Poor health, no wealth, no home

Red Cross report: Fleeing your home and arriving in a new country is a traumatic experience. The British Red Cross supports vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers as they settle into their new home and lives. But once here in the UK, many people who fled one extraordinary crisis now face another: destitution.

As one man said to us during the research: “You lose your whole self-worth.”

This latest report on destitution from the Red Cross uses the experiences of asylum seekers across South Yorkshire as a case study. However, the findings are likely to be echoed throughout the UK – and they paint a bleak picture:

Two-thirds of asylum seekers report regular hunger – and a quarter are going hungry every day.

More than half have no fixed address. In our experience, this adds to the risk of serious – including sexual – exploitation.

More than half said their health had worsened.

This research is highly pertinent, since the publication of the government’s Immigration Bill in 2015 will include changes to asylum support.

We fear these legislative changes, if left unaltered, could plunge thousands more people into destitution. It will add to the struggles of those who have exhausted their appeal rights, but cannot leave the UK through no fault of their own. Families with children will be hit especially hard.