• LONDON — Responding to political pressure from his right and public fears about an influx of Romanians and Bulgarians early next year, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said on Wednesday that he would restrict state benefits for European Union migrants, including a ban on housing subsidies for new arrivals and sharp limits on unemployment compensation.

    Mr. Cameron also said that Britain would deport European Union migrants found to be begging or sleeping outside, barring them from re-entry for 12 months, a clear if unspecific reference to public anxieties, fed by politicians, about Roma, or Gypsies, pouring into Britain.

    Mr. Cameron’s plan, which has the support of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats, drew stinging criticism from Brussels, where Laszlo Andor of Hungary, the European Commission’s employment chief, called it an “unfortunate overreaction” that could cause hysteria. The plans, he added, “risk presenting the U.K. as the nasty country in the European Union.”


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  • Why Refugee Council training?

    People who work with refugees and asylum seekers know that there is a mass of ever-changing practice and statute law relating to their clients and that they are working with individuals who are vulnerable and often traumatised by past experiences.

    The Refugee Council has years of experience running training designed to support service providers in their work with asylum seekers and refugees in particular, though many courses are suitable for people working with any migrant group.

    Our training reflects the expertise gained through our own front-line service provision. All Refugee Council trainers are practitioners first and foremost ensuring that our training is:

    • Responsive: Our programme is shaped to your needs
    • Comprehensive: Our wide range of courses and expert trainers enable us to summarise the complexities of the asylum system
    • Relevant and up to date: Our courses share our years of front-line experience, providing current information and real answers for your questions about working with migrants and refugees
    • Empowering: Giving you the skills and confidence you need to work on behalf of this vulnerable group

    To enquire about courses contact us at training@refugeecouncil.org.uk or call 020 7346 1284



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  • The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, today raised his concerns about the protection of refugees in the UK during a visit to the Refugee Council, the leading charity working with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

    The Archbishop spent his visit meeting asylum seekers and refugees at the charity's Day Centre and Advice Service in Brixton, London, many of whom are destitute and waiting to be able to return safely to their own countries. The people he met were from countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, and Sri Lanka, countries where human rights abuses are still rife.

    The Archbishop, who has long supported the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, said:

    "It was sobering to hear the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees during my visit today, and I was impressed by the work the Refugee Council is doing to help them.

    "It's clear that there's an ongoing policy question about why asylum seekers are not allowed to work, a problem that was apparent from the people I met here today."

    He added: "I'm also very concerned about the issue of protection, and that people sent back to their countries are not monitored. Without these checks, there's a risk that what the government regards as being a safe environment may not be. If we look at situations like the one in Zimbabwe, I think there's a real question over whether people can be sent back safely to these countries.

    SOURCE :



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  • Some asylum seekers withdraw their applications before they are looked at 

    There was a 23.6% fall in the number of people who sought asylum in the UK between May and July, compared to the same period last year, figures show.

    In May-July 2009, 7,030 asylum seekers and their dependents made applications, but that dropped to 5,370 this year.

    The government is legally bound to provide the figures to the European Union's statistical office Eurostat.

    Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Asylum figures are at a low level, but there is still more work to be done.

    The British Red Cross said that asylum seekers and those who were granted refugee status were still vulnerable.

    The Home Office data also revealed the number of applications without dependents fell by 22.8% from 5,595 to 4,320 during the same period.

    Source :


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  • An Eritrean asylum seeker in Calais talks of his long and troubled journey to seek sanctuary in the UK


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  • Illegal immigrants and foreign prisoners are failing to be removed from the UK because escort staff are "intimidating" them, a report has said.

    The findings are revealed by the Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales , Dame Anne Owers.

    Inspectors monitored immigration escort staff involved in removing detainees from Heathrow Airport .

    It says when officers escorting immigration offenders mistreat them, removals are more likely to fail.

    The report cites the case of four Afghan detainees, who were initially willing to fly home.

    Then, in what the report describes as an "unnecessary and intimidating" intervention, escort staff warned the detainees they would be "dealt with" if they were "naughty" on the plane. They refused to go.


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  • Refugees deported from Britain are at risk of ill-treatment and abuse by immigration officers and security guards, a damning report into the system for removing immigrants and failed asylum seekers has found.

    In most cases the use of force during the deportation process had the opposite effect and led to the removal attempt being abandoned.

    The findings, published today by Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, echo earlier concerns published in the Independent nearly two years ago.

    Ms Owers' report also found "worrying gaps and weaknesses" in the system for complaints made by asylum seekers and in the monitoring of the removal process.

    But of greatest concern was the inconsistent use of force by immigration officers as well as failures to provide medical help.


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    In response to the Children's Commissioner for England's report 'the Arrest and Detention of Children Subject to Immigration Control'.

    Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: "The Children's Commissioner has exposed one of the UK's most shameful practices - imprisoning children for administrative reasons. The evidence contained in this report is shocking, and demonstrates once again how harmful detaining children is.

    "It is particularly disturbing to hear children's first hand accounts of being arrested very suddenly, and transported in locked vans to places that are, as far as they are concerned, prisons.

    "We join the Commissioner's call to end the practice of detaining children as soon as possible. And in the meantime, we urge the government to implement the recommendations contained in this report without delay.


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    Immigration and asylum cases, challenges to decisions by government or public bodies can now be heard in four new courts

    Sir Anthony May, President of the Queen's Bench Division Frances Gibb 

    London is the legal capital and many big disputes can only be heard in its courts. But from this month hundreds of immigration and asylum cases and challenges to decisions by government or public bodies will be devolved to the regions as four Administrative Court centres open in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester.

    Two High Court judges, Mr Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Langstaff, will be responsible for liaising with the centres. The judge behind the change - and now in charge - is Sir Anthony May, President of the Queen's Bench Division. The reform, he says, will ease the hugely overburdened Administrative Court in London, as it struggles with the caseload that required extra judges for its 8,000 asylum and immigration cases a year.

    The move is not just a pragmatic one. "It is also that it is right, in itself, for these cases to be heard locally," May says. "The important thing is that claimants based in the regions will be able to have their cases dealt with at the centre that they regard as most convenient, instructing - if they wish - lawyers also based in the region." Many public authorities, which are potentially defendants in such claims, also favour the move.


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