Thursday, 10 July 2008

Failed Asylum seekers

Hi all

Just got back from Geneva where I was doing a (very short!) presentation to the UN Human Rights Committee on peace tax. Incidentally I got to overhear the committee taking British government officials to task over the destitution of failed asylum seekers. The officials' response (which I've heard before) was that failed asylum seekers are entitled to accommodation and vouchers until deportation. How does this square with the apparent destitution of many failed asylum seekers? Is it just that asylum claims are unfairly rejected so often that people "voluntarily" disappear out of the system for fear of deportation, and so choose not to claim the limited benefits offered? Or are the officials simply wrong in what they're saying? It'd be worth knowing the answer, since the government trots this line out so regularly.

1 comment:

Craig Barnett said...

Hi Simon,
The main reason that so many refused asylum-seekers become destitute is the conditions attached to the support that is offered them. Basically, they have to agree to return to their country of origin as soon as the UK government is able to arrange it.
For many people, whose claims have been refused but who know that their lives are still at risk if they return, it is impossible to agree to this, and they then become destitute.
There are other probems with the 'Section 4' support offered to refused asylum-seekers, including delays in processing applications, and the frequent requirement to move cities away from existing support networks. The main issue though, is that many people are so scared of returning to their country of origin that it is better to be homeless and destitute than to agree to it.
My blogger Friend 'Jeremiah' has more on this subject in his latest post at: