Whatever the outcome of today’s General Election, NACCOM is asking the next Government to adopt these key policies to #EndDestitution amongst people seeking asylum, refugees and other migrants with no recourse to public funds.
Hazel Williams, NACCOM’s National Director, commented: “Destitution has a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of people each year who come to the UK – often fleeing violence, persecution and war – seeking our Government’s protection, only to find themselves at the mercy of an inhumane asylum system. We call on the next Government to respect the human rights of all those who seek sanctuary here by making these key policy changes.”
- Provide safe and adequate housing and support for people seeking asylum and those who have been refused but are unable to leave the UK.
Too many people fall through the gaps at different stages in their asylum process. The asylum support system needs to be redesigned to provide end-to-end support for people.
- Lift the Ban – Allow people seeking asylum the right to work.
NACCOM supports the #LiftTheBan campaign, which believes that people who have risked everything to find safety should have the best chance of contributing to our society and integrating into our communities. This means giving people seeking asylum the right to work so that they can use their skills and live in dignity.
- Extend the 28-day move-on period for newly granted refugees to a minimum of 56 days.
Research published by NACCOM this year showed that newly recognised refugees are increasingly at risk of homelessness. Extending to move-on period to at least 56 days would give those newly granted status longer to access housing support and find accommodation before they are evicted, and bring Home Office policy in line with other government departments tackling homelessness.
- Reinstate legal aid for all asylum matters, and ensure sufficient provision.
Even for those who are still eligible for legal aid, accessing it has become increasingly difficult due to a shortage of practitioners and more stringent requirements. Access to justice must be guaranteed and legal aid needs to be reinstated for all asylum matters.
- Provide legal status to people who have been refused the right to remain, but for whom it is impossible to return home.
When people are refused the right to remain, it is often the case that they cannot simply return home. Left in limbo without any means to support themselves, they are at risk from exploitation and abuse. Granting a legal status would ensure they can settle safely and contribute to society.