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Refugee rights must be protected

BASW supports cross-party amendments to maintain the full rights of individuals under Dublin III regulation and within the EU Settlement Scheme

Tuesday 30 June saw an important vote in the Westminster Parliament on new legislation with major implications for immigration and refugees.

BASW joined with other not-for-profit groups and MPs from across the political spectrum in urging the Home Secretary to support cross-party amendments to maintain the full rights of individuals under Dublin III, to give automatic settlement status to ‘looked after’ children and young people and for the Government to undertake an impact assessment on the loss of care staff due to changes to immigration law.

The vote saw all amendments heavily defeated by the Government majority. The Bill now moves to the Lords.

BASW continues to join with other not-for-profit groups and MPs from across the political spectrum call for vital amendments that will:

  • Protect the rights of refugees under the agreement known as Dublin III. This allows refugees to be reunited with their families across national borders. The Bill significantly dilutes the rights of individuals and families to reunification, by removing the right to claim, and replacing it with a possibility of claiming.
  • Protect the rights of children and young people who are EU citizens and who are ‘looked after’ and living in the UK by giving automatic settlement status. The current situation is that all those who are EU citizens must register with the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). EU citizens who do not register within the time-period will lose their rights. Undertaking registration is complex. For vulnerable young people cumbersome bureaucratic processes add additional barriers. There are also practical considerations, these young people need to be supported in this process by social workers – significant additional work.
  • Protect UK’s social care staff EU workforce.  Covid-19 has underlined the crucial work undertaken by care workers both in residential and community settings. Many care workers come from EU countries. As the UK leaves the EU at Christmas 2020 the fear is that there will be a worsening shortage of care staff. 

Notes

The Bill is called the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawl) Bill.

Unlike social work law and policy, immigration and refugee law is not a devolved matter, so the final shape of the Bill will determine these aspects of legislation across the four countries of the UK.