Josephine Basedow and Lisa Doyle, Refugee Council
England’s forgotten refugees: Out of the fire and into the frying pan

The research explores the experience of newly recognised refugees within their first year of being granted asylum by the UK Government. When an asylum seeker is granted refugee status, those who are receiving accommodation and subsistence payments from the Home Office are informed that it will cease in 28 days. This is known as the ‘grace’ or ‘move on’ period and it is expected that the newly recognised refugee will be able to secure housing and income in this timeframe.

This research focuses on people who have reached the UK independently and applied for asylum, rather than refugees who have arrived through organised resettlement routes such as the Gateway Programme or the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme. Resettled refugees in the UK receive a tailored integration package in their initial months and will be provided with accommodation and the key documents they need to access services upon arrival.

By contrast, the refugees with which this report is concerned are left to fend for themselves and find their own way when they are granted asylum, as the national programme that used to support newly recognised refugees was abolished by the coalition Government in 2011.

The report draws on interviews conducted with 11 newly recognised refugees who were interviewed up to four times during the period after they had been granted status. A total of 42 interviews took place between March and December 2015. This qualitative data is supplemented by other research, including a survey conducted with 100 clients from the Refugee Council’s Refugee Advice Project which illustrates that the difficulties faced are not unique to the sample of new refugees interviewed for this research.