In response to a previous article on complaining to the media, we were asked to provide ammunition in the form of exactly what asylum seekers do get whilst waiting for a decision. there are so many incidences of tabloids reporting asylum seekers of living in the lap of luxury and costing a huge amount to accommodate, it is necessary to point out the facts.
Ammunition for complainers, if you fancy.
Great question Christopher, here’s the reality of an asylum seeker’s plight in the UK:
Cash entitlements for asylum seekers
A married couple are entitled to £72.52 per week, compared with the Job Seekers Allowance of £105.95. A single parent will get £43.94 (aged 18+) whereas the JSA pays £67.50. A 16-18 year old will get £39.80, a job seeker of that age is entitled to £53.45. Overall an asylum seeker will get approximately 60 – 75% of what a job seeker is entitled to. The government claims a jobseeker will typically receive the amount they need to live on – or less.
Asylum seekers who have had their claims denied, are destitute and are, for example making moves to return to their country of origin are given an ‘Azure Card’ which works similarly to an oyster card on London transport. An Azure Card has a weekly amount of £35.39 charged on the card, can only be used for essential items and only £5 can be carried over from one week to the next. The cards can only be used in a very limited number of outlets.
Housing for asylums seekers is provided when the asylum seeker is destitute (homeless and unable to afford to eat). There is no choice of where the accommodation will be provided. According to the UKBA website, housing is usually only available in the north west, north east, midlands,Wales and Scotland. An asylum seeker does not receive Housing Benefit or any other money to pay rent with. Experience shows that much of the housing provided for asylum seekers is in inaccessible locations, in very poor condition and would be incredibly difficult to rent on the market.
Asylum Seekers are not allowed to work in the UK. After waiting for a decision for one year, they may ask for permission to work. Permission will not be granted to become self employed and there is a list of “shortage occupations” administered by UKBA, an asylum seeker with permission to work is limited to these occupations should s/he find a job.
UKBA report that 59% of claims are dealt with within 30 days of the claim first being made. However, there are currently 28,000 cases that have been moved to the Case Audit and Assurance Unit (CAAU), there is no published timeframe for such cases.
So, when you read of asylum seekers living the life of Riley in the lap of luxury, in the south of England several alarms bells should ring, you should reach for your computer and start a complaint.
And finally… Another Word against Bogus
We cannot stress this too much, but there is no such thing as a bogus asylum seeker. It is a universal right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for anyone to seek asylum. Furthermore countries that have ratified the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights – that includes the UK –are not permitted to return asylum seekers to countries in which they are at risk of persecution or torture.
The decision making in this field by the Home Office is very poor. About 28% of asylum appeals were overturned by the courts in 2009, and it remains notoriously difficult to gain refugee status in the UK.