In its sustained quest to reduce the inflow of migrants, the United Kingdom government has offered Namibian asylum seekers reintegration packages of about N$68 000 (£3 000) to return home. The deal has also been extended to those living illegally in the UK’s territory.
The latest offering is contained in a communique sent on Monday by the UK Home Office to the Namibian High Commission in London.
In it, the UK government assured its preparedness to pay Namibian asylum seekers reintegration incentives of around £3 000 per person, provided that they voluntarily agree to return to Namibia.
“The United Kingdom Home Office has advised the High Commission formally that they are ready to provide assistance, for any Namibian national in the UK with no legal immigration status or without the right to remain in the UK, and who wishes to return to Namibia voluntarily.
“The voluntary return services will provide support to plan your departure, offer a dignified route of return, help you leave quickly or giving you enough time to make suitable arrangements, help you get a travel document (this is with the assistance of the High Commission), cover the cost of your return flight and provide reintegration packages of up to £3 000 per person,” reads part of the missive seen by New Era.
It is dated 31 July 2023.
Hundreds of Namibian asylum seekers are scattered all across major centres of the UK, which consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, the UK’s latest offering is in sharp contrast to what the Otjisuta Otjetu Oveni Foundation is proposing.
The foundation, which is registered with BIPA as a non-profit organisation, was founded with the sole aim of protecting the interests and rights of over 1 200 Namibian asylum seekers in the UK.
The foundation is proposing that the UK government should rather commit to pay each returning asylum seeker an amount of about N$244 000, which the foundation strongly feels will be adequate to enable the returnees to become self-employed, pursue academic opportunities and cover healthcare once back home.
Otjisuta Otjetu Oveni Foundation is further proposing that the return of asylum seekers should be coordinated through a two-year initiative in conjunction with the UK government.
“In doing so, the initiative will help to maintain the integrity of the UK immigration system. The project will meet the requirements to comply with the statutory child safeguarding duty under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The project will complete 1 200 formal engagement events with affected asylum seekers and family units that have no lawful right to remain in the UK or if they have indicated they wish to leave the UK voluntarily.
“The main focus should be to encourage families to return voluntarily through use of the Voluntary Returns Service (VRS), which includes a financial package used to access education, healthcare, training, accommodation etc., and allows families to have control over their return, affording them dignity, and safeguarding children. The proposed project will provide 24 months’ support for 1 200 deported/returned and resettled asylum seekers to Namibia to ease their integration into their communities and the Namibian society. The aim is to support 600 beneficiaries per year over the course of the two-year project,” the foundation proposed.
The recent developments come less than two weeks since the British government decided to revoke its visa-free entry for Namibia, citing the gesture’s abuse.
Four months ago, New Era reported that wheels were in motion in the United Kingdom (UK) to change Namibia’s status due to purported abuse of asylum and other immigration laws.
“The UK government has announced today (19 July 2023) that, with immediate effect, all Namibian nationals will need a visa before travelling to the UK, including to visit,” read part of the statement issued by the British High Commission in Windhoek.
The decision to impose a visa regime was made due to a sustained and significant increase in the number of UK asylum applications from Namibian nationals at UK borders since 2016.
“This constitutes an abuse of the provision to visit the UK for a limited period as non-visa nationals.”
Caption: Euros…The UK government has offered Namibian asylum seekers N$68 000 (£3 000) to return home.