A Report on Asylum Seekers and Benefits.
In the tally up to the general election, refuge is one time once more in the headlines. The refugee council study ( RC: 2004: 2 ) that refuge is the 3rd most of import issue in voters’ heads. Despite its importance as an issue, dependable information about refuge is hard to come by. Media studies are sensationalist, frequently utilizing a vocabulary that is derogative or merely apparent wrong. For illustration, the term ‘illegal refuge seeker’ is frequently used. Yet as a signer to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, anyone has the right to do an refuge claim, and they have a legal right to remain while they make their claim ( UN: 1951: Article 31.1 ) . Thus, no refuge searcher is illegal while doing a claim. This study will try to turn to some of these misconceptions by analyzing refuge searchers in the UK, and in peculiar the relationship of refuge searchers to benefits and the public assistance province. The sensed sapping of the public assistance province by refuge searchers is one of the issues the imperativeness high spots in its coverage of refuge. This study will reason that frights over refuge searchers run outing the public assistance province are misplaced, and statistics from the London local governments will be analysed to do this statement.
II. What is an Asylum Seeker?
An refuge searcher, merely set, is person claiming the position of refuge. The 1951 UN pact on refugees provinces ( ibid ) that an refuge searcher must merely hold a sensible opportunity of persecution in his or her state of beginning in order to be granted refuge. Asylum searchers may come from anyplace in the universe. For the last two old ages the majority of the refuge searchers coming to the UK have been from Afghanistan and Iraq ( RC: 2004:5 ) : but the 1951 convention provinces that application from all statesmustbe considered. What we have witnessed over the last 10 old ages in the UK is the seting in topographic point of a whole series of limitations against the spirit, if non the existent diction, of the 1951 convention.
For case, while the convention demands that applications from all states be considered, the authorities has set up a ‘safe list’ of states from which applications for refuge will non be considered ( UN: 1951: Article 3, HO: 2002/267 ) . Furthermore, as Craze notes ( 2002:4 ) : “since the 1950’s, Europe has witnessed a shutting of its boundary lines. In Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in Morocco, an tremendous electrified fencing has been erected to seek to forestall immigrants from traversing into Fortress Europe and naval ships now patrol the gulf of Gibraltar on the expression out for immigrants.” When understanding the manner refuge works in the UK, it is of import to locate it in footings of the political displacements that have occurred Europe-wide. Such displacements have made refuge applications progressively hard, and have demonised and marginalized people who have a legal footing to do their claim.
III. How many Asylum Seekers come to the UK?
Refuge figures are dogged by contention and het argument. Yet, the recent information from the UNHCR ( UNHCR: 2005 ) seems to propose an opposite province of personal businesss to that suggested by the tabloid imperativeness. Asylum applications round the universe have dropped aggressively for the 3rd twelvemonth in a row, and are now at their lowest degree for 16 old ages. There is a 19 % per centum bead in refuge applications in the EU, with a 33 % autumn in the UK: which means there has been a diminution of 66 % in the last two old ages. For case, in the Westminster Local Authority ( Wesminster: 2005 ) , there were 1,453 refuge searchers claiming support in April 2003. By March 2004 ; this had dropped to merely 973. This bead was paralleled elsewhere in London, where in the same clip period the figure of refuge searchers seeking support fell from 42,137 to 32,245. In the UK, there are soon 40,200 refuge searchers compared to 60,050 in 2003.
In 2001, Armenia absorbed 70 refugees per 1000 dwellers: in comparing, Britain absorbed merely two ( Holmium: 2001 ) . Furthermore, in 2003 Britain was merely ranked the 9th state in Europe for accepting applications per capita. At this occasion is must be remembered that the huge bulk of refuge searchers ne’er manage to go forth the states instantly environing the state they fled: African states support far more refugees than European states, despite holding less far less resources to cover with them. Therefore, the hyperbole of the imperativeness, who propose that Britain is being swamped with refuge searchers, is baseless. The UK receives a comparatively little figure of asylum searchers per capita, and that figure is falling quickly. Finally, it should be remembered that the UK has a legal duty to accept refuge searchers while they make their claim.
IV. What load do Asylum Seekers topographic point on the UK public assistance province?
It is often alleged that refuge searchers merely arrive in the UK because our public assistance system is a ‘soft’ touch. Yet, a recent Home Office study ( HORS: 2002:15 ) concluded that household, linguistic communication and colonial history determine where refuge searchers go, non the degree of public assistance province proviso.
