Failed asylum seekers with children living in Britain to lose benefits

Immigration minister James Brokenshire wants to prove that ‘Britain is not a soft touch on asylum’

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The Independent Online

The Government is seeking to find ways to change the rules for asylum seekers with children whose applications have failed but who are able to claim benefits in the UK to send the message that “Britain is not a soft touch on asylum,” a Home Office minster has said.

Migrants seeking asylum in the UK are currently entitled to accommodation and £36-a-week support allowance. If their asylum application fails, the support is withdrawn, but those with families currently continue to receive help.

A Government consultation is being launched to find ways to remove this support from failed asylum seeking-families while ensuring children will remain protected.

Figures show just over 10,000 failed asylum seekers in family groups are currently being supported under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.


A further 4,000 failed individual asylum seekers are supported under section 4(2) of the Act, which the Government will seek to repeal while ensuring adequate support remains for “those who genuinely need it,” such as asylum seekers experiencing real obstacles in preventing their departure from the UK. 

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said of the plans: “The UK has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those who need it, but failed asylum seekers who refuse to return home are illegal migrants, plain and simple.

“The current system shouldn’t offer any perverse incentives for illegal migrants to lodge spurious asylum applications or encourage those without genuine claims for humanitarian protection to prolong their stay in the UK. It’s unfair to those in genuine need of asylum and migrants who abide by our rules as well as to hard-working British taxpayers.

“I want to introduce new rules to support those who genuinely need it, but sent out a very clear message to those who seek to exploit the system that Britain is not a soft touch on asylum.”

The Government has also announced plans to make it harder for illegal immigrants to live in the UK by making it easier for landlords to evict them.

The new plans will also target landlords, who now face up to five years in prison if they rent properties to illegal immigrants, and those who house immigrants in unsafe and overcrowded properties.

Additional reporting by PA