Fairness not Fares
Did you know that people who are seeking asylum must travel to Liverpool to submit fresh evidence for their claims?
For people living in Southampton, this means a 470-mile round trip, and possibly an overnight stay. Sometimes they are only at the Home Office’s further submissions unit (FSU) in Liverpool for five minutes, where they had over a sheaf of documents to an official.
For most people this would not be affordable since they have little money and are not allowed to earn any through employment. It is a serious injustice as it may prevent them submitting evidence to validate their claim and discriminates against those living in the south of England.
SWVG supports our clients travel at a cost of around £190 per person. Over the last two years, SWVG has spent over £2,100 supporting asylum seekers who would otherwise struggle, or be entirely unable, to submit evidence in Liverpool. On occasions, where a person is vulnerable or unfamiliar with the UK, an SWVG member accompanies them – so increasing the cost.
The situation could be avoided relatively easily if the Home Office allowed people who are seeking asylum to have their identity and documents verified at their local police station or by a local solicitor, and then send the documents to the FSU.
Certain people are already allowed to submit their evidence by post or fax: Those who are disabled or ill and unable to travel, or in prison or in detention, or are an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child. It would be fair to extend this to all asylum seekers.
We have spoken about this injustice on Radio Solent and in articles in the Southern Daily Echo. We are also seeking support from local MPs, Government Ministers and political parties. Making asylum seekers travel to Liverpool is not necessary or justifiable, it is a punitive measure to deter them from exercising what is their legal right.
Because of Coronavirus, people cannot now submit their Fresh Evidence in person; instead they are required to email or post their evidence. Submittal by email or post (or to a local office) is what we have been campaigning for and this needs to remain the case in future.