The two-tier system in place currently must be changedby Thangam Debbonaire / May 15, 2017 / Leave a comment
“You sit on the back, where it is warm, where the engine is. You just go from one terminal bus stop to another terminal bus stop until the morning.”
Sat in a rather old-fashioned committee room in the Houses of Parliament, it was pretty hard to hear those words. Along with parliamentarians from a range of political parties, I was listening to Kolbassia talk about his experience of being a refugee in the UK. Kolbassia, a survivor of torture, was telling us how after receiving a positive decision on his asylum application he found himself homeless.
Kolbassia was giving evidence as part of a cross-party inquiry into the experiences of new refugees in the UK. The inquiry was undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, a group I have chaired since I became an MP in 2015. We wanted to learn more about how successfully refugees are able to integrate after being given their refugee status.
During the inquiry we had heard from local councils, charities, faith groups and, most importantly, refugees themselves and we published our report “Refugees Welcome?” at the end of April, shortly before Parliament was dissolved ahead of the General Election. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Kolbassia’s story was far from unique.
After an asylum-seeker is granted refugee status they’re given 28 days before the financial support they’d been receiving from the Home Office is stopped and they have to leave the accommodation they were provided with while waiting for a decision…