Asylum seekers are not allowed to work unless they have been waiting for a decision on their case for more than a year through no fault of their own, in which case they can apply to the UK Border Agency for permission to work.
Asylum seekers who need financial support and/or accommodation while they are waiting for a decision on their claim can apply to the UK Border Agency to provide this.
Accommodation is provided on a no-choice basis outside of London and the South-East. Financial support alone can be provided if the person does not need accommodation. Asylum seekers do not continue to receive this support after their application has been refused and their appeal rights exhausted.
Asylum seekers whose applications have been refused are able to apply for a basic support package known as “hard case” or “Section 4” support if their circumstances meet the narrow eligibility criteria. The support consists of accommodation and board in the form of an ‘Azure card’ which can only be used in specific supermarkets. In order to receive this support, the applicant must agree to return to their country of origin.
If an asylum seeker has a serious health problem or disability, it may be possible to ask the department of social services at the local council to provide accommodation and financial support instead.