Loans to go ahead despite objections

    Controversial plans to replace backdated income support for
    refugees with a system of loans will be implemented in the autumn,
    it was revealed last week.

    The Child Poverty Action Group said the plans could breach the
    Geneva Convention on Refugees, which stipulates that, for benefits
    entitlement, a country must treat refugees in the same way it does
    its own nationals.

    Under the present system, asylum seekers granted refugee status are
    entitled to backdated payments of income support equivalent to the
    30 per cent differential between National Asylum Support Service
    support and income support.

    However, a Home Office spokesperson said the government was
    confident the move would not breach the convention.

    The timescale for the plans, first outlined in the Asylum and
    Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004, was contained in
    a government strategy on refugee integration published last
    week.

    The strategy also includes plans for a mentoring scheme to give new
    refugees intensive one-to-one support with a dedicated caseworker
    to help them find work.

    • Integration Matters from www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk

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