When an asylum seeker comes to the end of the asylum process having been refused asylum and exhausted all appeal rights, accommodation comes to an end. This can leave asylum seekers destitute without accommodation or financial support.
Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, allows for the provision of support to former asylum seekers. This support consists of accommodation and vouchers only with no cash support.
This only applies to a former asylum seeker with no child under 18 or whose child was born after they ceased to be an asylum seeker for support purposes.
All this, and much more, can be found in a new fact sheet released by Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP). It provides advice for asylum-seeking women, and women refused asylum, experiencing domestic violence. The target audience is women asylum seekers, but the advice also applies to men.
The report goes on to add Section 4 is predominately for asylum seekers with no children. Asylum Seekers with children continue to be considered as asylum seekers for support purposes until they leave the UK and will not require support under Section 4, although recent changes in the law will effect the provision of support to families.
The scheme for granting support under Section 4, sometimes referred to as “hard case” support, has been amended and is now governed by Section 10 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004.
The Home Office have also published a new Policy Bulletin (71) which explains their policy on Section 4 Support.
To qualify for Section 4 support, a former asylum seeker has to meet certain conditions. These conditions can be found in the Immigration and Asylum (Provision of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.
The report adds the first of these conditions is that the former asylum seeker is destitute.
The applicant would have to show that they do not have accommodation and support for the next 14 days.
Having established that they are destitute, a former asylum seeker must then show they meet one of these conditions:
S/he is taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK or place her/himself in a position in which s/he is able to leave the UK “Reasonable steps” could include applying for a travel document, asking for assistance from the International Organisation for Migration in order to return voluntarily.
Some people may find it difficult to obtain travel documents depending on their nationality but as long as the individuals are taking all reasonable steps to obtain documents they should continue to be eligible for Section 4 support until such documents can be obtained.
S/he is unable to leave the UK because of a physical impediment to travel or for some other medical reason.
Evidence to this effect will be required and if a former asylum seeker is unable to travel they should obtain written documentation from a medical practitioner specifically stating they are unable to travel, for what reason and when they are likely to be able to travel.
S/he has applied for judicial review of the decision on her/his asylum claim and s/he has been granted permission to proceed.