Welsh Government has declared ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ status for Wales to welcome people through safe and legal routes who need help on humanitarian grounds to rebuild their lives.
Caerphilly County Borough Council is taking part in a pilot to become a ‘dispersal’ area in Wales. The other asylum dispersal areas include Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Wrexham and Conwy. A dispersal area is a designated place where the Council has agreed with the Home Office that it will provide support for asylum seekers. Caerphilly has agreed to support five families.
The skills, experience and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers are useful to Wales and their inclusion will enhance our communities. We already have positive experience of settling refugee families in the Caerphilly county borough, through our involvement since 2015 in the UK Resettlement Scheme.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do people claim asylum?
People claim asylum because they have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their home country. Many of the asylum seekers and refugees in the UK have been tortured or have suffered severe trauma in their country of origin.
What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee?
An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be fleeing persecution in their homeland, has arrived in another country, made themselves known to the authorities and exercised their legal right to apply for asylum.
A refugee is someone whose application for asylum has been successful and whom the Home Office allows to stay, having proved that they would face persecution in their country of origin. The 1951 United Nations Convention describes a refugee as ‘a person who has proved a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their home country for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a political social group, or political opinion.’ Their asylum application has therefore been successful, and they can remain in another ‘safe’ country.
Where do asylum seekers come from?
Asylum seekers mainly come from countries where there is war or conflict or where there is a history of poor human rights. Examples of where asylum seekers come from include Turkey, Algeria, Eritrea, Iraq, Romania, Afghanistan and Syria.
Who will be responsible for providing support to asylum seekers?
Clearsprings Ready Homes is the organisation responsible for sourcing properties, and carrying out necessary checks regarding the suitability of the property and the area. Clearsprings will provide and manage all support for families, including access to 24-hour support.
There will be regular communication between Council departments, including housing, education and social services, Clearsprings and external partners, such as health and police. Regular meetings will be organised by the Council with everyone providing support to the families.
Who pays for the cost of accommodating asylum seekers?
Asylum seekers cannot choose where to live – this is decided by the Home Office. All costs of accommodating asylum seekers are met by central government. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are not eligible to claim benefits. They do receive National Health Service benefits and some educational services. These costs are supported directly by central government.
Will asylum seekers be given priority on the Council’s housing waiting list?
Clearsprings will work with the Council’s housing division to discuss suitable private rental properties for families who are being dispersed into the area. Properties identified for dispersal will not be those being considered by the Council for any other housing needs, including those affected by homelessness, so will not impact on the current waiting list.
Will all families be placed within the same area of the borough?
The area identified for any family will consider the needs of the family and the suitability of that area. Consideration will also be given to any cohesion or community safety issues identified in the area.
What checks are carried out in relation to asylum seekers?
All people seeking asylum go through security screening checks. Clearsprings are in regular contact with people in asylum accommodation; managing housing and addressing any issues at the property, with support as appropriate from Migrant Help. People seeking asylum readily respect UK laws (note- not to do so will affect their application) and receive induction briefings on rights and responsibilities and UK laws. Most people will spend some time in initial accommodation, before being dispersed to the participating Council in Wales.
Will there be Home Office/ Welsh Government Support to ensure effective integration?
The Home Office and Wales Strategic Migration Partnership will work closely with Clearsprings and the Council to ensure effective integration. The Council attends fortnightly meetings with other areas who are currently providing asylum dispersal; these meetings ensure that Caerphilly is up to date with any developments and information regarding asylum dispersal from a local and national perspective.
For more information on asylum dispersal contact the Regional Community Cohesion Officers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com