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

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.

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