Don't Miss
Home / Lead News / UK asylum seekers who face destitution ‘wait months’ for support

UK asylum seekers who face destitution ‘wait months’ for support

Charity criticises government over delays in official help for those claiming asylum
Asylum seekers deemed to be facing imminent destitution are still being forced to wait months for government support, a leading charity has warned.
A person who has claimed asylum can receive financial support – £5.39 a day – and accommodation within 14 days if they are considered to be destitute or facing destitution under current legislation.
But after analysing 162 applications for asylum support in the year to May, Refugee Action found the average length of time people waited for a decision on their support was 46 days – more than three times the 14-day estimate.
Some are waiting far longer, the charity said, with five people waiting more than 100 days before their application for support was granted.
Among the cases analysed by the charity was a woman who was six months pregant who was facing homelessness after she waited more than three months for a response to her family’s asylum support application.
Another woman waited 170 days for an asylum support decision, during which time she gained refugee status and as a result never received the support to which she was entitled.
The charity also flagged problems with the Home Office’s IT system for recording asylum support applications, known as Atlas. Since its introduction in March, average waiting times have soared more than fourfold from 12 days in February to 51 in April.
Stephen Hale, the chief executive of Refugee Action, said: “Forcing people who have fled violence and persecution into homelessness and poverty in Britain is morally indefensible.
“We’ve repeatedly asked the Home Office to address the ongoing delays and IT failures that are leaving vulnerable people destitute and unable to feed themselves or their families, and to be open and accountable for its decisions.
“These cruel delays are further evidence of an asylum system in urgent need of reform to ensure it is fair, effective and compassionate.”
Asylum seekers who have had their claim refused are also entitled to support while they wait to leave the country. Refugee Action found they were waiting an average of 36 days for a decision on their application for support.
The analysis published on Monday comes a year after Refugee Action released a report, Slipping Through the Cracks, which looked at the impact of long delays on people seeking asylum.
The charity says the Home Office has not acted on its key recommendations from last year’s report to make decisions on claims for support within 14 days.
The Home Office has been approached for comment.