How To Help Refugee Action

Since 1981, Refugee Action has advocated for the rights of refugees, migrants, and those seeking asylum in the UK. British laws surrounding asylum seekers are convoluted, discriminatory and only serve to make the process more stressful and difficult. Currently, asylum seekers cannot secure work in the UK and are only entitled to limited asylum support; it’s an incredibly complex system which offers asylum seekers around £35 a week. If asylum seekers are granted refugee status, they have less than a month (28 days) to find employment and adequate accommodation. If this requirement isn’t met, they are ousted from the asylum accommodations and more often than not, become homeless. In the event of a failed claim, the support offered drastically worsens, asylum seekers are provided with a form of ‘cash card’ instead of monetary support. This process is inherently flawed as the card isn’t widely recognised, instead of helping asylum asylum seekers integrate and adjust it only serves to further separate them from the rest of society.

People often seek sanctuary and safety in other countries due to political persecution and lack of safety in their home countries. They are forced to abandon everything they have come to know, everything they are familiar with, to pursue freedom and a higher quality of life. In seeking out new refuge, the transition is often obscured by laws that do not cater to or consider refugees. Refugee Action recognised the general lack of compassion and action surrounding this issue, and seeks to uphold the rights of refugees and asylum seekers during their transition while instilling a sense of independence and self-worth. All people deserve to feel safe and welcome in their homes, whether it’s their birthplace or a new country, and we are all responsible for making sure that human rights are respected.   

Refugee Action is a charity that assists asylum seekers and refugees with direct resources and hands-on efforts to rebuild their lives. The organisation is one of the largest providers of refugee resettlement. In taking the helm of this urgent issue, Refugee Action partners with other refugee organisations, and trains them in developing all-encompassing services to assist those in need. The organisation’s mission isn’t simply to help refugees in the moment, but to empower refugees to rebuild their lives in safety. This isn’t a quick fix; Refugee Action seeks to build a foundation of support where people have continuous access to justice and can avoid destitution in the future. Refugee Action seeks to eliminate injustice at the source through practical, up-to-date advocacy and a genuine hunger for change.

Their Good Practice and Partnerships Team works with 133 different organisations to provide resources to refugees and asylum seekers. Current campaigns led by Refugee Action include #LiftTheBan,a call for UK government to stop the ban placed on asylum seekers looking for work. Another is Let Refugees Learn, which focuses on equipping refugees with quality English language classes to break down just one of the barriers keeping them from employment. Knowing English is required for employment in Britain, and refugees often feel isolated and unable to communicate with people because of the language disconnect. Stand Up for Asylum is a campaign that gets to the crux of all of these issues, calling for change to an ineffective system. The campaign focuses on the many injustices asylum seekers face, drawing attention to the fact that many are not offered adequate legal aid to navigate the legal system through their process. The government is failing some of the most vulnerable people in the country, essentially forcing them into homelessness with no guides or resources to work in their favor. In Refugee Action’s Missing the Safety Net Report, it is evidenced that in 200 applications for asylum support, applicants are waiting about 7 times the issued timeframe for decisions on their application. 

Their campaigns yield real, tangible results. From 2018-2019 alone, Refugee Action supported over 2,500 people in the asylum system, encouraged 83 charities to increase their immigration legal advice, and resettled 1,800 refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK. Their accomplishments in preceding years only compound the success of the organisation, and prove that meaningful strides can be made to increase quality of life when people deeply care and actively champion the needs of others.

By Alyson Lewis