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We are committed to providing a welcome to Sanctuary Seekers in Chester. In providing a local welcome we cannot ignore the national factors which make life more difficult and impede a welcoming environment. For this reason we feel we should campaign to improve the situation. Here we outline relevant campaigns and invite you to find out more and consider joining these by actions such as signing petitions or writing to your MP.

Detention: expensive, ineffective and inhumane’ (taken from ‘These Walls Must Fall’ website).

Currently the UK is the only European country to allow indefinite immigration detention. This can only be changed by a change in Home Office policy or a legal change voted in by Parliament. The campaign ‘These Walls Must Fall’ explains the situation in detail and gives links to letters you can sign and other actions you can take. See

https://detention.org.uk/

Excessive Fees for ‘Leave to Remain’ applications

You may not be aware but asylum seekers who have been refused ‘Refugee Status’ and ‘Humanitarian Status’ can be given ‘Discretionary Leave’ to stay in the UK . Such individuals  have to apply, every two and a half years, for ‘Leave to Remain’. After 10yrs they can apply for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ and then for citizenship. All these applications, since 2015, are associated with charges. These charges are excessive, far far outweighing the administrative cost of processing them and are paid in addition to tax, national insurance and a health surcharge. The payments apply to each member of the family and must be paid in a single payment. Current costs for a ‘Leave to Remain’ application, including the health surcharge, per applicant, are over £2000 and will increase in October. They have almost doubled since their introduction. These charges are unacceptably high and creating an unacceptable burden on already vunerable individuals. To find out more and what you can do about it, see

https://qarn.org.uk/qarn-leaflets-download-them-here/#more-4839

Lift the Ban

Currently, those seeking asylum in the UK cannot apply to work unless they have waited over a year for their asylum claim decision. Even then they can only work in one of the Government Shortage Occupations. This means people must survive on £5.39 a week. This can affect their mental health and means they don’t get a chance to integrate into communities nor use their skills and potential to benefit themselves and the UK economy. The ‘Lift the Ban’ campaign is aiming to allow asylum seekers to work after they have waited for six months for a claim decision and to be unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List.

For more details and to support the campaign, see

https://www.refugee-action.org.uk/lift-the-ban/