Chapter 10 Poverty and Destitution
Many responses made comments in relation to the poverty and destitution which some refugees and asylum seekers experience.
- The types of poverty raised were instances of refugees and asylum seekers struggling with food poverty and needing to go to a foodbank. It was noted that the weekly allowance of £37.75 for asylum seekers was not enough to cover their expenses for food. In addition to food poverty, responses included instances of refugees and asylum seekers becoming homeless.
- The 28-day "move-on" period during which newly recognised refugees still receive asylum support before they make the transition to mainstream benefits or secure work was regarded as too short. Considering that mainstream benefits may get delayed, this period was seen as bearing the risk of drawing newly recognised refugees into destitution.
- Similarly, refused asylum seekers and those with no recourse to public funds were seen as being at risk of destitution.
- Responses pointed out two effects of destitution:
- People with no recourse to public funds may turn to criminal activities (such as stealing food) as the only immediate solution to their destitution.
- More generally, destitution was seen, as one response put it, as "the enemy of integration" because people do not have the resources to successfully integrate.
- Responses highlighted the importance of a coordinated response to destitution. The Scottish Government's commitment to develop an anti-destitution strategy as a response to the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee's report "Hidden Lives – New Beginnings: Destitution, asylum and insecure immigration status in Scotland" was welcomed.
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