The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 is undoubtedly
making life more difficult for asylum seekers, according to Alison
Fenney, head of policy at the Refugee Council.
“This is the fourth piece of asylum legislation in a decade,” said
Fenney. “The most depressing thing is each subsequent piece of
legislation makes life worse for asylum seekers.”
She said legislation was increasingly about deterring asylum
seekers from arriving in the country. In January, section 55 of the
act was introduced whereby any asylum seeker who fails to apply for
asylum “as soon as reasonably practicable” was not eligible for
Test cases ensued which placed a duty on the Home Office to ensure
that people who apply for asylum are not left without food and
shelter. Despite this, Fenney warned the act increased destitution,
created a potential increase in referrals to social services
departments, age disputes and refugee community organisations being
The system had too much focus on failed asylum seekers, she added,
highlighting how difficult it was for asylum seekers to integrate
once they had gained refugee status after being treated so poorly
during the asylum process.
“Until the government grasps this, the implications for integration
and community cohesion are huge,” she said.