UNISON home
UNISONScotland www
Scotland's biggest public service union Join UNISON
Join UNISON
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK

 

 

 

  Social Work Issues Group

Social Work Home

Social Work Links
Local Government Home
Local Government Submissions and Responses
UK Social Care pages
 

 

 

ASYLUM SEEKER CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

UPDATE ON DEVELOPMENTS

This brief paper lists recent developments in the Scottish Local Government Committee Social Work Issues Group's asylum seeker children campaign.

Good news for 1,400 families

1,800 asylum seeker families in Scotland are defined as ‘legacy' cases in that they have been here since before July 2004.

We had been informed these cases would be reviewed and that children would be able to get a social work assessment so that - for the first time - their welfare would be taken into account, not just the immigration status of their parents. We had concerns when alerted to the fact that the Home Office planned to use self-assessment forms instead.

We asked for a meeting with Scottish Government civil servants. At the meeting we welcomed the following news:-

  • It is anticipated that 1,400 of the families will be allowed to stay on the basis of their forms.
  • The further 400 either have criminal convictions or allegedly lied about their country of origin. Even in these cases, there will be an assessment.

This is fantastic news for children who have made Scotland their home over the years.

While the decision was made for pragmatic and financial reasons, we have to have some belief that our campaigning set the context, not least when we hear politicians referring more and more to the child's welfare being ‘paramount' - the basis of our campaign from the beginning.

UK Conference

We have had a series of meetings with UNISON HQ policy staff, BASW and ‘Stop Deporting Children' to set up a national conference to campaign against the UK government's reservation from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UK Conference will now take place on 15 March 2008 at Birkbeck College, London.

Scottish Action Group

We have talks this week to seek STUC help bring together a range of Scottish organisations to work jointly on campaigning for asylum seeker children and against the reservation from the UNCRC. We hope this will allow us to take a Scottish position into the UK Conference.

Conferences

Kate Ramsden (SWIG) spoke at the Holyrood Asylum Conference and we circulated the ‘Child's Welfare Paramount' booklet. She and Chris Bartter attended a Scottish Refugee Council briefing on research into the effects of campaigning initiatives.

UNISON Scotland internal organisation

There has been a meeting of staff and activists to share information regarding the various UNISON Scotland asylum, anti-racism and migrant worker initiatives to avoid duplication, learn from each other and ensure a consistent approach.

John Stevenson
January 2008

 

top