Nick Hardwick, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, has
urged the government to continue with its controversial plans for
asylum seeker induction centres.
Speaking at the Refugee Council’s conference on the impact of the
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, he said: “The
government should press ahead with the induction process and ignore
the racist Nimbys [not in my back yard].”
He added that establishing the induction centres was the first step
in “restoring order and credibility” in the current system.
Hardwick’s remarks came as the government held its first public
meeting in Sittingbourne, Kent, at the end of last week over plans
to convert a hotel into an induction centre.
The meeting between Home Office officials and local authorities and
residents follows complaints that the department had failed to
consult the local community about its proposals for the Coniston
Hotel (news, page 7, 23 January).
The hotel may be converted into a centre to accommodate 111 asylum
seekers during their first seven to 10 days in the UK.
A Home Office spokesperson said the consultation would last for a
week and that the government was still looking to establish up to
10 other induction centres.
The Conservatives want all asylum seekers to be held in secure
units until they undergo security checks.
Meanwhile, the government’s policy to deny housing and financial
support to those who do not declare their status on their arrival
into the country has been challenged in the High Court.
At a brief hearing last week, Justice Maurice Kay gave permission
for two asylum seekers to have the policy judicially reviewed at a
hearing in March in what could prove to be a vital test case.