As the coronavirus pandemic ravages economies and societies across Europe and beyond, we’ve seen the welfare of displaced migrants tumble even further down host countries’ list of priorities. Ironic, really, as now more than ever, we are relying on migrant workers to keep up even a semblance of an operational society.
Housing for asylum seekers and persons granted international protection is a contested issue. The state relies on local municipalities to settle refugees, and on the other hand, local governments experience housing shortages and need to make decisions how to prioritise between different groups in need of apartments.
Reports last week that local authorities participating in the Dispersal Scheme are considering withdrawing from the Scheme are alarming but perhaps not surprising. Dispersal is a programme run by the UK government to accommodate asylum seekers in locations across the UK on a no-choice basis. Since its implementation at the turn of the Millennium, it has attracted controversy, especially around issues relating to the housing of asylum seekers.
In September, we held our second consortium meeting at the University of Calabria. As part of our meeting we visited local SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) projects, and met those who work in, and benefit from them. In this blog, our Co-Investigator, Tim Peace, details our experience, and analyses the impact current government legislation is likely to have on these projects.
On 29 July 2018, private asylum accommodation provider, Serco, announced that with one day’s notice, they would be changing the locks on up 300 residences occupied by asylum seekers whose applications had been refused by the Home Office. The decision has been met with shock and anger both by Glasgow City Council and by the third sector and community networks that support refugees in Glasgow.
Later this year Sweden will go to the polls for the general election. With the pre-electoral debate in full swing, the political issues receiving the most attention are integration and migration. In this context it appears political parties are competing over which might promote a restrictive integration and migration political agenda.