Withdrawal of support

If an asylum seeker fails to comply with the conditions of her/his support from the UK Border Agency, that support may be withdrawn and s/he may face criminal charges.

This content applies to Scotland

Reasons for withdrawal

The UK Border Agency has the authority to discontinue either temporary or long-term support if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the asylum seeker or her/his dependents: [1]

  • have breached a rule of their accommodation

  • have committed an act of seriously violent behaviour either at the provided accommodation or elsewhere

  • have abandoned the property without getting permission from the Agency (an asylum seeker can be treated as having abandoned her/his home if s/he is away from it for seven consecutive days and night or 14 nights in any six month period)

  • have not responded within five working days to a request for information made by the Secretary of State relating to eligibility for or receipt of asylum support, or within 10 working days to any other letter relating to their claim

  • have failed to attend an interview relating to her/his eligibility for, or receipt of, support

  • have concealed financial resources

  • have not complied with a reporting requirement

  • have made a second claim for asylum before their first has been determined

  • have not complied with a relevant condition.

The Agency may also withdraw support if it comes to their attention that they have been misled in any way by the asylum seeker even if the misrepresentation does not fit within any of the categories above. [2]

In deciding whether to withdraw support, the Agency should take all the circumstances of the case into account. It must make a decision objectively and impartially providing the individual with reasons for the final decision. It must also give particular regard to whether the asylum seeker of one of her/his dependents is vulnerable. [3]

If these requirements are not satisfied the asylum seeker should consider making an appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal.

Criminal offences

If the UK Border Agency has reasonable grounds to suspect that an asylum seeker or her/his dependent has committed an offence under asylum support legislation, it may withdraw support and bring criminal charges. [4] The following behaviour may constitute an offence under the legislation:

  • making false or dishonest representations with a view to obtaining support [5]

  • causing delay or obstruction in the process of making an application or receiving support [6]

  • failing to maintain other members of her/his household that were included on her/his application for support. [7]

If the Agency has reason to believe that the asylum seeker is not resident in the accommodation provided to them or that the accommodation is being used or occupied by someone other than or as well as them it can apply for a warrant to enter the relevant premises. [8]

Recovery of asylum seekers' assets

If, on application by the Home Office, a Sheriff determines that an asylum seeker has misrepresented or failed to disclose a material fact whether fraudulently or otherwise and as a result of this support has been provided by the UK Border Agency, the court may order the asylum seeker to return to the Agency the monetary value of any support provided. [9]

The Home Office will be able to recover assets from asylum seekers without a court order where that person or a dependent of hers/his was not destitute at any time during which they were supported by the UK Border Agency, [10] and when assets that the supported person could not access at the time of their application for asylum support later become accessible. [11]

Termination of tenancy

A UK Border Agency tenancy may be terminated on the service of a written notice to quit of at least seven days if: [12]

  • the asylum support is suspended or discontinued as set out above

  • the relevant claim for asylum has been determined

  • the asylum seeker has ceased to be destitute

  • the asylum seeker is to be moved to other accommodation.

If an asylum seeker has her/his support withdrawn s/he can make an appeal against the decision to withdraw support to the Asylum Support Tribunal. [13]

Reapplication for asylum support

Where support has been denied or discontinued and any appeal to the Asylum Support Tribunal fails, it is possible to reapply to the UK Border Agency. [14] The Agency, however, may refuse any new application unless: [15]

  • there has been a material change in her/his circumstances

  • the Home Secretary concedes that her/his circumstances are exceptional

  • support is needed in order to avoid a breach of the applicant's human rights.

Security of tenure in asylum support accommodation

Accommodation provided through the UK Border Agency cannot be the subject of a Scottish secure or an assured tenancy. [16] Asylum seekers in this type of accommodation therefore have no statutory protection against eviction. [17]

Last updated: 27 July 2020

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg.20(1) Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704 as amended by reg 6 of the Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2005 SI 2005/11

  • [2]

    R (Secretary of State for the Home Dept) v Chief Asylum Support Adjudicator (2003) QBD

  • [3]

    reg.20(3) Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704 as amended by Art 17 of the Council Directive 2003/09/EC of 27/01/03 laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers.

  • [4]

    s.104-108 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [5]

    s.105 and 106 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [6]

    s.107 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [7]

    s.108 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [8]

    s.125 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [9]

    s.112 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [10]

    s.17A Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704 as inserted by reg.4 The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2005 SI 2005/11

  • [11]

    s.17 Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704

  • [12]

    reg.22 Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704

  • [13]

    s.103(2) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • [14]

    reg.21 Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704

  • [15]

    reg.21(1) Asylum Support Regulations 2000 SI 2000/704

  • [16]

    sch.14 Asylum and Immigration Act 1999, which inserts sch.2 para.5A Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and sch.4 11B Housing (Scotland) Act 1988

  • [17]

    s.23A(5A) Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 as inserted by sch.14 Asylum and Immigration Act 1999; see also Ali v Serco Ltd [2019] CSIH 54