Who is an Asylum Seeker?
The definition of an Asylum Seeker is someone who has fled their country of origin and has arrived in another country and requested asylum. A request for asylum means asking to be recognized as a Refugee. Refugees are “people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country” (UNHCR). So, as an Asylum Seeker, a person has entered a legal process that determines Refugee Status.
Seeking Asylum in the UK
Under International Refugee Law, everyone has the right to seek asylum. It is not illegal for people flee from foreign social conflict and request sanctuary in the UK.
In the UK, Refugee status gives individuals the right to work, rent property and access public resources. Asylum Seekers are not afforded these rights.
Until a decision about an asylum claim is reached – which normally takes several months and may take years – a person seeking asylum is eligible for cash support, at a total sum of £39.63 per week. That’s just over £5 per day for food, toiletries and other essentials. They will also be placed in accommodation on a no-choice dispersal system.
What is a refused Asylum Seeker?
A refused Asylum Seeker is someone whose claim for asylum has been denied by the Home Office. This does not mean that their claim was false. There is a rigid criteria to prove the need for international protection and evidence is needed to support a claim, which can be difficult to provide.
A person will have the right to appeal a negative decision and remain in the UK until another decision is made. Some people who have been refused asylum will return home voluntarily, while others are deported. For many, it is unsafe to return until conditions in their country improve, meaning living safely in the UK is their only route to redemption.
What is destitution?
Destitution means living in poverty with no means to provide for oneself.
People seeking asylum face destitution when they reach a break in the Asylum process, for instance if they have a Right to Appeal, but have missed the deadline to appeal, or if they have exhausted their Right to Appeal and have to convince the Home Office to consider new evidence about their case or country of origin.
When this happens their National Asylum Seeker Support (financial support and accommodation) will cease, meaning individuals face financial and housing insecurity.
When this happens, individuals can be referred to ShareDydd who will help them into hosted
accommodation and help them to find pathways out of destitution.
How we help
ShareDydd works to ensure that people seeking asylum and facing destitution can access a safe, warm home. This is achieved by working with a network of organizations and volunteers. ShareDydd and Refugees at Home find people in Cardiff who wish to become hosts. Being a host involves offering a spare room to someone who would otherwise risk homelessness because they have reached a break in their claim. ShareDydd supports hosts and their guests by acting as a point of contact and helping individuals to navigate Cardiff and its services, as well as helping them to engage in an empowering plan for the future.
Hosting allows an Asylum Seeker to meet their basic needs for shelter, food and rest.