British Red Cross
Still an Ordeal: The move-on period for new refugees

In 2014, the British Red Cross became increasingly concerned over the number of
destitute refugees requiring emergency support shortly after being granted asylum, and so conducted and published research on this issue. The research identified a range of contributory factors and made a series of recommendations to both the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), including extending the move-on period.

Since then, a number of other reports on the move-on period have been published by other charities and by parliamentary committees and groups. All have echoed our earlier findings and concluded that one important strategy to avoid destitution at this stage of the asylum process is to extend the move-on period.

In response, the Home Office and DWP have made a number of changes relating to the move-on period, mostly relating to guidance for officials and procedures, but the length of the move-on period has remained at 28 days. However, the roll-out of Universal Credit across the UK and the substantial changes this has brought to the way people access benefits has increased the processing time before the first payment is made, leaving many more refugees temporarily destitute.

In the first six months of 2018, 9,469 destitute refugees and people seeking asylum were supported by the Red Cross – an increase of 2 per cent compared to the first half of 2017. Of those, nearly one in five had refugee status.