Yesterday I led a Parliamentary debate on giving people fleeing war and persecution a better start in the UK.
Claiming asylum in the UK can take many months. But when refugees’ status is officially recognised, a gap in the law can often force refugees into homelessness and destitution.
As soon as refugees are granted a new residence permit, they lose all refugee support in just 28 days. This ‘move on period’ means they have just four weeks to open a bank account, find a job, find a home and move out of their refugee accommodation. While they can apply for Universal Credit, the 35-day minimum wait for this support means that refugees will often be forced into destitution or exploitation.
I was pleased that Home Office minister Chris Philp agreed to reconsider the length of the move on period. He also agreed to review a recent Red Cross analysis, showing the significant economic benefits of changing this law. This is progress.
I will keep pushing the government to reconsider these laws. Refugees face enough barriers preventing them from rebuilding their lives in the UK. A few more weeks’ support would make a huge difference.