We would like to bring to your attention the publication on the UK Border Agency Website of the above-named asylum support instruction. You will find the document on the following webpage:
The new document amalgamates the current policy, clarifying and updating the information that the two previous policy documents contained. It extends the policy to cover the dispersal of any applicant for asylum support who has a medical need (sections 4, 95 & 98 of the Immigration and asylum Act 1999).
The new asylum instruction also provides far greater detail on the process for dispersing applicants with healthcare needs, including specific actions to be taken to help ensure continuation of care in the event assistance with this is required.
A major change is the introduction of the "protected period" for heavily pregnant women. The "protected period" runs from 4 weeks before the Estimated Date of Delivery until 4 weeks after the birth for heavily pregnant applicants for support. During the period, dispersal should be deferred. This is a significant shift away from the previous policy "to encourage a woman even in the late stages of pregnancy to leave the Emergency Accommodation and establish herself in her new home before the birth of the baby".
The UK Border Agency would like to thank those of you who participated in the consultation which assisted in drawing together the current policy document and also for any other views and comments that were later volunteered. They appreciate your involvement in the process.
The UK Border Agency are aware that some stakeholders would appreciate the opportunity to continue the debate on health issues and our collective responsibility to ensure continuity of care for those with healthcare needs. They will be considering options on how to take forward such discussions. They would appreciate your views on how this could be taken forward. They would also welcome notification of any specific operational point of interest (point of fact) affecting the operation of the updated policy.