Scottish and Welsh governments call for asylum seeker talks with Home Office
The Scottish and Welsh governments are calling for “urgent talks” with the Home Office about unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and asylum dispersal issues.
In a letter from social justice secretary Shona Robison and the Welsh minister for social justice, Jane Hutt, the two governments have also raised the issue of the Nationality and Borders Bill and asked for discussions to help prevent further loss of life in the English Channel.
The International Organisation for Migration report that 166 people have been recorded as dead or missing since 2014 after undertaking the dangerous journey across the Channel, including 27 who lost their lives in November.
The letter states: “The UK Government must reconsider its hostile environment strategy and, vitally, develop sufficient safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to claim asylum from outside the UK, negating the need for perilous journeys and disrupting the business model of people smugglers.”
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.
The publication of the letter comes after Robison expressed frustration at the Home Office’s position on unaccompanied child refugees in an interview with Holyrood.
She said: “In Scotland, we have some very small local authorities where they just don’t have the support structures in place. But we were told that (the Scottish rota) was being scrapped and we would be mandated to take 44 children.
“We could have a situation where children are passed around local authorities because they’re all mandated to take a certain number of children even if it’s not the appropriate place for those children to go. It’s a bloody-mindedness (on the part of the Home Office) that is really frustrating.”