Following the announcement that asylum support would be cut for children from 10 August 2015, the government have this week released a consultation document that proposes to:
- Repeal section 4(1) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, putting an end to support for irregular migrants who:
- Have been released from detention on bail
- Have never claimed asylum but are on temporary admission and cannot leave the UK for ‘exceptional and compelling’ reasons
- End support for refused asylum seekers with children who are currently supported under s94(5) IAA 1999.
- Remove the right of appeal against Home Office decisions to stop asylum support.
The full consultation document can be found here. Here at ASHA we are deeply concerned and troubled by these proposals that will see so many vulnerable adults and children plunged deeper into poverty. Research into why asylum seekers choose the UK as their destination will show that government policy and benefits do not feature in their reasoning. Indeed research commissioned by the Home Office itself (link below) highlights that asylum seekers’ principle aim is to reach a country of safety and “pull factors” include, available transportation, having relatives living in the UK, the belief that UK is a safe country, past colonial links and the ability to speak, or the desire to learn, English. Very little evidence was found to suggest asylum seekers are aware of benefit entitlement, availability of work or immigration and asylum legislation. The government might have more luck deterring asylum seekers if they forced us to speak Latin (which we wouldn’t put past them!). See also: Chance or Choice, Refugee Council (2010) Understanding the Decision Making of Asylum Seekers, Home Office Research Study (2002) We will be responding carefully to the proposals and urge everyone to get in touch with their MP to raise your concerns. You can write to your MP by clicking here.