Independent report calls for more humane treatment of asylum seekers

 The policy of making refused asylum seekers destitute must be scrapped, according to a report by a think-tank set up by the Catholic former Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith.
 'Asylum Matters: Restoring Trust in the UK Asylum System' was released today by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), and makes a raft of recommendations to restore public confidence in the asylum system.

Refugee Action and Church Action on Poverty (CAP) both welcomed the report and urged the government to review its policy of making refused asylum seekers destitute.

The report argues that withdrawing all support does not make asylum seekers return home as intended, and instead has left thousands of people living on Red Cross food parcels and relying on charities. Many have to survive by working in the black economy or turning to prostitution.
The CSJ also advocates increased promotion of voluntary return as an alternative to forced removals, which are distressing and expensive.
Sandy Buchan, the Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said: "This report highlights the terrible plight of asylum seekers, who are forced into homelessness at a time when they need to be supported to plan for the future. We see people every day who are living in desperate circumstances and are extremely traumatised. We welcome measures such as the temporary right to work for people who cannot return home and end-to-end support for asylum seekers to help them make informed decisions on their future."

Niall Cooper, Coordinator of Church Action on Poverty, said: "It is inhuman and counterproductive for the government to make failed asylum seekers homeless and destitute. We welcome the proposal that refused asylum seekers who cannot return home should be given a temporary license to enable them to work and to access health care."

The report also recommends that the UK Border Agency should be limited to enforcement of immigration laws, and that a new independent body consisting of three magistrates should be set up to adjudicate on decisions. Charities and voluntary groups should also support asylum seekers while their cases are prepared and heard, and should continue to do so as people are either integrated into society or helped to return voluntarily.

To read the full report see:

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