The lead Catholic bishop for migration and asylum has joined over 20 organisations working with asylum seekers and refugees in calling for a grant of a period of ‘leave to remain’ to those with insecure immigration status.
A joint letter drafted by Jesuit Refugee Service UK calls on the Prime Minister to protect public health and the welfare by granting a period of ‘leave to remain’ to those awaiting decisions from the Home Office, those who have been refused asylum and those who are undocumented.
Such a period of leave is a vital step to protect public health during the pandemic, they said. People with insecure immigration status face multiple barriers to accessing support, housing and healthcare, and allowing people to regularise their status is the most effective way of ensuring they get the support they need, thereby protecting UK society as a whole.
“I fully support this call to protect asylum seekers and refugees,” said Bishop Paul McAleenan, chair of the Catholic bishops’ Office for Migration Policy. “In this crisis everyone without exception is given the right to protect themselves from Covid-19 and to receive medical treatment if necessary.
“Those without permanent status should be given the opportunity and means to do so, to social distance, to self isolate, to access healthcare and so lessen the possibility of jeopardising public health,” he added.
Picture: Migrants Mass 2019. (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk).