensions. Minister for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace visited Sri Lanka on 2-3 May and reiterated these points.

We have raised concerns with the Sri Lankan Government at reports of incidents of violence and intimidation against Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers since the Easter Sunday attacks. We have also raised concerns specifically about the situation in Negombo, where approximately 1,050 refugees were displaced from their ordinary places of residence and are now being temporarily housed.

The British High Commission in Colombo is in regular contact with the Sri Lankan Government, UN agencies and civil society organisations who are working towards a sustainable solution, including to identify secure relocation options to ensure protection of both refugees and asylum seekers.

The Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific and I have both met the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in recent weeks to raise concerns about refugees and minority rights in Sri Lanka. The Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific also addressed this issue in the House of Commons on 9 May.

Written Question
Refugees: Mediterranean Sea
29 Jun 2015

Questioner: Lord Marlesford (CON - Life peer)


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to realise the Prime Minister's aim stated on 3 June, that "we need to break the link between getting on a boat and achieving residence in Europe" (HC Deb, col 583).

Answered by Lord Bates

The perceived likelihood of illegal immigrants being able to remain in Europe after crossing the Mediterranean plays into the hands of the criminal gangs who are exploiting them. While the Government remains committed to saving lives at sea, it is clear that this link needs to be broken if the EU is to tackle the current situation successfully. That can be achieved only through concerted EU and international action, ensuring that Member States’ asylum systems are not exploited by people smugglers and traffickers or by economic migrants, and that those found not to be in need of protection are swiftly removed.

Ministers and officials are working closely with our counterparts in other European States and EU institutions to try to break this link, focusing on four key areas: conditions in migrants’ country of origin; availability of protection and economic opportunities in the region; tackling the criminal gangs; and ensuring the return of those who do not need to remain in the EU.

The UK is playing a leading role in practical EU efforts, including the development of joint work in transit and origin countries to combat people smugglers and traffickers and to enhance protection for those who genuinely require it.