Campaigners and social groups working with under-threat asylum seekers have announced a new Home Office contractor has committed to not carrying out lock-change evictions.

The Mears Group, who today took over the contract to house refugees in Glasgow from Serco, have reportedly agreed to using court orders as a means of removing people from their homes.

In a letter, Mears said it would improve the support for asylum seekers, help prevent destitution and replace lock-change evictions with a proper court process, not depriving anyone of a roof over their heads.

READ MORE: Serco accused of spying on Glasgow refugees after two evictions

Asylum seekers who have already been told they cannot stay in the UK will continue to be housed by Serco, pending the outcome of legal challenges in the coming weeks.

A Mears spokesman said: “We are agreeing an approach for ‘move on’ at end of the asylum application process that best supports service users.

"We have reassured them that in cases where an individual is refused asylum we will follow the legal process and Home Office requirements, respecting all rights of review and appeal.

"We would always hope to avoid a court order, as we believe there is a better way of supporting the service user.

READ MORE: Serco could 'flee' Glasgow, leaving vulnerable refugees on the streets, campaigners say

"We will make sure that Service Users have access to advice and support, from the Home Office’s AIRE contract provider Migrant Help, to reach the best outcome and we will notify the relevant local authority to enable the move on process.”

The Evening Times also understands those accommodated by Mears will also be given a Scottish secure tenancy, the same type of tenancy as under a housing association, and that legal advice will be made available to asylum seekers.

This comes after a campaign of lock-change evictions across the city was restarted on as many as 300 people earlier this summer.

READ MORE: Mears and Home Office criticised over asylum seeker lock-change 'obligation'

The move has been welcomed by those who have defended asylum seekers, but they say more needs to be done to avoid more people facing eviction.

Scottish Refugee Council's Gary Christie, added: “Lock-change evictions are simply inhumane, and the past year has seen much fear and anxiety among communities we work with.

"We are not asking for people seeking asylum to be given preferential treatment, just the same rights afforded to everyone else in Scotland.

"We hope this is the start of a shift in how people are treated as Mears takes over from Serco this week. However, Mears have not committed to seeking court orders in all cases, and UK Government policy remains the same.

READ MORE: MP moves to protect Glasgow's asylum seekers at risk of eviction

"A fundamental shift is urgently required in the UK asylum system to prevent destitute people from constantly facing eviction and street homelessness.”

A spokesperson for Living Rent said: "While this solution is by no means perfect, it represents a significant blow to the long-standing practice of violent lock-change evictions against those made vulnerable by the hostile environment.

"These advancements were only made because organised tenants and workers, mobilising their communities and neighbours, forced a multinational corporation to the table.

READ MORE: Council asked to step up and provide housing for at-risk Glasgow asylum seekers

"In the future, we expect that landlords, corporations, and local governments will think twice about so blatantly threatening the rights of tenants in Scotland.”

Glasgow MP Chris Stephens also welcomed the move, commending asylum seeker charities and Living Rent for their work on the issue.

he added: "This is a significant attitude change and I will be pressing at Westminster to ensure there shouldn't be any lock-change evictions anywhere."