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SESPM Topical Issues

SESPM Topical Issues

Refugees – South East update

The majority of South East local authorities are accommodating refugees as part of the Government commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. The refugee resettlement scheme has now been extended to include a further 3,000 people in families from the Middle East and North Africa and SESPM continues to receive pledges from South East local authorities to place refugees. SESPM co-ordinates refugee arrivals to the South East and works closely with local authorities to match the individual needs of arrivals with pledges received.

SESPM also provides support and information to help local authorities make the best use of Government funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to help refugees learn English. SESPM has commissioned a ‘how to guide’ on delivering ESOL and a helpdesk to provide information on ESOL and offer support with commissioning of new ESOL provision. South East authorities participating in any of the resettlement programmes can contact the helpdesk via southeastesol@learningandwork.org.uk.

Further information on SESPM activities and the support it provides to local authorities is available from SESPM Head of Partnership Roy Millard. Contact him at roymillard@secouncils.gov.uk

Further information on the national scheme is available from LGA, which has published a one-stop resource for councils to answer questions about the local authority role in resettling refugees. The LGA information includes updates on the details of a funding package to assist local authorities who offer to help refugees. The package includes financial support for councils. LGA has also produced a guide to support available to local authorities resettling refugees after the first year.

South East residents who want to offer accommodation should contact their local authority directly. Residents who want to donate money or goods should visit the Home Office advice page, which lists organisations to contact

SESPM also offers support and advice to groups looking to develop a Community Sponsorship model alongside the local authority programme to support the resettlement of vulnerable people fleeing conflict.

At the start of the resettlement programme SEEC and SESPM  published a Member Briefing on the Syrian Refugee Relocation in September 2015, an updated member briefing in November 2015 and a further update in April 2016.

National Transfer Scheme and Children’s Programmes

A National Transfer Scheme (NTS) for unaccompanied children came into operation on 1 July 2016 and SESPM has been delivering a coordination function to support placement of children in local authorities in the South East where capacity allows.

The partnership has a seconded Principal Social Worker, Sarah Spain, who is assisting councils on Migrant Children.  Sarah is providing expert support which covers Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC), transferred to the UK under the  so called ‘Dubs’ amendment (section 67 of the 2016 Immigration Act) and others arriving under the Dublin III regulation, which allows children to be reunited with family living in the UK.

This work includes organising practitioner training in key areas including Age Assessment, Trauma Training and Child Trafficking as well as coordinating a practitioners’ group. SESPM also sits on the National Police Chiefs Council task and finish group on UASC issues.

For more information please contact sarahspain@secouncils.gov.uk

Refugee Resettlement Workshops and Community Sponsorship

South East authorities provide a significant contribution to the Refugee Resettlement Programmes i.e. Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS) and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS).

In supporting our authorities SESPM runs quarterly multi-agency workshops for practitioners addressing key areas such as cultural orientation, health, education, reporting requirements, financial arrangements and topical issues.

We are grateful to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for their ongoing support in delivering these workshops. This is an example of a typical agenda.

SESPM is supported in delivering the resettlement programmes and coordinating these workshops by an expert Programme Coordinator, Susan Fawcus; for further information please contact Susan on sespm@secouncils.gov.uk.

In addition to the local authority-led model for refugee resettlement, SESPM is assisting in providing information and raising awareness about the Community Sponsorship model. Full community sponsorship is a way that community groups can be involved in supporting the resettlement of vulnerable people fleeing conflict.

Assisted Voluntary Returns and Voluntary Departures

Some people choose to return to their country of origin through a Voluntary Departure scheme.

SESPM works with the Home Office Voluntary Departure Unit to promote awareness of the voluntary return options for people with irregular immigration status or who have an outstanding asylum claim. SESPM sits on the national Voluntary Returns Steering group and connects our partners with the Voluntary Returns Unit through our South East No Recourse to Public Funds and Sub-Regional meetings.

Migration Data

SESPM contributes to SEEC’s twice-yearly data dashboard, reporting key trends in migration across the South East. Headline Statistics are included in the dashboard. The Home Office gives quarterly updates on immigration statistics and Local Area Migration indicators are produced by the Office for National Statistics on a yearly basis.

Modern Slavery

SESPM has been working with many partners to fight modern slavery in the UK. To find out more information, please look at our Modern Slavery page.

Impacts of Irregular Migration in local areas in the South East

SESPM worked with the University of Reading to research the impacts of irregular migration. This work aims to identify and fill evidence gaps around why people become visa-overstayers and the impact that this has on society and the economy, including labour markets. Headline findings from this research cover:

  • Work is a key driver
  • High housing costs in the SE do not appear to be a significant barrier
  • Existing networks play a significant role in determining the flow & destinations of irregular migrants
  • The SE proximity to London and relative diversity may reduce the visibility of irregular migration
  • The impact on public services and how they are/are not accessed
  • The role of irregular migration in meeting employment gaps.

