Paragraph 358 of the Immigration Rules is the only provision in law on information concerning reception conditions (see section on Accelerated Procedure). Paragraph 344C requires a person who is granted asylum to be provided with access to information, as soon as possible, in a language that they may reasonably be supposed to understand which sets out the rights and obligations relating to refugee status.
The charity Migrant Help has been providing the Asylum Support Applications UK and Asylum Advice and Guidance services since 2013. In 2019 they retained the contract under a new tender, called Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility. They provide general information, advice and guidance through a Telephone Advice Centre, or face to face appointments at the initial accommodation centres or outreach sessions. In the first few months of the new contract the organisation was heavily criticised for failing to respond to the number of calls they were receiving. A number of NGOs wrote to the government to highlight their concerns in this regard. Migrant Help’s regular newsletters have sought to address concerns with regular updates about what action they are taking to improve the access to the service. Multilingual information is given via Migrant Help’s website in different forms: web/video presentations, audio briefings and written briefings. These are in 15 languages and may be downloaded.
Asylum seekers are asked at the screening interview if they wish to apply for support. Apart from the difficulties in claiming (see section on Criteria and Restrictions to Access Reception Conditions), there are no other significant reported problems in obtaining access to initial support including s.95. Initial information appears to be adequate.