Detention Watch

Many asylum seekers are frustrated at not being able to work while their claims continue to go through what can seem like a never-ending process. But the good news is - You can help yourselves. Firstly, back in February 2005 a new law was introduced which made it possible for asylum seekers to

apply for permission to work if they had received no reply from the Home Office for a period of over a year, in response to a first claim. If you are in this group of people you need to check with your solicitor over whether you can apply for permission to work.

Secondly, the Labour MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey, put forward a motion in the Houses of Parliament in November 2005 (Early Day Motion 1293) calling for the right to work for Zimbabwean asylum seekers. So far 47 MPs have signed this motion. Has your MP signed it? If not, you need to make contact with them and ask them to sign it. The more support the motion has from MPs the stronger it will become and the more likely it is to be successful.

We were startled last week to come across someone who recently arrived in the UK and claimed asylum, but has been electronically tagged right from the start of the process. Tagging was once used as a way of getting someone out of detention and towards the end of the process, but everything is changing. A whole new system for the asylum process, the New Asylum Model (NAM), has gradually been introduced and is expected to be operating throughout the UK by September 2006.

We do not expect NAM to make things easier for asylum seekers. A useful website for up to date news on the asylum process can be found at Information about NAM can be found under their Briefings section.

Rumours about amnesties continue to drift around but we haven’t been able to find any hard evidence to support such rumours. A number of people have also been ringing to enquire about when the court cases re Home Office appeals against AA are going to be heard. There are no dates as yet but readers will be kept informed.

One detainee was released last week and another has a bail hearing this week so our thoughts will be with him.

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