Help Asylum Seekers who are keen to comply with the Law

Labour councilors are to ask Council to support the idea that that Bristol’s asylum seekers should have a central location for compulsory signing.

Asylum seekers are required by the Home Office to sign in regularly while they apply to government to be treated as refugees unable to return to their home country for fear of reprisals.

Currently the signing centre is at Patchway Police Station – it was moved from Trinity Road Police Station in the inner city where most asylum seekers live.

“I would have thought it would help the Home Office and the asylum seekers to find a central location as surely the object of the exercise is to get people to comply with the law and that works best when there are no barriers in the way.

“Getting to Patchway by public transport is hardly straightforward for a local person and for asylum seekers – who have no work permit – is a serious drain on what little money they have,” says Cllr Ron Stone.

Labour councillors back the campaign by Dignity for Asylum Seekers and Bristol Refugee Rights who report that those who have to sign-on are dependent on lifts from volunteers. One asylum seeker who is staying in Hartcliffe has a 14 mile trip to meet the Home Office requirement.

Another with learning difficulties could not find the Police Station in Patchway, and could not understand a map and leaflet written in English. Another recuperating from an ankle operation walked from the centre – the trip took him two and a half hours.

“What we have here are people who wish to comply with the law – some making great efforts – why are we making this so difficult?” says Cllr Stone.

Labour’s motion before Council on Tuesday will ask the Mayor and the Police Commissioner to lobby the Home Office to find a more accessible central location for asylum seekers as soon as possible.

Asylum Seekers – Compulsory Signing

Council supports the campaign by Dignity for Asylum Seekers, backed by Bristol Refugee Rights, seeking a more central location for compulsory signing for asylum seekers, which is currently only available at Patchway Police Station.

Patchway Police Station is not accessible for the majority of those who are required to attend, and great stress is being caused because of the location.

We ask the Mayor to work with the Police Commissioner to lobby the Home Office to seek an urgent resolution to make a more central location available as soon as practicable, and to write to Bristol MPs to ask that they also support this request.