Destitution is something that can affect individuals at every stage of the asylum process.
Sometimes a refused asylum seeker cannot return to their home country and have no papers to travel anywhere else. However, they are not allowed to work nor do they have access to public funds. Such people can be left destitute for years but they would rather face this and feel safe than return to the place from which they fled. Others are left destitute between refusal and appeal.
People seeking sanctuary also face extreme poverty (support rates are around 50% below the UK poverty line) throughout the asylum process.
Ironically, many are left destitute at the point they get leave to remain while they wait for residents permits, NI number etc. so that they can apply for work / benefits or even access a homeless hostel.
Organisations working on Destitution
Asylum Matters – advocate and provide briefings on asylum support and accommodation issues and the right to work.
NACCOM the UK’s national No Accommodation Network
Information on Destitution / Advising Someone who is Destitute
Housing Rights Information page for People who are Destitute
A Guide to making a homelessness application from Refugee Council
Migrant Destitution Toolkit from Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution
Homeless Link resources on supporting people with no recourse to public funds
Freedom from Torture ‘The Survivors’ ‘A to Z Guide to the Poverty Barrier’
Refugee Council Report: Refugees Without Refuge – findings from a survey of newly recognised refugees (Oct 2017)
Refugee Action Report: Slipping through the cracks – How Britain’s asylum support system fails the most vulnerable (July 2017) – an analysis of delays and incorrect decisions in asylum support applications and Missing The Safety Net Report with NACCOM
APPG on Refugees Report: Refugees Welcome?: The Experience of New Refugees in the UK (Apr 2017)
British Red Cross Report: ‘Can’t Stay. Can’t Go. Refused Asylum-seekers who cannot be returned’ (2017) and The costs of destitution 2020
NICRAS Report: Living in Limbo: The Life of Refused Asylum Seekers in Northern Ireland (2017) – looking at the experiences of refused asylum-seekers in Northern Ireland
Refugee Council Report: England’s Forgotten Refugees (May 2016) – exploring the challenges faced by newly granted refugees
ASAP (Asylum Support Appeals Project) Research: The Waiting Game: Delays in Providing Asylum Support after Appeals – (Feb 2016)
Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report: Destitution in the UK 2020 – looking at destitution in all sectors, not just relating to migration
Children’s Society Report: “I don’t feel human” (2010) – experiences of destitution amongst young refugees and migrants
For more information about Council Destitution motions, including examples of motions that have taken place, please visit the section on Working with your Local Authority