Welsh Government Launch Refugee & Asylum Seeker Plan
The Welsh Government has recently launched the ‘Nation of Sanctuary – Refugee and Asylum Seeker Plan,’ as the latest step towards the government’s ambition of making Wales a nation of sanctuary for all. The report acknowledges that many of the challenges faced by asylum-seekers stem from policy decided by the UK Government and notes that Wales “cannot control their decisions” and the proposed action plan is in line with UK legislation. However, it notes, “the Welsh Government believes that improvements need to be made to the standard of accommodation for asylum seekers, the financial support asylum seekers receive and the funding provided to Welsh public services to support integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales, regardless of their route to the UK.”
The report identifies actions for the Welsh Government, local authorities, and voluntary sector that can reduce inequalities, increase access to opportunities and enable better relations between communities. They include commitments to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers can access health services throughout their asylum journey; are provided with information and advice to allow them to integrate into Welsh society from day one; are prevented from becoming destitute and can access educational opportunities. There is also a commitment to continue to fund the advocacy forums in four current dispersal areas to ensure people seeking sanctuary can discuss issues with their accommodation and other topics, as well as new funding committed to an integration project which will provide holistic support to refugees to enable them to have their needs assessed, access training and reduce barriers to employability. The report can be found here.