Should Social Workers Be Part of the Immigration System and Border Control?

thumbnail of refugee and asylum seeker good practice guide (webversion) finalUNISON along with SASW and refugee support organisations are concerned at reports from England that social workers are being asked to share information on anyone who approaches them for help whose immigration status might be uncertain.

A computerised programme called CONNECT is being widely deployed with the expectation that social work staff enter details which are then picked up by Border Control staff who check details against immigration records.

Already this has led to deportation action against individuals and families. Our view is that this breaches data sharing law unless specific and informed consent is sought. Ethically we do not believe that this lies within the role and remits of either social workers or their local authority employers.

As far as we know CONNECT is not being used in Scotland but if you know different please let us know. If members come across information sharing practices, or are asked to do this, we urge that advice is sought without delay: speak to your rep or branch.