How UKVI support can end

Support from UK Visas and Immigration comes to an end if a person is granted refugee status or other leave. It can also be suspended or withdrawn in certain circumstances.

This content applies to England

Positive asylum decision

If an asylum seeker's claim for asylum is successful, they are granted refugee status, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain in the UK.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) provision of accommodation and support should stop after 28 days. The person is eligible for assistance under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 and for benefits.

A person who has been granted leave to remain as a refugee or under humanitarian protection may qualify for an interest-free integration loan.[1]

Integration loans are administered by the Department of Work and Pensions, and are intended to fund activities that facilitate integration, such as vocational training (where provision is not available through Jobcentre Plus), a deposit for accommodation, buying essential home items, or for purchasing tools of a trade. Integration loans have replaced backdated payments of income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit to refugees, which ended with the introduction of the new scheme.[2]

Suspension or withdrawal of support

UKVI may decide to withdraw or suspend support in the following situations:[3]

  • 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 they have made a false representation in their 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 their vulnerability should be taken into account when making a decision to refuse or suspend support.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that a sanction for breaking the accommodation rules that results in a complete withdrawal of material support, so that the asylum seeker is unable to satisfy their basic needs, such as food and clothing, is incompatible with EU law. The Court held that any sanctions must be proportionate and must not amount to a violation of the person’s dignity.[4]

Other circumstances when support will be discontinued

UKVI stops providing support to a person once they cease to be an asylum seeker, as defined by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999,[5] for example, because they have been granted asylum in the UK and therefore becomes entitled to housing assistance and welfare benefits.

Support is also discontinued where the household of the asylum seeker is no longer destitute due to a change in their financial circumstances. The asylum seeker is no longer entitled to UKVI support where they have withdrawn their 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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:[9]

  • there has been a material change in the applicant's circumstances such as pregnancy, change of address, new family member joining the household.[10] A material change in circumstances may occur where the asylum applicant has used up their 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.

Last updated: 13 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    Integration Loans for Refugees and Others Regulations 2007 SI 2007/1598.

  • [2]

    ss.12-13 Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004, as amended by s.45 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

  • [3]

    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.

  • [4]

    > Haqbin v Federaal Agentschap voor de opvang van asielzoekers, CJEU C-233/18; see also Art. 20 EU Directive 2013/33.

  • [5]

    s.94(1) Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

  • [6]

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

  • [7]

    reg 22 Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704.

  • [8]

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

  • [9]

    reg 21 Asylum Support Regulations SI 2000/704.

  • [10]

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