Home Office support for asylum seekers granted a positive decision
The SMP is aware of increasing numbers of asylum seekers being granted a positive decision across our region. In some cases this brings to an end a long wait for that decision but it is frequently associated with rapid changes in a person’s circumstances. Although the move-on period is still 28 days, in some cases asylum seekers are issued with a 7-day notice to quit their accommodation. This creates an extremely high burden of stress for people to achieve ongoing solutions to their personal circumstances. Up until the decision has been made, they are unable to open a bank account, register for benefits, decide where they want to live or work or have agency in many other aspects of their personal lives.
As a consequence local authorities are increasingly seeing people presenting as homeless and voluntary sector organisations are working hard to provide casework support. Such organisations quickly reach their capacity limits, even if they have paid staff – and many people working in this space are volunteers.
However, the Home Office has put a solution to this in place in that the Refugee Employability Programme (REP) is designed to provide case-work support to people receiving a positive decision through the asylum route. These people, referred to as “Package B” service users, actually receive an enhanced service in comparison with “Package A” service users who are mainly resettled refugees. Indeed, Package B should provide a service equivalent to the casework that has been given to resettled refugees since the Syrian schemes were launched.
In addition to the standard employability advice given by REP, this additional Package B support includes but is not limited to the following elements:
- Providing advice and signposting to other publicly available advice and information services;
- Providing support in accessing and registering with mainstream support services (e.g. DWP JCP Network);
- Supporting access to health care services such as registering with a local GP and other healthcare providers in line with identified medical needs;
- Signposting services available to provide advice on mental health and specialist services for victims of torture as appropriate; and
- Signposting to local community groups to strengthen inclusion and wider well-being.
- English language activity up to a maximum of 150 hours; this is in addition to English language provision available through mainstream sources, i.e. AEB-funded ESOL through colleges and adult learning providers. The REP provider must support service users to access mainstream courses too. This includes an assessment of the person’s ESOL level. The activities provided may include formal or informal language training, access to appropriate online resources or courses to complement or supplement face-to-face services to support access to training; providing access to conversational classes to complement, or build on, formal language training and providing access to tuition that supports service users’ engagement with formal language training, for example study skills or literacy training.
The SMP therefore strongly encourages all local authorities and voluntary sector organisations working with asylum-seekers who have received a positive decision to refer people to the REP provider in the east of England by contacting Get Set UK:
Partnership and Delivery Manager for Get Set UK
Office 0203 735 8955
Mobile 07436 250835
Please refer to this presentation for more information on the employability schemes available in the east of England: PowerPoint Presentation (eelga.gov.uk)