Refugee charity Care4Calais has revealed there has been an increase in the number of homeless refugees in Ealing and the second highest in London, following a change in the Government’s ‘move-on period’.
A Freedom of Information request to Ealing Council showed that from January 2023 to October 2023, 175 new refugees presented as homeless following their asylum claim being granted which was a 56% increase on the whole of 2022 and is among the highest in London of those local authorities who responded to the FOI request.
The Home Office operates a 28 day move-on period for new refugees to move out of their asylum accommodation. Previously, the move-on period started when the person received their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card but a change in Government policy has seen the move-on period start from the date of the decision to grant refugee status to an asylum seeker.
According to Care4Calais this has seen its clients being evicted before their BRP card arrives.
The charity wants to see a winter ban on Home Office evictions as well as the move-on period being increased to 56 days, to bring it in line with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, and for the ban on asylum seekers working to be lifted.
Steve Smith, CEO of Care4Calais said: “In the last year, 75% of asylum claims in the UK have been accepted. For the survivors of war, torture and persecution, this should be a moment of celebration. However, for many, it has become their latest nightmare. Our research, that shows 175 ‘new refugees’ in Ealing have presented homeless in 2023 so far, is symbolic of the UK’s broken asylum system. No one wants to see people who come here for sanctuary, left destitute on our streets, but that is what is happening under this Government.”
Mr Smith added: “The burden for this rising crisis should not fall on charities and overstretched local authorities like Ealing Council. We need the Government to step up, extend the move-on period and remove the barriers – such as the ban on asylum seekers working – that prevent ‘new refugees’ from being able to secure safe housing. However, we must immediately see the Home Office introduce an immediate ban on winter evictions otherwise we will see refugees on the streets of Ealing this Christmas.”
To find out more about Care4Calais and its work, click here.