Oxfam: Britain’s shameful treatment of asylum seekers
Summary of story from IRIN, 7.2.11.
Oxfam has criticised the asylum application process in Britain, after conducting new research into the lives of asylum seekers who chose to stay on in Britain after their claims are rejected.
The report, ‘Coping with Destitution’, produced jointly with researchers from the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Cardiff University, also highlights the risks faced by female asylum seekers in Britain.
Asylum seekers whose applications have been turned down, or who are subject to administrative problems while waiting for claims to be assessed, are left in financial limbo.
Forbidden from working legally yet unable to claim benefits, they often fall through the net and become homeless, or end up dependent on the goodwill of others.
Oxfam joins a growing number of British organisations which have expressed concern about the asylum process, including the charity Asylum Aid and The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees.
Female asylum seekers are especially at risk, says Deborah Singer, of Asylum Aid. “I have been in meetings where the whole room was full of destitute women’.
Oxfam’s report describes a number of women who had been forced into prostitution, or who had begun relationships with men so as not to become homeless.