In 2008, 70% of sanctuary seekers were refused at their initial claim in the UK(5). However, this is just the beginning. The appeals process, Judicial review, applying for section 4 support and organising voluntary return are all routes available to failed Asylum seekers that could take years to complete. During this time living arrangements are fragile at best. At worst, sanctuary seekers can slide into destitution.
This study aims to highlight the main health problems are which caused by destitution in the Sanctuary Seeker population. The causes of these problems and the health services available to deal with them are also analysed and to try and find areas that can be improved and prevent destitution.
The information necessary to analyse this topic will gained through a number of different methods. Reading through the relevant literature, personal encounters with Sanctuary Seekers and a review of media material surrounding the topic will be used as well as background knowledge.
The study showed that there are many routes into destitution for sanctuary seekers and many live an unstable lifestyle that is not sustainable in the long-term and could lead to destitution. It also highlighted destitute sanctuary seekers’ problems with psychological health issues as well as sexual health issues.
The main issues with meeting destitute sanctuary seekers’ health needs were identified as the banning of certain sanctuary seekers’ use of the NHS and also difficulties communicating.
This review gives an out line of the many issues surrounding sanctuary seekers and destitution. Both the media and the government appear to treat sanctuary seekers as second class citizens which accentuate the problems. Sanctuary seekers are a population just like any other and the attitude that they should all be treated with suspicion must be changed. Failed Sanctuary seekers need to be given clear ways of living sustainably by the government to avoid further destitution.