News and Information
Asylum Seekers

An asylum seeker is a person who has been forced to flee their home country and seek the protection of another state due to a claim of persecution as defined under international law.

It is a right under international law for any person to seek sanctuary and claim political asylum. The claim must be founded on specific legitimate reasons for that person to stand a chance of making a successful application for asylum.

They must generally prove persecution on grounds of race, religion or political beliefs, to have a chance of being granted refugee status. They must also show that they are unable to seek or avail themselves of the protection from such persecution by their own government. In some circumstances people may make a case for humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain. (See Refugees and granted “Leave to Remain” below)

Awaiting a decision on an Asylum Claim
There are many myths around the services given to asylum seekers, but the reality is that they are dispersed into temporary housing by the Home Office on a no choice basis and forbidden access to state benefits or taking up employment. So, by law, they are unable to support themselves unless they have independent wealth or assets at their disposal.

If they have no ability to support themselves, and no personal assets, they are supported financially by the government at around 70% of what any other person would receive in income support.

Asylum seekers are entitled to receive health care and children are by law entitled to and must have full and immediate access to education.

There are;

  • NO free mobile phones
  • NO free cars
  • NO free TV licences
  • NO choice as to where in the UK they are housed

The entitlement to free legal aid has in recent years been greatly reduced and the asylum system has been subject to many legislative changes. In 2007 the UKBA introduced the New Asylum Model, (NAM) which provided a faster, firmer and, it is claimed, fairer approach in dealing with new applicants.

NAM established a case owner service at regional levels and has greatly reduced the time taken to assess an application. Many people who had come to the UK found themselves waiting many years for a final decision and in some cases they had begun to build a new life only to finally be refused and be told they must leave the UK. Under the new system, people are placed into “Initial Accommodation” services to allow a quick assessment of their claim, and to present their case to the authorities before being dispersed around the UK. This normally takes between 14 and 21 days. The current UKBA target is to give a final decision on the asylum case within 6 months.

By necessity, all of the properties to which asylum seekers are dispersed are fully furnished and equipped and must be maintained to a high standard for both health and safety purposes and quality assurances under the terms of the contract. They must remain in the property until their case for asylum in the UK is decided. Under the terms of the contract once that decision is made by the government, they must leave the property and are not allowed to keep any of the furniture or equipment.