Citizen`s advice service takes strain of asylum seeker dispersal

Citizens advice bureaux claim they are providing services to
asylum seekers that should be provided by the National Asylum
Support Service, writes Jonathan

A report from the National Association of Citizens Advice
Bureaux details how the government’s asylum support service
– set up in April 2000 to administer support to asylum
seekers dispersed to the regions – is “comprehensively
failing both asylum seekers and taxpayers”.

Based on evidence from the day-to-day casework of CABs in
England and Wales, it describes “serious shortcomings” in
NASS’ performance and accessibility, warning that although
recently promised reforms are welcome, the government must go much
further and establish local NASS counter or “drop in” services.

Without such a move, the asylum support system will weaken local
community cohesion and foster hostility towards asylum seekers, the
report says.

CABs in asylum dispersal areas and elsewhere have dealt with
increasing numbers of advice enquiries from NASS-supported
asylum-seekers, says the report. They have helped individuals
contact NASS to obtain extra support so that they can attend
obligatory home office interviews or appeal hearings, or purchase
items not allowed for in the low level of subsistence support

“In effect, CABs are providing services that should be provided
by NASS itself,” the report says.

NACAB chief executive David Harker said: “As it stands, NASS can
only be described as a shambles. It is simply unacceptable that
men, women and children who have already faced some of the worst
violations of human rights should suffer further at the hands of
such an inefficient and unresponsive service.”

* To view document ‘Process Error: CAB clients’ experience
of the National Asylum Support Service’ click






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