Freedom of movement

United Kingdom

Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 25/03/21

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Movement is not restricted to defined areas, but temporary admission or bail, which is the usual status of asylum seekers, is usually conditional on residence at a particular address, and there is a requirement to keep the Home Office informed of any change of address.

 

Asylum seekers accommodated by the Home Office are not permitted to stay away from their accommodation, and the Home Office will cease providing accommodation in practice if an asylum seeker stays elsewhere for more than a few days.

 

Allocation to accommodation is done by the private company, which manages property in the relevant region on the basis of the availability of housing. The initial allocation to a region and to an initial accommodation centre is arranged after the screening interview. The availability of housing in a region depends on procurement by the private company, which is affected by local housing markets, and local authority policy. There has been an increase in the use of institutional accommodation including repurposed military barracks, which has resulted in media attention.[1] The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an Inspection into the use of contingency accommodation and in March 2021 released some key findings following the team’s visit to both sites formerly used as military barracks.[2] Residents at both sites were normally able to come and go. The exception was during the major COVID-19 outbreak at Napier, when over a hundred people were confined to their billets for approximately four weeks and unable to go outside except to use the mobile toilets or showers. They were warned that they might be arrested if they left the camp. In at least one case, a resident was forcibly returned to the camp by the police. [3]

 

The limits on asylum seekers’ choice of location have been described in the section on Criteria and Restrictions to Access Reception Conditions. There is no appeal against the location allocated.

 

Asylum seekers live among the rest of the population and have no restrictions on their freedom of movement except that imposed by lack of resources and the requirement to stay at the allocated address. That they stay at the address is monitored by routine visits by the housing providers, and by the requirement to report regularly (anything from twice weekly to every six months) at a regional Home Office reporting centre.[4]

 

[1]        The Guardian, Asylum seeker housing conditions under scrutiny at third ex-military site, 14 January 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/39n1f7m This report includes links to others and summarises concerns.

[2]       Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the use of contingency asylum accommodation – key findings from site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3bBqLXz

[3]       Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, An inspection of the use of contingency asylum accommodation – key findings from site visits to Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3bBqLXz

[4]        A list of Home Office reporting centres is available at: http://bit.ly/2ryZGPZ.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection