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Eviction-threat asylum seekers have right to stay in UK

Serco wrongly claimed all 330 asylum seekers under threat had been rejected.

By STV News

Published 02 Aug 2018.

A third of the asylum seekers threatened with eviction from their homes in Glasgow have been granted refuge in the UK, despite earlier claims.

Home Office housing provider Serco has issued notices to 330 tenants ordering them to leave their flats or face legal action.

It claimed their asylum applications had been turned down and said they no longer had the right to stay in the UK.

Serco has now admitted 100 of them have been granted asylum.

Robina Qureshi, director of Glasgow charity Positive Action in Housing, accused Serco of "dumping people on to the streets".

"The people being made destitute will not be rehoused by the council unless they are families with kids or elderly," she said.

"The burden for accommodating people will fall on our charity."

Another charity, the Refugee Survival Trust, has said it will have to stop providing emergency grants because of rising demand.

Serco has already sent notices to six of the 230 people whose asylum applications have been rejected warning their locks will be changed within seven days.

Councillor Jennifer Layden, Glasgow City Council's convener for human rights, said: "The lock-change announcement has caused widespread fear and alarm among asylum seekers in Glasgow.

"We are seeking assistance from the Home Office and Serco in identifying the 100 individuals who have been granted asylum and are affected by the Home Office's plans."

Serco has no responsibility to house asylum seekers once their applications have been determined by the Home Office.

Those whose applications are rejected no longer receive support but cannot be deported while they appeal the Home Office's decision. Around half of asylum decisions are overturned on appeal.

Serco claims it has spent £1m housing the 330 overstaying asylum seekers free of charge - in some cases for several months after their applications were decided.

In response to widespread criticism from charities, politicians, and the Church of Scotland, chief executive Rupert Soames said that over the next month Serco will issue no more than ten lock-change notices a week.

No families with children will be locked out, he said, and everyone issued with a letter will have "exhausted their appeal process and no longer have the right to remain in the country". Around a third of Serco's overstaying tenants are families.

On Wednesday, two Afghan asylum seekers began a hunger strike outside Serco's offices in Glasgow.