Petition to End the Safe Return Review Policy
Advocacy 11 April 2017
The Home Office has recently announced a new policy which will review whether all refugees require protection at the end of a five year initial period of leave.
Up until now, people granted refugee status would be given an initial period of five years of limited leave and at the end of that period they would automatically be granted settlement, unless they had contravened the law in some way. However, it’s now been changed so that five years from being granted refugee status, the Home Office will do a ‘safe country review‘ which will determine whether the country of origin is now ‘safe’ for return.
This is going to be really detrimental to all people with – or seeking – refugee status, but it is most likely going to disproportionately affect women and girls for whom proving risk of FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence will be difficult.
And what’s more, it’s creating an environment of precariousness and fear – which is supposed to end when someone gets their papers. The threat of forced return – and of having to undergo the re-traumatising process again after five years will negatively impact a sense of security and the chance for meaningful integration. Because refugees, employers, colleges and refugees themselves can no longer assume someone will qualify for settlement, it will be harder for refugees to find work, commit to education/training and simply to settle down and rebuild their lives.