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Refugees in North Somerset Face Homelessness Due to Tight Deadlines, Charity Reports

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In North Somerset, refugees granted asylum are finding themselves without a place to call home as they struggle to meet stringent deadlines imposed by the Home Office. Donna King, the chief executive of Refugees Welcome North Somerset, has criticized the system, claiming that individuals are not given sufficient time to secure accommodation after gaining refugee status.

According to a report from the BBC on Sunday, October 8, 2023, King stated, “We just have barriers; we’re just setting up people to fail.” Her concern reflects a broader issue where refugees, despite obtaining the right to live and work in the UK, are faced with eviction notices from their temporary accommodations.

The Home Office acknowledged the mounting pressure on the asylum system, citing increased costs and a rise in the number of households requiring assistance. A spokesperson for North Somerset Council highlighted the challenges faced by individuals who receive as little as seven days’ notice to find employment, housing, and benefits.

Farshid, a chef from Iran, exemplifies this struggle. Despite being granted refugee status, he has spent two years in a North Somerset hotel and faces uncertainty about his future living arrangements. “I don’t know where I will go, maybe the street?” he expressed. His story underscores the difficulties refugees encounter in securing stable housing even after being granted asylum.

Refugees Welcome North Somerset reports a concerning trend of individuals being made homeless upon receiving their asylum claims, a time that should be positive as it grants the right to live and work in the UK. The 28-day period allocated by the Home Office to move on from hotel accommodation appears insufficient, particularly when coupled with a notice to quit issued just seven days before the accommodation ends.

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Despite Home Office encouragement for swift onward planning after receiving a decision, challenges persist. Both North Somerset Council and Refugees Welcome North Somerset claim instances where individuals are given only seven days to secure employment and housing, contrary to the Home Office’s own guidelines of a 28-day period.

Donna King expressed her worry about the vulnerable individuals who disappear from the system, emphasizing their susceptibility to abuse and exploitation. The urgency imposed by the housing market’s inaccessibility compounds the challenges faced by refugees transitioning into a new life.

John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare, stressed the need to simplify the asylum process. While acknowledging the efforts to expedite asylum claim processing, Penrose cautioned against exchanging an asylum problem for a homelessness and joblessness crisis. He argued for a holistic approach that ensures legal migrants can stand on their own feet instead of relying on handouts.

In light of these challenges, the call for reform in the asylum process echoes, emphasizing the importance of a compassionate and effective system that supports refugees in their transition to a new life in the UK.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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