Refugee Services Axed in No Deal Brexit Scenario

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Organisations including the Refugee Council are left in a state of uncertainty after receiving correspondence from the Home Office stating all refugee intervention services funded by an EU grant programme is set to be rejected should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, detailed how the news comes despite receiving confirmation from the Government that funding would be honoured regardless of the outcome of a Brexit deal. Wren warns of the damage that will be done to the refugee communities throughout Britain.

The Amif (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) grant is worth £2.6 million and was estimated to be able to support 3,500 refugees from 2018-2020. The funds would be allocated to assist with issues that refugees are disproportionately affected by, including preventing homelessness, financial destitution, unemployment, poverty, isolation and mental health issues. The grant, since awarded in 2018, has been used to assist people with finding appropriate accommodation, gain access to therapy and find work that matches their skills and experience in order to give people a chance in rebuilding their lives here in the UK.

It is estimated thousands of vulnerable people will miss out if the funding is pulled. 

The organisation say this represents a huge backtrack regarding the Government’s promise of funding and taking the matter of refugees safety and wellbeing seriously. It is feared that the needs of the asylum-seeking and refugee community will be forgotten, forcing people into extreme poverty and significant mental distress.

In their open letter to the Government, the Refugee Council states:

“A loss of funding on this unprecedented scale would wipe out the majority of the Refugee Council’s capacity to help these refugees rebuild their lives in safety. Many charities had been previously assured that this funding would be protected, so the decision to now cut short the promised funds represents a disgraceful Government U-turn.”

The new funding rules for organisations like the Refugee Council comes at the same time as the House of Lords Committee speaking out on the effects refugees would face in the event of a no-deal Brexit, predicting a “significant humanitarian impact”. Peers believe a no-deal would see asylum seekers and refugees being separated from their relatives due to being in a “legal limbo” as the Government attempts to set up new systems and implement new immigration policies and procedures. Peers warn the Government that leaving behind EU policy regarding refugees means “the loss of a safe, legal route for the reunification of refugee families in Europe.”

The Refugee Council seeks to overturn the decision through their call for emergency action. Over 23,000 individuals have expressed solidarity with the organisation and others who are set to lose out and therefore be unable to deliver their support services.

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