Services shortfall ‘leaves failed asylum seekers destitute’

    Failed asylum seekers are facing destitution because of a “tattered safety net” of services, a report published today warns.

    The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust found that many failed asylum seekers experienced social and mental health problems and did without basic food, shelter and care.

    One-third of failed asylum seekers in Leeds surveyed by the trust had been destitute for a year or more, while one in four were sleeping rough.

    The trust called on the government to provide asylum seekers with a revocable licence to work pending their asylum decisions, reasonable assistance and for the establishment of an independent body to rule on claims.

    In response to the inquiry, Anna Reisenberger, acting chief executive of the Refugee Council said: “We hope this balanced and reasonable report, from an independent inquiry, will finally convince the government that its policy towards refused asylum seekers has failed and that urgent reform is needed. 

    “The current policy of using destitution to enforce return might look tough but it isn’t delivering results.   For all sorts of reasons, which the government well understands, many refused asylum seekers can’t return home – at least for the time being.  Given that, the policy of denying refused asylum seekers all support and refusing them the right to work manages to be both immoral and pointless.”

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