ASYLUM seekers in Glasgow are now under threat of being thrown onto the streets after a landmark legal appeal ruled in favour of a home office contractor.

The Court of Session has backed a decision to allow asylum housing provider Serco to carry out lock-change evictions without a legal challenge.

The ruling effectively means that around 150 refugees in the city are now at risk of being made street homeless in the cold of winter, setting a precedent for hundreds more.

The appeal, brought forward by solicitor Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre, was heard in September after a ruling earlier this year on the legality of the practise.

READ MORE: Verdict on lock-change evictions on Glasgow asylum seekers set for Supreme Court challenge

Mr Dailly, who represents Shakar Ali, in whose name the case was brought, has said the reality of people being made street homeless by a Home Office contractor is ‘inhumane’.

He added: “I think this is a truly sad day for human rights law in Scotland. The effect of today’s ruling is that the UK Government can outsource its statutory and international legal obligations as a private company.

“Scotland’s highest civil court has ruled that Scotland’s asylum seekers can be evicted without the need to go to court.

“How does that fit with a modern, progressive, outward-looking, 21st century Scotland? What does it say to the international community?

READ MORE: 'How can they lock our door and put us on the street?': Asylum seekers speak out after Serco judgement

“What is going to happen to several hundred people in Glasgow? We can’t, approaching winter, have 300 plus people turfed out onto the streets, it is just inhumane.”

Charities and campaigners supporting at-risk asylum seekers in Glasgow have condemned the decision, claiming it creates a system of ‘housing apartheid’.

Robina Qureshi of Positive Action in Housing said: “What it has done is to legally institute a form of housing apartheid in Glasgow, where one side of our community have their housing and human rights upheld, yet another very vulnerable community can be dragged from their homes at any time and turfed out into the streets.

“Serco and other asylum landlords now have carte blanche and the freedom to do this.

“We had hoped that a positive decision would give inspiration to other campaigns across the UK. But the fight does not stop here. We are ready for it.”

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Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive at Scottish Refugee Council, added: “This galling verdict leaves hundreds of men and women in Glasgow at risk of lock-change evictions and immediate street homelessness.

“People are very anxious and very stressed. People have no options. On top of this, there is already a homelessness crisis in Glasgow that this decision will only contribute to.”

In July 2018 Serco announced they would seek to remove asylum seekers from their homes using lock-changes, with around 300 people affected.

While many have now progressed their legal cases, and Serco have lost the contract to provide such housing, around 150 people remain under their care and at risk.

READ MORE: Glasgow asylum seekers' anxious wait for court decision on lock-change evictions

Serco’s Julia Rogers said: “For some eighteen months we have been supporting people whose asylum claims have failed, providing free accommodation and utilities. We have listened to the public concerns that the process to take back the properties they were living in might be unfair or illegal, but we now have clear judgements from Scotland’s highest court that our approach is completely proper and within the law.

“During this time Serco has been demonised and subject to extreme criticism, and the fact that we have spent millions of pounds supporting people who no longer have a right to remain in the UK and providing them with free accommodation, has been widely ignored. We have been told we are singlehandedly responsible for creating a housing crisis, but the fact is that over recent months the number of people affected by this judgement has halved and now stands at around 150 and there has been no reported increase in housing issues in Glasgow as a result.

“We will be working with the Authorities and the Sheriffs Court in Glasgow to ensure an orderly sensitive application of the law. Subject to the Interdicts issued by the Sheriffs Court, Serco would not seek to remove more than 20 people in any one week from their properties, so it will take us several months at least to finally hand back all properties to their owners.”