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UK Asylum Seekers Benefits: What To Expect

Many people seeking asylum in the UK have questions regarding the benefits they can receive when they obtain their asylum. Both asylum seekers and refugees in the UK can obtain benefits in the UK, and knowing what these are is key.

Birmingham Immigration Lawyers is a team of experienced, expert immigration lawyers in Birmingham. We can help you understand what benefits you are entitled to as an asylum seeker in the UK. Call us at 0121 667 6530 to get assistance from one of our expert team members today.

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    The Benefits Asylum Seekers And Refugees Can Get In The UK

    As an asylum seeker in the UK, you can ask for somewhere to live, a cash allowance, or both of the above.

    Housing Support

    As an asylum seeker in the UK, if you need somewhere to live, you will be provided with accommodation. This could be one of many options, including a house, flat, bed and breakfast, or hostel. Asylum seekers are unable to choose where they live; however, it is unlikely that you will be given accommodation in London or south-east England.

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    Financial Support

    Financial asylum support in the UK will include £47.39 per person in the household; this money will help to contribute to things such as toiletries, food, and clothing. This allowance will be applied to a debit card every week, and the card can be used to obtain cash from a cash machine.

    However, be aware that if you have accommodation that provides you with meals, you will instead receive £9.58 per person in the household.

    Mothers and young children will receive extra payments to buy healthy food; this includes pregnant women. The amount that will be received will depend on the unique situation of the individual.

    A pregnant mother will receive an additional £3 per week; a mother with a baby under a year old will receive an additional £5 per week; and a mother with a child aged between 1 and 3 years old will receive an additional £3 per week.

    Pregnant mothers can also receive a maternity payment; this is a one-off £300 and is provided if the baby is due in 8 or fewer weeks. This can also be obtained if the baby is less than 6 weeks old.

    To apply for the maternity grant, the applicant needs to request a form from MAT B1 from their doctor. This can be applied for at the same time as the application for asylum support.

    However, should the applicant get pregnant after they have applied for asylum support, they can apply to the support team that dealt with the application made for asylum support.

    Refusal Of Asylum

    If you are an asylum seeker who has been refused asylum in the UK, you will still be given somewhere to live and £47.39 per person on a payment card for food, toiletries, and clothing.

    However, you will not be given a payment card if you reuse the offer of somewhere to live or any money.

    Pregnant mothers who have been refused asylum can still apply for a maternity payment and will receive a one-off payment of £250 if their baby is due in 8 weeks. This is also attainable if the baby is fewer than 6 weeks old.

    After Refugee Status Is Granted Benefits

    Once an applicant has been given refugee status after claiming asylum, they should be aware that Asylum Support and ‘section 4’ support will cease 28 days after the decision has been made. This means that the applicant will no longer receive the cash allowance and will need to move house if the accommodation was granted during asylum seeker status.

    Once an asylum seeker has received refugee status, they will have permission to work in the UK at any skill level in any profession. However, if the individual is not ready or unable to look for work, or if they have little to no income, they can apply for benefits.

    At this point, the individual should consider getting an NIN (National Insurance Number) and opening a bank account.

    The Healthcare Benefits For Asylum Seekers


    In the UK, refused asylum seekers can get registered with a GP and have free primary healthcare in England, Scotland, and Wales, just like others, regardless of their immigration status.

    In both Wales and Scotland, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers are both entitled to free secondary healthcare, just like any other resident. However, in England, a refused asylum seeker is only entitled to free secondary healthcare should they receive section 4(2) support from the Home Office, section 21 support from a local authority board, and support through Part 1(care and support) of the Care Act 2014.

    Every refused asylum seeker can continue with any course of treatment underway before refusal, free of charge. For newer courses of treatment, any treatment that clinicians consider urgently or immediately needed before the patient can leave the UK is provided even if payment is not made in advance. All payment arrangements can be discussed with the hospital.

    It should also be noted that maternity care is always provided, even where charges may apply.

    A refused asylum seeker can also receive free NHS hospital treatment on a secondary care level for the following:

    • Accidents and emergency services
    • Diagnosis of infectious diseases, even in the case of a negative result
    • Treatment of infectious diseases if there is a positive test result.

    Additionally, victims of specific types of violence, including sexual violence, will be treated free of charge.

    Some services aid refugees and asylum seekers in understanding and accessing healthcare in the UK, such as:

    • The Refugee Council is available, having set up the Health Access for Refugees Programme to better support refugees and asylum seekers in understanding and accessing the healthcare system in the UK.
    • The Royal College of GPs (General Practitioners)position statement on access to primary care for failed asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants can provide additional information and insight into UK healthcare.

