The Law Centre is delighted that Department for Communities (DfC) has agreed to amend its policy about acceptable forms of ID for newly-granted refugees to make social security claims.
The Law Centre had expressed concerns about the Home Office practice of giving refugees just 7 days notice of the requirement to leave their Mears’ asylum accommodation. This provides a very short window for refugees to secure new accommodation and obtain a source of income. There is an acute risk of financial hardship. Prompt access to Universal Credit is therefore critical and yet there are a number of obstacles to overcome. Being able to evidence proof of identity and immigration status has proved to be a particular problem especially for refugees who had not received their Biometric Residence Permit. DfC has now updated its policy:
Refugees without a biometric residence permit
Where the claimant has not received their biometric residence permit (BRP) card to prove their identity, they can be asked to provide the following documents:
- ARC (Application Registration Card) – a photographic card issued by the Home Office to asylum seekers; and
- Home Office Decision Grant Letter – confirming a grant of refugee status, or humanitarian protection, for applicant and all dependents.
These documents can be used together in place of a BRP card to verify identity if the information is the same on both and confirmed by the Home Office. Both documents must be provided and not one without the other to be accepted as proof of identity.
Following input from the Law Centre through the DfC Trusted Partner Forum, we are pleased that DfC has agreed to update its policy.
We trust that this will assist refugees obtain Universal Credit faster thus minimising periods without income.