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June 29, 2018

Latest immigration bail conditions keeping migrants detained indefinitely

A briefing by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), based on its support work, reveals that the latest update to bail conditions are giving some of the most vulnerable individuals in detention an inhumane alternative: stay detained indefinitely (which increasingly appears to be the default scenario), or become homeless.

In January 2018, the government changed bail conditions, and got rid of a mechanism that allowed migrants in detention who did not have secure accommodation to request a temporary address from the Home Office prior to their release.

Scrapping this possibility has had disastrous consequences for vulnerable detainees. Temporary accommodation provisions have collapsed:

BID write:

The vast majority of our clients are no longer able to apply for accommodation support from the Home Office. As a consequence, many detainees are being indefinitel y detained for no other reason than their lack of suitable accommodation. Others have been released […] to the streets, potentially into destitution.
While there remain some procedures available to detainees to ask for temporary accommodation support, these appear to be dysfunctional. Freedom of Movement summarises these procedures as “Kafkaesque”:

  • migrants who are not asylum seekers can in theory get accommodation under paragraph 9, schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016, but there is no actual process for them to apply for it.
  • failed asylum seekers can apply for accommodation under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 if they have proof that they are due for release within 14 days, but detainees are never given a date for release.
  • other asylum seekers can apply for accommodation under section 95 of the 1999 Act if they are “destitute”, but the Home Office says that if they are still detained they cannot be destitute. These applicants are forced to go onto the streets so as to satisfy the destitution test and only then apply for accommodation.

The full BID briefing is available to read and download at this link.