The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees has launched an inquiry into the experiences of new refugees in the UK. The inquiry will consider the experiences of refugees who have claimed asylum in the UK, as well as those of refugees who have arrived in the UK through other paths, such as resettlement. In particular, the inquiry will focus on the integration of new refugees, including success in finding employment, securing accommodation and, where appropriate, help with English language skills.

The inquiry, launched on 19 July 2016, is led by a cross-party committee of MPs and peers, chaired by Thangam Debbonaire MP. Secretariat support is being provided by the Refugee Council.

The inquiry will explore the experiences of refugees who have either been recently recognised as refugees after making an application for asylum in the UK or who have been resettled to the UK. In particular, the inquiry will examine the support available, both from statutory bodies and civil society, and how this helps refugees to feel welcome and integrate in the UK. This includes, but is not limited to consideration of:

  • the effectiveness of any Government refugee integration strategy
  • the support available to refugees to help them gain access to the job market and other services
  • what impact, if any, the type of immigration leave granted to refugees in the UK has on their integration
  • what differences there are in the support available to refugees who have arrived in the UK after being resettled compared to those who have gone through the UK asylum system
  • what barriers, if any, there are to refugees integrating in the UK
  • whether there are particular barriers to integration faced by different groups of refugees, for example by women or LGBTI refugees

The panel will also look at what measures are in place to support communities who are providing a home to refugees and what more could be done to support those communities.

Tell us your views

The inquiry panel invites written evidence from a broad range of stakeholders, including government representatives and civil servants, local authorities, charities, researchers, and voluntary organisations working with refugees and refugees themselves. Evidence from people who have direct personal experience of the support systems for newly arrived and newly recognised refugees in the UK is particularly welcome.

Here is a helpful template for providing evidence. Testimony-template-form-appg

For people who have experience of being a refugee in the UK, the panel would welcome evidence about:

  • What were your experiences of being a newly resettled or newly recognised refugee in the UK?
  • Did you/do you have any support from any organisations to help you access services, such as doctors’ appointments or housing?
  • Were there/are there any services that were easier to access? Were there/are there any services that were more difficult to access?
For organisations and people who work with/support refugees in the UK, the panel would welcome evidence regarding:
  • How far does current UK policy and legislation allow newly resettled and newly recognised refugees to integrate and rebuild their lives here?
  • Are there any particular barriers that newly resettled and newly recognised refugees face?
  • Are there any areas of good practice where refugees are being supported successfully? Are there any differences in support in the different regions of the UK?
  • Is support provided to vulnerable refugees, including those who are disabled or who have been victims of torture, adequate?
  • Do particular groups of new refugees, such as LGBTI refugees or refugee women, face any specific barriers to experiencing a welcome in Britain?
  • What support is available to local communities who are accommodating refugees? What more could be done to support local communities who may be impacted by refugees?

We understand that many of the organisations working with refugees are small and/or may only work on specific issues within this inquiry may be unable to provide comprehensive evidence on all points. We would welcome your views on the basis of the experiences and expertise that you have.  If you work directly with a small organisation and want help with facilitating a session to gather evidence, we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help with that. Please see the contact details below.

The deadline for submitting written evidence is 1 October 2016. Ideally, submissions should not be longer than 3,000 words, and previously published evidence may be submitted for this inquiry. Please be aware that submissions may be published unless exemption is requested. If an organisation or person request that their evidence be published anonymously it will be published but without naming the submitter (i.e. under the title ‘anonymous’).
The Refugee Council provide the secretariat to the APPG on Refugees, and evidence will be submitted via them.

EMAIL
Please send electronic evidence to [email protected]refugeecouncil.org.uk. Electronic evidence should be submitted in Word (or equivalent) format.

POST
You can send a hard copy of your evidence to: Jonathan Featonby, Refugee Council, PO Box 68614, London, E15 9DQ.

ANY QUESTIONS?
For updates on the progress, and for the full terms of reference, of the inquiryplease visit http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/refugees_welcome_inquiry

Or follow the inquiry on twitter using the twitter handle @APPGRefugees or the hashtag #refugeesinquiry

For questions or to add your name to the mailing list please contact Jonathan Featonby at [email protected]refugeecouncil.org.uk

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