Peoples do non get in the UK hoping to work the public assistance province. Furthermore, the degree of public assistance province proviso for refuge searchers is deplorably unequal. Refuge searchers are non eligible for normal benefit services. Alternatively, if asylum searchers want to use for benefits they must use to the National Asylum Support Service ( NASS ) . Through this service, a individual grownup is eligible for merely Â£38.96 a hebdomad, merely 70 % of basic income support. An Oxfam/Refugee Council study ( 2002: 19 ) concludes that many refuge searchers do non even entree these financess, due to a ill administrated system. They found that 85 % of refuge searchers experience hunger during their application, and 95 % can non afford apparels and basic necessities.
In December 2003, 80,000 refuge searchers were having Home Office support, compared to 1.5 million UK subjects ( non including people having pensions ) . Given the fiscal information we noted supra, that means that refuge searchers account for merely 0.5 % of the entire benefit budget. Give this information, we can see that the claims of the imperativeness are wholly baseless.
Further, under subdivision 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, in January 2003 many refuge searchers were denied basic support. This denial was made on the evidences that asylum searchers had non applied for refuge in ‘reasonable time.’ However, as we noted above, given in-migration limitations in the UK it is about impossible to come in the state lawfully to do an entreaty. If we refer to Appendix I: the entire figure of asylum searchers supported by London Authorities, we can see that during the period the measure was implemented the figure refuge searchers being supported dropped steeply from 34,175 to 32,281. In June of this twelvemonth, a high tribunal determination has found such a denial of benefit in breach of the human rights of the refuge searchers, and the authorities has been forced to reinstate it pending an entreaty by the authorities.
Given the extent of the discourse on refuge being a drain on the UK public assistance province, it is possibly surprising to retrieve the countless benefits asylum brings. A place office study ( quoted RC: 2002:1 ) show people born outside the UK, including refuge searchers, contribute 10 % more in revenue enhancements and national insurance parts than they cost in benefits. In 1998/9, that gives the UK economic system a encouragement of Â£2.6 billion. Refuge searchers besides conveying a wealth of experience into the state. A study from the section of plants and pensions ( DWP: 2001 ) shows that 53 % of refugees had academic makings. However, since July 2002, refuge searchers are prevented from utilizing their makings by authorities policy that makes it impossible for refuge searchers to work while their claim is being processed. The Medical Practioners Union ( quoted, RC: 2001: 3 ) , roundly condemnatory authorities policy, points out that despite the monolithic deficit of trained forces for the NHS, the authorities still refuses to open up the wellness service occupation market to measure up asylum searchers: despite the fact that it costs merely Â£5,000 to retrain a foreign physician, compared to a cost of Â£250,000 to develop a British physician from abrasion. Therefore, while the figures on refuge Numberss we analysed in subdivision III are of import, they must be placed in a context of the positive benefits asylum searchers bring to the contrary, and a debilitating authorities policy that prevents them making even more.
This study has briefly analysed the current position of refuge in the UK today. Current debates on refuge are marred by a xenophobic anxiousness about refuge that distorts the information we have available, and masks the legal duties that the UK has. The authorities has done cherished small to turn to these jobs, and many of its policies contravene the spirit, if non the codification, of the 1951 convention. This study has begun to demo that refuge Numberss are non anyplace near every bit large as they are claimed to be by the imperativeness, that the sum of support refuge searchers require from the province is nil like every bit big as the imperativeness would hold you believe. Finally, this study has emphasised the importance of the UK’s legal duty to asylum searchers.
Craze, J. 2002: Fortress Europe.Europa.Vol. 1: No.3.
Departments of Works and Pensions. 2001:Report on Asylum Seekers and Employment. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.dwp.gov.uk/
Home Office Press Release 2002:Constructing a Safer Britain. 07/2002: 267.
Home Office Research Study. 2002:Understanding the decision-making of refuge searchers.Home Office Research Study 243. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration_research_pubs.html
Home Office. 2001:Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2001. Home Office National Statistics.
Refugee Council. 2004:State It Like It Is: The Truth About Asylum. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/
Refugee Council & A ; Oxfam. 200:Poverty and Asylum in the UK.hypertext transfer protocol: //www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/publications/pub007.htm # poorness
UN. 1951:Convention Associating to the Status of Refugees.hypertext transfer protocol: //www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_c_ref.htm
UNHCR: 2005.Refuge Levels and Trends in Industralised States, 2004.hypertext transfer protocol: //www.unhcr.ch/statistics
Wesminster Local Authority. 2005: Distributions Statistics 2004-5: London Asylum Seekers. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.wesminster.gov.uk/
Appendix I: London Local Authority Asylum Seeker Trends
( Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.westminster.gov.uk/ )