Chief Inspector publishes investigation into asylum support

Ako on steps
Open your eyes to refugee destitution.

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published the findings of an investigation into asylum support.

The report examines the process of administering asylum support, with a particular focus on timeliness and quality of decision making.

The investigation reveals delays in decision making on asylum support claims, with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) frequently failing to meet its own targets to administer support to vulnerable people. According to the report, 41% of applications for Section 4 support - provided to destitute asylum seekers with no other recourse to public funds - were not considered within UKVI's target time frame.

Premature termination of support

For people granted refugee status, asylum support should only be terminated when a person receives their Biometric Residence Permit, a document which allows the holder to access mainstream benefits and the job market.

However, in 63% of cases, this did not happen and refugees’ support was stopped before they had received their Biometric Residence Permit. As a recent report from Refugee Council into the experiences of newly granted refugees highlights,  this leaves people at risk of homelessness and destitution.

The report also uncovered failings on the part of UKVI to establish effective procedures to investigate fraud within the asylum support system.

 Policy Manager at Scottish Refugee Council, Graham O'Neill said:

 “Asylum support provides a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. At just over £5 a day, its aim is to keep people from falling into abject destitution. 

We need to remember that the men, women and children seeking asylum in the UK have fled extreme violence and human rights abuses. Most arrive here with nothing. They then face the challenge of navigating the asylum system and rebuilding their lives in extreme poverty.

While people seeking asylum are not allowed to work to support themselves and are entirely dependent on the UK Government, the asylum support system must be fit for purpose. Delays to administering Section 4 support, for example, a lifeline for the most vulnerable and destitute people, are unacceptable. We hope that UK Visas and Immigration will take immediate action on the Chief Inspector’s recommendations and also that levels of asylum support will increase in line with living costs.”

Read more about levels of asylum support.

Ask your MP to support our call for dignity in the asylum process.