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
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.
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
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.
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.