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Red tape and delays leave refugees in poverty, says report

28 August 2014

Refugees are falling destitute after getting government permission to stay – as they are not given enough time or support to sort out vital paperwork. 

A new refugee has just 28 days to find work or other funds and housing before their asylum support stops.

However, a report from the British Red Cross reveals that it is common for this process to take much longer because of red tape and delays – forcing people into poverty.  

Three months without money

All of the refugees in the report were destitute, with one person waiting almost three months to receive their first benefit payment.

The study highlights a number of factors that affect and delay the process – such as poor JobCentre Plus staff training on refugee issues. Key documents that simplify the process, which should arrive together, can also arrive too late.

Time to cut the red tape

We are now calling for all parties to work better together to reduce these delays in the system. 

This includes the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions, JobCentre Plus, and the refugees themselves – as well as all the charities working with refugees in the 28-day ‘move-on period’.

The study also recommends that new refugees are given longer than 28 days to make the switch to mainstream support – and continue to receive asylum support until this happens.

Jonathan Ellis, head of policy, research and advocacy at the Red Cross, said: “For many refugees that we support, when they finally hear that they can stay in the country and are granted refugee protection, a moment of joy becomes one of alarm when they realise that they face destitution. 

“Our report details the specific reasons that refugees face destitution at this time. It really does not need to be like this. 

“We set out clear recommendations to ensure that no refugee granted the right to stay in the UK is then plunged into destitution. We want to work with government to turn these recommendations into reality and end this unnecessary suffering.”

Read the report and find out more

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