Our campaign and the General Election

Thank you so much for your interest in the asylum support crisis. UK law requires that our campaigning work is suspended in the lead up to the General Election on 12 December. We will begin campaigning again after the election.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re taking a break. We’re still working hard behind the scenes, providing support and services to enable refugees and people seeking asylum to build safe and productive lives in the UK.

A lifeline

People seeking asylum are banned from working. As a result they are dependent on the Government to provide housing and a small weekly allowance while they wait for a decision on their asylum application.

This provision, known as asylum support, is barely enough to live on. But for people with no other options, it’s nonetheless an essential lifeline.

It’s the only means available for families to feed and clothe themselves and ensure a roof over their heads. As part of our Stand Up For Asylum campaign, we’ve highlighted the long delays and poor decision making faced by people applying for support in recent years, and the terrible impact this has on their wellbeing.

Read more about the campaign

In recent months, an already inadequate system has deteriorated into crisis.

Delayed and dysfunctional

The new systems for asylum support applications put in place by the Government are failing. More and more people are waiting to receive a decision – or any information at all – about their support application.

Delays have spiralled out of control – in initial decisions, and in the support being provided after applications are approved.

People who have fled to the UK due to war and persecution are denied any other means to support themselves. They are wholly reliant on asylum support. When the Government’s systems fail, it means people are left hungry and homeless.

We’ve been working with our partners to press the Government to act. But we need you to add your voice.

Weyneshet was homeless, pregnant and left waiting.

close up photo of woman's hands

Weyneshet was pregnant when she first applied for asylum support, after being made homeless. With nowhere else to go, she was glad of the offer to sleep on her neighbours’ sofa, despite not knowing them well.

“During that time I received no support. It was an extremely difficult time for me I had to go to so many places trying to find help. The only money I got was from a charity, who were helping me by giving £10 a week.

“It was such a difficult situation to be in, especially when I was pregnant. You want to just sit sometimes, you want to have a home where you can rest, eat well – but I didn’t have any of these things.”

Weyneshet’s story is far from unique. In fact, her experiences are becoming more common. In recent months more and more people seeking asylum are waiting longer to receive the support they are entitled to and desperately need.

Mary leads Refugee Action’s asylum support teams.

“Our Asylum Crisis volunteer and staff teams in Birmingham, London and Manchester are doing all they can to support the growing numbers of people waiting for essential support. It’s always busy, but over the last two months the scale of the problems and the number of people affected have grown enormously.

“Every day our teams help people access night shelters while they wait for  accommodation or give them money to make sure they can buy a winter coat or have some cash to feed themselves and their family for that day. We’ll also work with them to escalate their case and press for an end to the delay, but the problem won’t be properly resolved until the Home Office makes its own systems work.”

The Stand Up For Asylum Campaign

Asylum means…

Why we need to stand up for asylum.

Add your voice

Sign our petition to #StandUpForAsylum.

Lift The Ban

Give people seeking asylum the right to work.