The Government is going against its own guidance and allowing asylum seekers to fall into destitution, charity warns.
A report published yesterday by Refugee Action has found some of the most vulnerable people seeking protection are being wrongly denied assistance or are suffering long delays to get the support they are entitled to.
According to the Government’s guidance, the Home Office has a duty to prevent people seeking asylum falling into destitution and hardship while their claims are processed.
This period is often very lengthy and the applicants are not allowed to work.
However, the charity’s research found asylum seekers waiting an average of nearly two months (58 days) for what is known as Section 95 support — housing and £5.28 a day for essential living costs, including food, clothing and transport.
Based on an analysis of 300 cases, Refugee Action’s research revealed that some were waiting even longer than this two month period.
One man from Eritrea was left without this basic allowance for almost 10 months (308 days) and was granted refugee status before he was granted asylum support.
More than half of people in crisis, who are in desperate need of a roof over their head and a proper meal, had their application for emergency, or Section 98, support refused.
But the vast majority (92%) of these applications were approved shortly afterwards when people challenged the decision. The charity noted this caused unnecessary stress and uncertainty for people in precarious situations.
The charity also found people were being left for more than a month in unsuitable, temporary accommodation, with children unable to attend school and vulnerable people left without legal advice or access to a GP.
‘Our research exposes the appalling treatment of families and individuals who have escaped war and persecution abroad, only to be badly let down here in Britain,’ said Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action.
‘The failure of the Home Office to follow their own policies has frequently left people homeless, and unable to feed themselves and their families.
‘The Government must take urgent action to prevent some of the most vulnerable people in our society slipping through the cracks of the system.’