How Can You Help? Welcoming New Arrivals
When an asylum seeker arrives in the UK, it is very likely that they will be tired, disoriented and traumatised by the events that led them to flee their contry of origin. The UK asylum system does not welcome them with open arms. They have to undergo a screening interview, which may last a couple of hours, and will be placed in temporary accommodation for a few weeks with many other asylum seekers of different nationalities, before being sent to a dispersal area. They may not have yet met their solicitor, and almost certainly will not have been befriended by a British citizen during this time.
On arrival in their new location, a strange place that they have probably never heard of unless it is a major city, they will be placed in a shared house with other asylum seekers, unless they have come as a family. Their accommodation provider is obliged to give them a two hour induction, which will include instructions about their accommodation and a quick guide to the locality. The chances of them retaining much of this information are minimal.
That’s where the Church can play a vital role. Although the accommodation provider cannot advertise a new arrival, they can signpost them to existing projects, where they can be welcomed and befriended. Often that can be the difference between isolation and integration for vulnerable people.
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