The World's First Nation of Sanctuary

A pilot programme is being launched through the month of February and March to give all Asylum seekers free bus and train transport, and supporters of the pilot programme hope to see the system become permanent.

Train and Bus fares are not cheap to say the least and many in Wales are on income support and are not allowed to claim such benefits.

In 2019 the Welsh government announced their plan for Wales to become the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ for refugees, offering counselling and integration efforts to people from the day they arrive. 

Asylum seekers, who have not yet received refugee status, are given an allowance of £39.63 per week and free accommodation. Their limited allowance means many struggle to reach important appointments, such as healthcare or immigration. Often they are forced to walk long distances in rain or snow to attend mandatory appointments.

Why are the Welsh people not afforded the same opportunities to better themselves, since it’s not only asylum seekers who struggle to get to interviews or appointments? 

The scheme is being delivered by partners Oasis CardiffEYST and the lead partner Welsh Refugee Council where it will measure the benefits to asylum seekers’ lives by providing them travel tickets. It will also help policymakers understand asylum seekers’ travel needs.

Download a copy of the leaflet and tell us what you the people of Wales think of the scheme and what actions should be taken to raise our concerns. 

Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary and we must do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are able to reach safety and find a welcome here,” said Welsh Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt in late 2021.

The plan “makes a mockery of our aspiration in Wales to become a Nation of Sanctuary,” said Welsh MP Liz Saville Roberts.

“Despite evidence that the overwhelming majority of people crossing the Channel are genuine asylum seekers, (Home Secretary) Priti Patel is on a war path to make these people’s lives as harrowing as possible.”

Such a stance sits in direct opposition to the U.K. government’s current plans to enact sweeping reforms to the asylum system which are regarded as hostile to asylum seekers, particularly those crossing the English Channel from France in order to claim asylum.

Follow Steve Laws, as he reports on how the government hide daily figures for illegal arrivals by boat.

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