The legislation does not permit the amount received to be reduced, but support can be withdrawn if the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that the supported person or his dependant has:
Committed a serious breach of the rules of their collective accommodation;
Committed an act of seriously violent behaviour whether at the accommodation provided or elsewhere;
Committed an offence relating to obtaining support;
Abandoned the authorised address without first informing the Home Office;
Not complied with requests for information relating to their eligibility for asylum support;
Failed, without reasonable excuse, to attend an interview relating to their eligibility for asylum support;
Not complied within a reasonable period, (no less than 10 working days) with a request for information relating to their claim for asylum;
Concealed financial resources and therefore unduly benefited from the receipt of asylum support;
Not complied with a reporting requirement;
Made or sought to make a further different claim for asylum before their first claim is determined, in the same or a different name; or
Failed without reasonable excuse to comply with a relevant condition of support. 1
In the past the Home Office relied on checks by a credit check agency, interviews with supported people, and investigations into the existence of bank accounts as a method of determining asylum support fraud. Of 200 cases in a pilot investigation conducted with the Identity and Passport Service, none had their support withdrawn as a result of fraudulent activity. Subsequent court action revealed that checks of bank accounts did not constitute sufficient evidence to justify withdrawing support.2 It is not common for support to be withdrawn in practice. Where it does happen, the most common reason is as a sanction for breach of conditions of support, for instance being absent from the accommodation or allowing others to stay in it.3 According to Home Office published figures, the power to withdraw support has not been used since 2010.4
Asylum seekers can appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Asylum Support) in London against a decision to withdraw their support.5 On application the Home Office sends travel tickets to attend the hearing.6
As described above, refused asylum seekers on cashless support (s.4) are in practice on lesser conditions than those pursuing a first claim who are on s.95 cash support. Previously, users of the Azure card (excluding families and pregnant women) could only carry forward a maximum weekly sum of £5. This restriction was abolished in February 2015.
As listed above, seriously violent behaviour can result in the withdrawal of support, and in addition, people staying in reception centres are subject to the general law.
No emergency measures have been applied in reception centres due to large numbers of arrivals, though as mentioned in the section on Types of Accommodation, there has been some overcrowding and use of hotels to deal with the oversubscription.
- 1. Regulation 20, Asylum Support Regulations 2000, available at: http://bit.ly/1C2R7GQ.
- 2. Asylum Support Partnership, Response to the UKBA consultation Reforming Asylum Support: effective support for those with protection needs, 2010.
- 3. Asylum Support Appeals Project, Factsheet 1: s.95, available at: http://bit.ly/1y7RlwD.
- 4. Home Office, Immigration Statistics, Q4, 2016, Table 16, available at: http://bit.ly/2lOcVYQ.
- 5. Section 103, Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, available at: http://bit.ly/1C2MkVQ.
- 6. Asylum Appeals Support Project, Factsheet 3, available at: http://bit.ly/1y7RlwD.