Asylum seekers without support for months before being deported

Thousands of asylum seekers whose applications are rejected are
left without support services for several months before they are
deported, according to a senior officer at the Refugee Council,
writes Sally Gillen.

Director of the regions Alistair Griggs said that those who had
been refused asylum were often waiting for months to be sent back
to the country they fled from because of delays between a decison
on their application and deportation.

He told an audience of nearly 400 delegates at the National
Associations for Councils of Voluntary Service annual conference,
that those waiting to be sent to back to their home country were in
most cases not entitled to social services help or any other sort
of aid.

In some circumstances they would be offered help under community
care law, but the government planned to close loopholes in the
legislation, which would leave them unprotected, he said.

The National Asylum Advisory Service only offered assistance in
a very small number of cases, for example for heavily pregnant
women, but even then they were only given full-board accommodation
and no financial aid.

Increasingly, he said, desperate asylum seekers from around the
country were begging for help from regional Refugee Council
officers because they were destitute.

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