    UNHCR & Refugee Healthcare

    UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) does, in all situations, advocate for refugee inclusion in the national health care system and plans, including the UK NHS. When and as appropriate, UNHCR will then provide further guidance, capacity building, and infrastructure and fund laboratory diagnostics, supplies, and medical equipment for this.

    Through the advocacy of UNHCR and its support and funding, refugees can benefit from increases in access to healthcare in areas including:

    • Primary healthcare and being referred for secondary healthcare.
    • Community health.
    • NCD (noncommunicable diseases) prevention and treatment.
    • Communicable disease prevention and treatment.
    • Immunizations.
    • Essential medicines, equipment, and medical supplies.

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      Asylum Seekers & Refugees Rights

      In the UK, refugees and asylum seekers’ UK benefits differ slightly, but both groups have certain rights.

      As a refugee in the UK, you would have the right to apply for welfare benefits, just like nationals of the country. Refugees also have the right to work in the UK without any restrictions; all that is required is the individual’s National Insurance Number, which can be found on your BRP (biometric residence permit).

      As an asylum seeker with a pending or refused claim, there is still eligible support available for you. The main support types available for those who have claimed asylum and been refused are Sections 95, 98, and 4. With these types of support, you may be able to claim benefits such as housing or financial assistance.

      Section 95 support enables a person seeking asylum over 18 years old with a pending asylum claim and a passed destitution test with benefits. A destitute individual is a person who does not have adequate accommodation or enough money to meet living expenses for themselves or their dependents over the next 14 days.

      Asylum Support Section 98 is a temporary support system for those who seem to be destitute and have applied to Section 95 but are waiting for the decision.

      Finally, Section 4 support is available to those who have been refused but meet a certain set of criteria and have passed the destitution test. Through Section 4, the Home Office can provide financial support to a person who is ARE (appeal rights exhausted) after their asylum claim is not successful and they have no accommodation and do not have enough money to meet essential living needs.

      Educational Opportunities Available For Asylum Seekers

      Asylum seekers in the school will be able to receive an education if they are between the ages of 5 and 17. The UK government states that all children must attend school between the ages of 5 and 17. All of the UK state schools are free to attend, and the children may be eligible for free school meals.

      Both refugee and asylum-seeking children will receive access to the full curriculum in the UK, as appropriate to their age, aptitude, ability, and special education needs. They will be admitted to school using the same local authority criteria as any other local child seeking a place at a local school.

      Admissions to schools will be conducted through a traditional admissions process, although this could occur through the primary Fair Access or secondary Pupil Placement panels if certain criteria are met.

      If your child has never attended formal education, however, some steps may need to be taken to make the mainstream curriculum in school more accessible to them. The local authority for EMTAS (Ethnic Minority and Traveller Service) can provide support and assistance to schools or academies that are dealing with asylum seekers and refugees.

      There are several notable systems in this:

      • Appendix 1 sets out the steps schools take to prepare for welcoming refugee and asylum-seeking pupils
      • Appendix 2 provides information on induction into school life for refugee and asylum-seeking pupils.
      • Appendix 3 provides information regarding messages, systems, and policies in the school.
      • Appendix 4 gives information on links to the curriculum provisions.
      • Appendix 5 provides information on pastoral support.

      Further Support Upon Receiving Refugee Status

      Once you have received refugee status in the UK, you will stop receiving the cash allowance and housing if you were granted housing support. However, there is still much support available.

      If you need assistance getting housing, you can contact the local council or housing office, which should be done as soon as possible. The Home Office does not provide accommodation to refugees, but the local council can let you know what your options are.

      Certain eligibility criteria will dictate if you can stay in the same area:

      • How long you have lived in that area.
      • If you have family in the area.
      • If you are at risk of being homeless.

      There are waiting lists for accommodation, so applicants may be put in a hostel or B&B temporarily.

      Those who wish to look for work can do an online job search, but if you have qualifications from your home country, you can contact UK NARIC, and you can find the UK equivalent to find similar work in the UK.

      Contact our legal team. They can help with any situation. Contact Us

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        How Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

        Here at Birmingham Immigration, we can help. Our lawyers are human rights experts working in immigration law to ensure that people fleeing persecution are safe. If you need help with immigration rules or knowing your human right to benefits in the UK as an asylum seeker, contact us today at 0121 667 6530 for help.

        We offer many services, such as:

        • Asylum applications and appeals.
        • Detained casework.
        • Bail renewal, tribunals, and SOS applications.
        • Fresh claims.
        • Permission to work applications.
        • Travel documents.
        • BRP issues.
        • Family reunion applications and appeals.
        • Applications for permission to appeal.
        • An error of law preparation and hearing.

        Contact us today to get started on your journey as an asylum seeker in the UK.

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