People seeking asylum face further uncertainty

Flats with trees in front  c. Jenny Wicks
No-one should have to move as a result of the contract transfer

UK Border Agency has sent a notice of termination of its contract with Glasgow City Council to provide housing for asylum seekers dispersed to the city under the UK dispersal programme.  

The decision was made on Friday, November 5, when the two parties failed to reach an agreement.

This will affect over 1,000 people seeking asylum across Glasgow. Letters to those affected have already been sent by UK Border Agency but Scottish Refugee Council still has little information on when or where these people will be re-housed.

In response John Wilkes, Chief Executive for Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are extremely concerned about this development and how it will affect hundreds of asylum seekers that we work with.

“Glasgow City Council has had a ten year history of providing housing and support services for people seeking sanctuary in this city and has worked hard to ensure refugees and those seeking asylum are well integrated into Scottish society. The potential termination of this contract is a big disappointment.

Working together

“We would urge the agencies involved to work together to find the best possible solution as quickly as possible. We also need to make sure that the people this will affect are kept informed as currently they are living in complete uncertainty.  

“Many of these people have fled traumatic situations involving persecution, torture and violence and have already faced a great deal of uncertainty while waiting for the outcome of their asylum claim. Based on previous experience, these situations are best handled when information is clearly communicated.

“We are particularly worried about those with school age children, especially those due to sit exams this year, and people with complex medical needs including mental health needs. We must ensure that their cases are handled as sensitively as possible.

“The situation is still developing and as the principle advice agency for asylum seekers, we will be working with all parties to ensure that we are able to provide accurate and up-to-date information as soon as it is available.”

The contract under discussion was an extension of Glasgow City Council's exsisting contract, which had agreement been reached, would have run until April 2012. After this point, UK Border Agency will renegotiate contracts for all services for asylum seekers and refugees with agencies across Britain.