Serco to pause on asylum seekers evictions after legal challenge

Contractor Serco has announced the pause after heavy criticism from the sector, and an impending legal challenge.

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Plans to evict 300 asylum seekers from properties has been paused by Serco.

Last week the company announced the move, with criticism from all over the housing sector following shortly after.

Serco leases many of the homes it provides to asylum seekers from housing associations.

CEO at Scottish Federation of Housing Associations says Serco must “learn lessons” from this.

She said: “SFHA members have been quick to act, responding with integrity, compassion and common sense in this worrying situation.

“SFHA is pleased Serco has heeded the housing sector by pausing their plans.

“SFHA calls on Serco to learn lessons from this situation so that going forward a ‘pathway approach’ is adopted so that every person in their care has a clearly defined process and support in place allowing each individual to plan their next steps well in advance of any Home Office decision.”

One housing association in Scotland with homes leased to Serco are Wheatley Group.

Last night they penned an open letter, where it emerged that Serco have not responded to Wheatley’s questions about eviction details.

In the letter, Wheatley Group CEO, Martin Armstrong, said: “Since last week we have been trying, through emails and phone calls to senior managers at Serco, to establish how many, if any, refugees threatened by imminent eviction are living in our homes, an when the evictions are scheduled.

“Despite insisting on an immediate and urgent response, we have not received answers to our questions.

“I can confirm also we have written to Serco Chief Executive Rupert Soames to inform him we wish to convert the leases of refugees living in our homes, who have a legal right to be in Scotland and the UK, into Scottish secure tenancies.

“As you know, this ‘flipping’ of the lease agreement would remove the threat of eviction and is something we have carried out successfully previously.”

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