The British Government has been tagged ‘inconsiderate’ after it released a new policy that caused over a hundred asylum seekers to travel 40 miles for their weekly reporting periods. Individuals requesting admission into the asylum are usually required to make a regular appearance in Local Reporting offices. The interval of appearance is to be decided by the Home office and is usually on a weekly, monthly or biannual interval.
Compulsory meetings are being held at the Home Office every week, which subjects a lot of asylum seekers to travel an average of five hours every week. The monetary cost of travelling this distance is about three-quarter of their weekly pay. However, the applicants are expected to be there on time for every meeting, not latter or earlier, otherwise stand the risk of losing their support.
The asylum seekers who reside in Stoke-on-Trent were required to go to the Home Office at Salford to sign the register.
The Minister for Immigration, Caroline Nokes said that the objective of the policy was to account for the large population of immigrants reporting weekly effectively. She also mentioned that there is no set distance an individual is required to travel to fulfill their obligations.
This implies that asylum seekers who are either mentally retarded or disabled would have to find their way to their respective home offices. The struggle to find their way and transport themselves could leave them at the point of begging or being stranded.
In spite of the existing reimbursement made available to asylum seekers, crusaders have reported the money does not get to most people. Over 500 individuals seeking refuge in Britain who live at Stoke on Trent were mandated to report at the Dallas Court, which is over 40 miles away from their residence.
Correspondence has been sent to the Home Office by concerned lawyers who hope that the policies would be amended. According to the Bureau in Stoke, there has been about 28% rise in the number of people seeking refuge who attend the charity sessions ever since the local offices were closed.
The Ripple Effect of the policies
Apart from those living in Stokes, asylum seekers in other areas of the country like Portsmouth, Nottingham and Central Bristol are affected by the closure of local offices.
The manager of the Citizens Advisory Bureau of Stokes, Jude Hawes said that the people are obviously unhappy as they are being subjected to spend their meager incomes on transportation to meetings every week. These people are also made to face real consequences like losing their support.
The Home Office Secretary, Diane Abott has said that the decision apparently affects the finances and safety of asylum seekers. In her own words, “the office would be wrong to make such decisions without looking at its repercussions on the people.”
Furthermore, Gareth Snell told the public that the decision is shortsighted and reflects lack of care for the reporting people. Since the people who work directly with the asylum seekers were not consulted, the effect of the decision to move reporting zones had been overlooked. Snell also complained that the Minister had not given him satisfactory responses on the issue.
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