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Suspension or withdrawal of support

This content applies to England

Reasons why UKVI (formerly the UK Border Agency) may suspend or withdraw support, the relevant notice period, and re-applying after withdrawal.

Suspension or withdrawal of support

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may decide to withdraw or suspend support in the following situations:[1]

  • there is a suspected breach of a condition under which support is being provided, and there is no reasonable excuse
  • the asylum seeker or dependant has abandoned their accommodation without permission
  • UKVI discovers that a household in receipt of support was not destitute. An example would be if a member of the household was working or had other assets. UKVI can claim a refund from the supported household in these circumstances
  • the asylum seeker has breached the rules in 'collective accommodation' (by which it is presumed is meant shared accommodation), for example, 'seriously violent behaviour, failure to meet reporting requirements, concealment of financial resources, failure to respond within 10 days to a request for information, making two or repeat asylum claims in different names at the same time or failing to attend UKVI interviews in connection with support'
  • it is suspected that the applicant committed an offence in relation to getting support, for instance, where s/he has made a false representation in her/his application for support.

The category of intentional destitution has been abolished as a reason for refusing support.

The Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2005 also provide that any decision to end support is to be taken 'individually, objectively and impartially,' and reasons shall be given. The EC Directive laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers requires that vulnerable persons must have their special needs taken into account. If support is refused for a vulnerable person, then her/his vulnerability should be taken into account when making a decision to refuse/suspend support.

Other circumstances when support will be discontinued

UKVI will stop providing support to a person once s/he ceases to be an asylum seeker, as defined by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999,[2] for instance, because s/he has been granted asylum in the UK and therefore becomes entitled to housing assistance and welfare benefits. Support will also be discontinued where the household of the asylum seeker is no longer destitute due to a change in their financial circumstances. The asylum seeker will no longer be entitled to UKVI support where s/he has withdrawn her/his claim for asylum, or if the claim is refused and there is no pending appeal.

Notice of withdrawal of support

Although the regulations do not specify a period of notice that the asylum applicant must be given, support should continue for 28 days after notification of the asylum decision or appeal, and for 21 days in any other case.[3] Two days are allowed for posting the decision before this time starts to run. Where a notice to quit is given, this may be limited to seven days.[4] The regulations allow for a notice to quit to be served without regard to the security of tenure provisions that would normally apply, and a period of less than seven days is therefore allowed if the circumstances of the case are such that a shorter period of notice is justified.[5]

Re-applying after withdrawal

Where UKVI has refused or withdrawn support, and any appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) fails, UKVI may refuse any new application unless:[6]

  • there has been a material change in the applicant's circumstances such as pregnancy, change of address, new family member joining the household.[7] A material change in circumstances may occur where the asylum applicant has used up her/his available resources that had been initially considered sufficient, but are now below the destitution threshold
  • the Home Secretary considers that the applicant's circumstances are exceptional
  • support is needed to avoid a breach of the household's human rights.

In addition, where:

  • support has been withdrawn because the accommodation has been deemed to be abandoned without permission
  • the asylum seeker has failed to comply with reporting requirements

if the asylum seeker is traced or reports to the police, support can be reinstated or a new application accepted subject to the reasons and circumstances of the disappearance.

[1] reg 20(1) Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704, as amended by the Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2005; see also Breach of conditions, UKVI, November 2010, as updated.

[2] s.94(1) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

[3] reg 3 Asylum Support (Amendment) Regulations 2002 SI 2002/472.

[4] reg 22 Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704.

[5] reg 22(4) Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704.

[6] reg 21 Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704.

[7] see reg 15 Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/70 for full list.

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