Migration news roundup

Date of issue: 20 September 2021

A selection of stories about migration-related policy, research and statistics from the past week. 

Stories that inspired us this week

A new social integration pilot in Italy centred around basketball will bring together young Italians and young migrants for a sport and education programme, backed by the Italian Olympic committee and UNICEF. [Source: Infomigrants]

Last week a local theatre of sanctuary was retelling stories of young refugees - the Freedom Project starred Hossein who previously worked with us on the Welcoming Young Refugees project. The play might be over, but you can still watch a short trailer. [Source: Leeds Playhouse]

This 1min video gives a glimpse of the initial thoughts of a family who were on a rescue flight from Kabul, and are now living in Scotland. [Source: Positive Action in Housing]

International news

The UN refugee agency has termed the situation in Afghanistan a ‘humanitarian emergency of internal displacement’ as more than half a million civilians have been displaced from the country. Meanwhile the Taliban government’s Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi has met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. They discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, and humanitarian aid. This opinion piece on the Afghan situation argues that it shows Europe hasn’t learned the real lesson on refugees. [Sources: Yahoo, Europapress, Washington Post]

In Spain there are indications of a possible shift from the Canary Islands route, with a recent increase in arrivals to the Balearics. In Italy the number of migrant sea arrivals is rising again. It’s been reported that nearly 41,000 people have reached Italian shores in 2021 but that many are denied asylum. [Source: Infomigrants, The National]

A report by the European Court of Auditors concludes the ‘inefficiencies of the EU return system act as an incentive for irregular migration’ with most people ordered to return not doing so. [Sources: European Court of Auditors, Infomigrants, Euronews]

UK borders and migration policy

The UNHCR’S representative in the UK, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, stated that the Nationality and Borders Bill could criminalise Afghans who flee the Taliban and arrive in the UK. The government has released a new policy statement about Afghan resettlement, and there’s some commentary from Free Movement. [Sources: Guardian, Gov,uk, Free Movement]

This overview of international law in relation to turning back migrants at sea is worth a read. There has been further reaction to government proposals to turn back migrant boats entering UK waters, for example from Church of England bishops who have criticised the government’s approach to migrant Channel crossings. Meanwhile there are reports of the Border Force using jet skis to turn back dinghies, and the possibility of UK-funded asylum reception centres in France. [Sources: Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, House of Commons Library]

Specific migrant groups

There are two new House of Commons Library briefings on Afghanistan:

Also on the Afghanistan situation:

A new report is critical of the conditions in hotels where asylum seekers were housed during the pandemic. [Sources: Guardian]

On EU nationals, newly released EU Settlement Scheme figures show a total of 6.16 million applications received up to the end of August, with over 450,000 applications still outstanding. The delays in decision-making have been picked up by press. Local figures, up to Q2 2021, were also included in the publication and reveal just under 330,000 applications in Yorkshire and Humber. Elsewhere, the devolved administrations call for a physical document to be issued to EU citizens with settled status, and Romanian nationals are reportedly most likely to be stopped and questioned at the border. [Sources: Home Office, Independent, Guardian]

The immigration rules published this week announce a change to the EUSS process. From 10th October, the Covid concession which covers a range of circumstances where the applicant would have exceeded the permitted absence from the UK, and broken their period of continuous residence, will cease to operate. [Source: Gov.uk]

On Hong Kong, nearly 500,000 applications for BNO passports were reportedly received by the UK government between 2019 and 2020. [Source: International Adviser]

Following a legal challenge brought by the charity Detention Action, Kent County Council will be resuming their statutory duties towards unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who arrive in the local authority. The council had previously refused to accept any more unaccompanied children into their care due to pressures on their service, leaving many children and young people under the care of the Home Office whilst waiting for placements elsewhere in the country through the National Transfer Scheme, which Kent have again called to be mandated to ensure local authorities share the responsibility for children and young people arriving on the south coast. In related news, Southend Council has agreed to take 27 young people to ease the pressure on Kent. [Sources: LGC online, Echo news]

A statue celebrating 40,000 Commonwealth NHS nurses and midwives has been unveiled outside a London hospital, following a 3 year campaign by the Nubian Jak Community Trust. [Source: Guardian]

Cohesion and integration

According to a new report, public attitudes on immigration have softened over the last few years, and the public is now more likely to see the impact of immigration on Britain as positive [46%] than negative [28%], in contrast to 2015 when 35% saw the impact as positive and 41% as negative. Most respondents agreed that British businesses should be allowed to recruit from abroad to address labour shortages. Also this week, polling commissioned by the Red Cross suggests voters are more likely than not to support prioritising asylum seekers from Afghanistan. [Sources: British Future, inews]

A new report considers the barriers faced by migrants in accessing healthcare during the pandemic. [Source: University of Birmingham]


We’ve collated points from stories in the public domain to create this page, it’s a selection and not comprehensive. For more detailed coverage of some policy issues, see our Policy briefings page


Page last updated: 20/09/2021 17:16:24

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