Migrant skills and the South East economy

In July 2017 SEEC and SESPM ran a workshop on Brexit, migration and skills in the South East economy. Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva of the Oxford University Migration Observatory set out an analysis of economic migration and the impact of EU workers on the South East. 17% of South East residents (925,000) were born outside the UK, of which 42% (384,000) are EU nationals (making up 7% of the total South East workforce).  Significant numbers of EU nationals in the South East work in the banking and finance, public administration, education, health & care and construction sectors.

Sectors and Skills – in 2012 SESPM worked with the University of Reading to identify migrant skills and occupations within the South East. This work highlights the significance of migrant labour to the South East and UK economy, identifies the sectors and occupations migrants are working in and provides a comparison between employment of migrant and native labour over a five year period. Available here are the executive summary, main report and appendices  1-3, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a and 6b.

Labour reliance – A major piece of research identified potential skills gaps in LEP areas as a result of the cap on non-EU migrants entering theUK. Seven reports below outline the situation in 7 LEP areas which have a footprint in the South East:

2012 Data for the South East as a whole, Coast to Capital, Enterprise M3, Essex, Kent & East Sussex, Oxfordshire City Region, Solent, Thames Valley Bucks and Thames Valley Berkshire.

2010 Data Coast to CapitalEnterprise M3Essex, Kent & East SussexOxfordshire City RegionSolentSouth East Midlands; and Thames Valley.

Bulgarian and Romanian migration – SESPM commissioned this report from the University of Reading to provide partners across the South East with an independent, practical planning resource to respond to any increase in migration from Bulgaria and Romania from January 2014 onwards.

The report helps local organisations develop a proactive approach to forward planning and effectively assessing and addressing any local impacts. Published in November 2013, review the Executive summary or read the full report.

Gurkha Community

The 2011 census identified that the South East region is home to the largest Nepalese population in the UK with 40% of the total residing here. A full breakdown shows the locations and numbers of Nepalese communities across the area.

Research in 2010 reported on the integration and settlement of Gurkha communities living in the South East of England. Amid concerns that the growing Gurkha community might increase costs for local authorities with a high Gurkha population, the research found a very high level of economic activity among Gurkha families in the South East. See also a brief summary of the research findings or read the full report.

This project received coverage in the media, highlighting the Ghurkhas’ contribution to the economy.

Integration Project(s)

SESPM has been working proactively to jointly co-ordinate an effective coalition of regional partners to deliver shared integration goals.

A particular outcome of this was the development of the South Coast Integration Partnership (SCIP) covering local authority and voluntary sector partners in Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton & Hove. The partnership demonstrates a model which can be replicated across the South East.

The Controlling Migration Fund was announced in November 2016 and it is designed to support local areas facing pressures linked to recent immigration.

The Fund will be available over the 4 years from 2016-17 to 2019-20, and is in 2 parts:

  • A local service impacts part of £100 million, to help English local authorities and their communities experiencing high and unexpected volumes of immigration to ease pressures on local services.
  • An enforcement part worth £40 million to direct enforcement action against people in the UK illegally in order to reduce the pressure on local areas.

Impact on Policing

SESPM and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) worked to establish a baseline strategic assessment into the impacts of migration on policing in the South East. The headline findings from this research cover:

  • Understanding the Context of Migration.
  • The Need for Cultural Awareness
  • Interpretation and Translation Costs
  • Destitution and Street Living
  • Local Expertise and specialist knowledge
  • The Role of First Response
  • Migrants as Victims and Perpetrators of Crime:
  • Data Gaps.

Positive Futures Project

The Positive Futures pilot project addressed a key issue affecting former Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children who become Appeal Rights Exhausted when turning age 18. This can lead to a state of limbo during which time these young people are not entitled to work, education or benefits, which increases their vulnerability to exploitation. The project identified the key barriers that these young people cited as preventing them considering a voluntary return to their country of origin as enforced returns are often complex and lengthy.

SESPM and the Centre for Public Innovation  jointly led the delivery of a pilot project which worked  with a cohort of young asylum seekers aged between 18-25 years to make active steps to overcoming barriers to considering voluntary return.

This project was evaluated by the University of Kent and two key policy recommendations presented to the Home Office.

17/07/2014 – Final Report from the Positive Futures roundtable event.

 

The work of SESPM is funded by the Home Office. For more information on South East Strategic Partnership for Migration contact Roy Millard at South East Councils –roymillard@secouncils.gov.uk 01304 872186