Socialist Worker

New policies mean more suffering for refugees

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 1971

The government is preparing to push through more vicious policies towards refugees when parliament returns on Monday of next week.

The Asylum and Nationality Bill is to go through its committee stage in parliament this month.

This includes draconian policies limiting the right of appeal of those who are refused work or study visas. It will also force employers to check whether their workers’ documents are genuine and whether they are allowed to stay in Britain.

From 30 August this year the government abolished the right of people recognised as refugees to be granted indefinite leave to remain in Britain.

Instead they will be given five years temporary admission.

Their cases will be “actively reviewed” after five years. They could then face deportation even though they have been recognised as refugees.

The Refugee Council organisation says, “Refugees will be left in a cruel limbo. They’ll find it more difficult to get jobs, their children will not be able to plan for their future or do things like apply for university.”

Labour MP Neil Gerrard has tabled an early day motion in parliament calling for the government to abandon this change.

This will be discussed next week. Respect MP George Galloway is among a number of MPs who have put their names to the motion.

If the change stays in place it will mean more horrific treatment for refugee families in Britain.

The authorities have been snatching and deporting families over the last few weeks.

These included Raheela Sajid and her two children Mohammad and Shataj.

Deported

Raheela fled to Britain in 2002 after facing abuse at the hands of her husband in Pakistan. The family settled in South Bank in Teesside, north east England, and became an important part of the local community.

The authorities snatched them at the police station two weeks ago and they were deported to Pakistan.

Friends of the family have not heard from them since they were deported.

Christine Stubbs, a friend of the family, told Socialist Worker, “We haven’t heard anything. We don’t know where they are.

“Their house in Teesside was broken into last week and everything has been taken. I have sent messages to local MPs asking them to help us.

“We are going to protest outside the police station with a banner that says, ‘Where are they?’

“Local children and residents will attend. We won’t stop until we know that they’re safe.”

New Labour’s policies towards refugees mean many more will suffer similar treatment in the coming years.


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News
Sat 8 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1971
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