Refugee Council: Josephine Basedow and Lisa Doyle May 2016
• The Government should introduce an integration support service for newly recognised refugees, flexible enough to ensure those facing specific barriers can be supported to access all services to which they are entitled. Whilst all refugees will not need the same level of assistance as resettled refugees who have just entered the country, many of the same issues and barriers will need to be overcome with assistance from experienced professionals.
• Where an application has been made for welfare benefits within the 28 days move on period, the Home Office should not cease asylum support until the first payment has been made, including where that payment is a short term benefit advance.
• The Home Office should ensure that relevant documentation is received by refugees at the same time as they are informed of their status.
• Jobcentre Plus staff need to follow the guidance relating to newly recognised refugees applying up for welfare benefits so as not to leave them without support.
• Jobcentre Plus staff should be given the opportunity to increase their understanding, possibly through dedicated training, of the particular barriers faced by refugees in job seeking and supported to give specialist assistance to them.
• Government guidance to banks should advise them what documents are issued to refugees and others with leave to remain in the country so that they are encouraged to recognise them as evidence of identity. Bank staff should also be familiarised with the types of ID refugees will carry. Compliance with this guidance should be monitored, possibly by the British Banking Association.
• The Government should invest in existing tailored support programmes which support refugees into work, or provide funding for voluntary agencies to deliver projects that perform this function.
• The target time for processing an application for an Integration Loan must be less than the length of the move on period. Decisions should take account of Local Housing Allowances and be monitored.
• When a newly recognised refugee has applied for an Integration Loan and has not yet received it, they should be allowed to remain in their asylum accommodation.
• The Department for Communities and Local Government should provide adequate funding to local authorities and accompanying guidance to enable newly recognised refugees who are not considered priority housing need to benefit from rent deposit schemes.
Read the full report here: