Like all City of Sanctuary groups, Wakefield District City of Sanctuary offers a welcome and hospitality to asylum seekers and refugees. To extend that welcome to all people going through the asylum process we are inviting you to write or email your MP and ask them to call for a change in the asylum process. The letter doesn’t need to be long or complicated. We would like you to ask your MP to look into why asylum seekers are being made destitute.
The asylum policies are complicated but the harsh reality is that care-leavers as young as 18yrs, single men and women of all ages and families are being forced to become legally destitute in this country. If the Home Office rejects people’s asylum claim, people cannot always leave the country, and fewer people are eligible to receive support whilst they mount a new claim.
Through the Immigration Asylum Act 1999 section 115, the Home Office states that a person will have ‘no recourse to public funds’ if they are ‘subject to immigration control’. This means that people should look for a way back to the country which they have fled from. Many of the people who are experiencing destitution cannot legally leave this country because they have no travel documents. Similarly, people cannot leave the country because there is no safe passage to their country of origin.
Having no recourse to public funds means that you do not receive any benefits; currently asylum seekers do not have the right to work. Rejected asylum seekers cannot apply for permission to work. Rejected asylum seekers are trapped – they cannot leave and they are not allowed to stay. They are destitute in our country and in Wakefield.
Please ask your MP to look into this situation – we have a proud tradition of offering a welcome, enforced destitution and absolute poverty should not be part of the welcome.
Thank you, WDCofS Committee
19th February 2017