The Hostile Environment for Asylum Seekers

These are the 9 bullet points made by the Home Office in a letter to all appeal rights exhausted (ARE) asylum seekers whose first or subsequent claim is refused:

  • You can be detained
  • You can be prosecuted, fined and imprisoned
  • You can be removed and banned from returning to the UK
  • You will not be allowed to work
  • You will not be able to rent a home
  • You will not be able to claim any benefits and can be prosecuted if you try to
  • You can be charged by the NHS for medical treatment
  • You can be denied access to a bank account
  • DVLA can prevent you from driving by taking away your driving licence

Roughly half of all those who receive such a letter who can afford to appeal do eventually win the right to stay, but appeal can take two years or more and the process is intensely oppressive.  Meanwhile the 9 bullet points apply.  This is indeed a very hostile environment. The Home Office maintains for example that Kabul – where 60 people were killed and another 120 seriously injured, while attending a private wedding last week (and where one of our ARE clients comes from) – is a perfectly safe place for refugees to return to.

The appeal rights exhausted refugees with whom Sanctuary currently work have strong reason to believe they will be killed if they return to their respective countries. They are fine young people with much to offer our society in exchange for a place of refuge.

We currently spend £100 per week supporting them (considerably more than we receive in guaranteed donations) and there are more in our area who also need our help.

Is there more that you can do to help these refugees?

– Roger Pask, August 2019

If you would like to support our work with ARE asylum seekers, we would be very grateful for any donations, as well as volunteer expertise e.g. legal advice. Email Gemma on for further details.

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