The Refugee Survival Trust has raised concerns following the publication of the Government’s draft paper on The UK’s future skills-based Immigration System on Wednesday.
The small Scottish-based charity welcomed a number of the proposals in the White Paper, including the commitment to consider carefully the arguments around allowing asylum seekers to work; the extension of resettlement schemes such as the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Programme, and the continuation of government support where needed for asylum seekers in the process of claiming asylum or appealing decisions.
However, the charity, which is the lead partner for the Destitute Asylum Seeker Service, has raised concerns about the proposal to cut those who are Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE) completely from support.
The White Paper states that “Those who are found not to need protection are refused asylum but have a right of appeal to the independent courts. It is important that once all appeal rights are exhausted, failed asylum seekers are required to leave the UK voluntarily. We are clear that public money should not be used to support illegal migrants, including failed asylum-seekers, who should be preparing to leave the UK.”
Coordinator Zoe Holliday said, “We are very concerned about the pressure that will be put on those who are Appeal Rights Exhausted. There are many reasons why asylum seekers’ claims and appeals are unsuccessful. In many cases it is due to lack of evidence, which can be exceptionally difficult to collect for those who have had to flee their countries. With the support of the DASS project we have cases who have succeeded in re-opening claims and re-entering the asylum system.
“The Destitute Asylum Seeker Service project has shown that there is a real need for comprehensive, integrated support for those who have had their appeals rejected. It is important that people are given the right legal advice, casework and practical support in order to assess whether they are in the position to open a Fresh Claim, or whether they really don’t have a valid claim and need to make a truly voluntary choice to leave the UK.
“The DASS project has helped more than 400 ARE clients over the past 3 years in Scotland, and there will be many other people in similar situations across the UK. To cut off all financial and practical support at an extremely stressful time, and to put pressure on individuals to ‘voluntarily leave’ is not the answer to this extremely complex issue.”