People seeking asylum have fled war, torture and persecution and are exercising a legal right to seek protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Poor decision making and limited access to good legal advice means many people who seek asylum in the UK reach the end of the process without their protection needs being recognised, often because they could not prove their stories. When the evidence is thousands of miles away that is very difficult to do. Many cannot go back, because they are stateless, or their government will not issue travel documents.
At this point, they lose access to the accommodation and support provided by the Home Office (they are made destitute), unless they agree to return home. However, many people remain in the UK because they continue to fear what might happen if they return home.
Destitute refused asylum seekers are not permitted to work or claim any support. This means that they are unable to provide for themselves and are forced to depend upon charities and friends for housing, money and food, or face the indignity and fear of life on the streets. Asylum seekers can be in this situation for years. There are an estimated 2,000 destitute asylum seekers and refugees in Greater Manchester alone.
Nevertheless, here they are entitled to NOTHING AT ALL. They have NO right to work. They have NO benefits. They have NOWHERE to live.
Where to learn more
Read the Regional Asylum Activism briefing on destitution.
Read A Decade of Destitution, a report on asylum-related destitution in Greater Manchester by the Red Cross and Boaz Trust.
Visit the Still Human Still Here website. Still Human, Still Here is a coalition of organisations, faith groups and local authorities campaigning for an end to asylum destitution.