A private firm that houses asylum seekers will stop making them wear coloured wristbands after the policy was criticised. Asylum seekers housed by Clearsprings had been told to wear the wristbands at all times or they would not be fed. The wristbands have resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public.
Clearsprings Ready Homes, which has a contract with the Home Office to accommodate newly arrived asylum seekers in Cardiff, defended the used of the wristbands but stated: “We are always reviewing the way we supply our services and have decided to cease the use of wristbands as of Monday 25 January and will look for an alternative way of managing the fair provision of support.”
Asylum seekers in the UK are not allowed to work or claim mainstream benefits. Some receive a small amount of money or an Azure card to use in supermarkets.
But newly arrived asylum seekers, placed in what is known as initial accommodation by the Home Office, receive neither money nor an Azure card. They are placed in hotel-style accommodation and given three basic meals a day.
Adam Hundt of Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors said: “Asylum seekers are a very scared and vulnerable group and the last thing they want to do is stand out from the crowd.
In some areas it can be dangerous for them to do so, so it is easy to understand how asylum seekers feel they are being branded with these brightly coloured wristbands which draw unwelcome attention to them and make them feel ashamed. It is particularly concerning that wearing the wristbands is linked to whether or not they get food or go hungry. It should be possible to come up with a system to ensure that people are fed without publicly humiliating them and undermining race relations.”