|'Illegal immigrants play the system as officials dither'|
Letter to the Editor - The Times - 24 October 2014
|Independent Investigation into sexual identity asylum claims must act as a|
‘catalyst for reform’
PRESS RELEASE 23.10.14
|UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group welcomes Theresa May's decision|
to review asylum process
PRESS RELEASE 31.3.14 UKLGIG PUBLICATIONS
The UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) is a charity that promotes equality and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people who seek asylum in the UK, or who wish to immigrate here to be with their same-sex partner.
The organisation was created in 1993, as Stonewall Immigration Group, by same sex couples and their lawyers to share information, lobby for change and inform and advise lesbians and gay men wanting to remain together in the UK on the basis of their relationship. Effective lobbying of New Labour while still in opposition resulted – after their election – in what was almost certainly the first equality initiative by any British government, the “unmarried partners concession”. At the outset in 1997, 4 yrs of prior cohabitation was required to qualify, reducing to 2 years in 1999, with the concession becoming law in 2000. In November 2004, the Civil Partnership Bill was passed. Once this legislation came into use in December 2005, it ensured equal immigration rights for same sex couples. More here
Since 2003, the focus of the group has been on assisting those who seek refuge in the UK from countries where LGBTI people are persecuted.
UKLGIG celebrated their 20 year anniversary in 2013 proud of their contribution towards immigration equality for lesbians and gay men in the UK, but well aware that our work is not yet done.
Around the world more than 80 countries consider homosexuality illegal, in five of these the death penalty can apply. Moreover, the persecution experienced by LGBT people goes well beyond any official prosecutions. The violence, humiliation, inequality and discrimination many LGBT people face, can be enacted by state officials, but is also often experienced within their own communities and families without any recourse to protection. UKLGIG assists LGBT people who have come to the UK to seek a safe haven from persecution, and supports LGBT activists who are working to change the attitudes and legislation in their home countries.
Our asylum related activities include:
Supporting LGBT asylum seekers: providing support & information via our helpline and in person; referring to solicitors; organising a monthly support meeting; visiting detention centres and running other social support projects.
Research & Policy: monitoring and researching relevant (legal) developments and issues; researching human rights in countries of origin; working to ensure LGBT people are treated equally and with dignity in the asylum process; seeking to improve the quality of UKBA decision making, and networking with organisations and individuals working on related issues in UK and internationally.
Training & Information: providing training and information on LGBT asylum issues to relevant service providers in the refugee and LGBT community, solicitors and other legal advisers, UKBA staff and the judiciary.
We also continue our same-sex partner immigration work by providing support and information via our website, an online forum and a monthly meeting, as well as monitoring legal and policy developments and responding to these as and when required.