Section 55 ruling upheld by judge

A High Court judge last week upheld a Home Office decision to deny
a Congolese man support because he claimed asylum four days after
arriving in the UK.

Patrick Wembo arrived in London last May and travelled to his
disabled brother’s home in Oldham. There, he made an appointment to
see a solicitor who advised him to apply for asylum

But the Home Office claimed Wembo was not entitled to support under
section 55 of the Nationality and Immigration and Asylum Act 2002,
which states that asylum seekers should claim “as soon as
reasonably practicable”, and was not destitute because he was being
supported by his brother’s disability benefits.

Mr Justice Newman upheld the decision.

In December, home secretary David Blunkett extended the time within
which asylum seekers should make their applications from 24 hours
to three days, on the condition that applicants provide an honest
account of how they reached the UK.

Refugee Council chief executive Maeve Sherlock said that, while the
charity welcomed the recent changes in policy, it remained the case
that asylum seekers who needed safety were still at risk of
destitution because they did not know how, or were unable, to apply
at a port.

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