Derby caught up in ‘asylum claim’ row

Derby social services have come under fire after claims that they
advised an expectant mother to make an asylum claim despite her
right to access council services.

The 21-year old Indian woman, who does not want to be named, was
allegedly told that in order to gain accommodation and support she
had to apply to the Home Office for asylum. She had approached the
council on the advice of her midwife, who told her to seek refuge
after noticing she had been the victim of severe domestic

However, the expectant mother’s legal advisers said such advice was
“not only unethical but pernicious in the extreme”.

Bhopinder Basi, manager of the Birmingham-based anti-poverty
charity B-MAG, said: “Our client is entitled to stay in England.
She is destitute, heavily pregnant and the victim of sustained
domestic violence. Derby Council has a statutory duty to offer her

Derby Council refused to comment except to say that it had “not
done anything illegal”.

A Home Office spokesperson said it was not illegal to advise
someone to claim asylum.

But she added that a person who had already been in the UK for
nearly a year would be unlikely to receive support under the
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, which requires asylum
seekers to apply “as soon as reasonably practical”.

“Clearly local authorities should not advise people to make false
claims for asylum but we have no powers to prevent them doing so,”
she said.

The woman is now in a women’s refuge preparing to give birth.

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