Refugee, asylum seeking and migrant communities across the UK face a range of social, economic and cultural challenges. Islamic Relief are providing crucial support to empower these populations.
The Bike Project
Government legislation prohibits individuals seeking asylum in the UK from working. UK-based asylum seekers instead receive cover for some living expenses whilst their cases are being processed. However, after their transport costs are deducted, some are left with as little as £2 a day to cover the cost of food and other expenditure.
This is why we’re supporting The Bike Project, an innovative project which works to provide financial assistance to asylum seekers living in London. By providing asylum seekers with bicycles, they can save up to £1,000 per year on transport costs. This then allows them with more to spend on other necessities.
Advice and Integration
The vast majority of refugees in the UK have arrived here independently, not through a Government-funded resettlement scheme. During the asylum process, these vulnerable people do not have access to public funds, statutory services and employment. In order to access asylum support (up to £36 a week) and accommodation, they must prove that they have no savings. An asylum seeker can then wait anything from months to years for the outcome of their case.
For those fortunate enough to receive a positive decision on their asylum claim, receiving notification of being offered protection by the UK Government should be a time for celebration. However, the reality is quite the opposite. At this point, newly recognised refugees are given an immediate 28 day notice period for the termination of their Home Office asylum support and accommodation.
The 28 day “moving on” period is a unique challenge faced by newly recognised refugees. Within this incredibly limited period of time, refugees must:
- Obtain identification documents
- Secure a source of financial support
- Find somewhere to live
- Address any existing health issues
Language barriers, combined with a lack of understanding of rights, systems and processes, inevitably make carrying out the above requirements incredibly complex and overwhelming. Additionally, being without an address, National Insurance number or ability to provide evidence where they live also impacts on refugees’ ability access to bank accounts, GP services, welfare support and employment. The absence of support networks mean that newly recognised refugees often face homelessness and financial destitution at the end of the 28 day period.
Working with The Refugee Council, we are supporting the ‘Refugee Advice Project’ which will aid 700 newly granted refugees to make the crucial and challenging first steps to integrating in the UK. This will include providing advice and support in accessing welfare support, finding accommodation and addressing health issues. This is crucial for new refugees as asylum seekers are not entitled access to medical care.