Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

26.  Memorandum submitted by Luton Accommodation and Move On Project

  We are a homeless charity working in Luton to help homeless single people from the age of 16-25. As is well documented, Luton has a large culturally diverse population. Our funding for resettlement is met by Supporting People and Connexions. Initially we find affordable accommodation for young people and provide ongoing support.

  We are one of the few agencies who are willing to help asylum seekers and refugees. We work closely with the Luton Asylum Team and attend the local Multi Agency Asylum Forum.

  Having to cope with this age group enables us to help young Asylum Seekers with their applications for DLR from their interview at the Home Office and through the appeal stage. This is a traumatic time, particularly for young people who have been in this country from a young age, some from foster care. By the time this proccess is completed they have enevitably established a good life in England. Most are either in regular employment or studying at College. A large proportion are now being returned to their country of origin.

  My visits to Detention Centres have not been good. I particularly found Manchester Detention Centre extremely oppressive. There were no windows, no fresh air and a permanent thick smoky atmosphere. In this case the detainee was moved to Gatwick as it was against the European Convention to allow him to remain without fresh air for longer than five days.

  Most failed asylum seekers return to poverty and mass unemployment. I have had personally experienced of this having supported a young A level student through the detention and return proccess and maintained contact with him. Others have been valuable employees who have worked hard.

  The entry (visa) clearance system is also aimed at preventing these young people to return to continue their studies even when it is proved that there are people here who are willing to provide support and finance.

  It seems inhuman to give these young people hope, ambition and support then take it away. Some have been here for six years or more and adopted the English culture as theirs. To invest so much money in their futures and when they are working, paying taxes and/or making a positive contribution to this country return them to nothing is not only a loss to our economy, but a cruel blow to young people who have already suffered.

  We as an organisation would like to see an amnesty system in place for those who deserve the right to remain and work or study in this country.

Celia Pymont

Resettlement Officer

7 December 2005

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