More than 175,000 people are awaiting a decision on whether they will be granted refugee status in the UK. Many people wait years for an outcome- forced to live in limbo. 

During this time, most people seeking asylum live on just over £5 a day, are not permitted to work, and are accommodated and supported in a system that was never designed to be used over the long term.

One of our community member’s shared their experience of life in the asylum system- they wish to remain anonymous.

“I arrived in the UK at 20 years old. I didn’t know then that all my twenties would be spent in the asylum process. During this time we had two children, I tried to raise my kids as best I could.

No one wants to beg for food for their kids or themselves. But the situation forces people there, they can’t work. I remember just eating 20p noodles a day so I could buy the cream for my baby’s eczema. 

You can’t choose a home for your family. We were put in an area with drug dealers, once my husband was attacked; we were scared. Our children experienced racism, even though they were born in this country, it’s like they don’t have the same value, they should be respected and treated equally like any other kid. 

It’s stressful seeing your children comparing themselves to other kids, they ask why they don’t have those toys, they don’t have the same bags and shoes, why they can’t go to McDonalds. We have patience for ourselves, but seeing our children upset with tears in their eyes, it’s so stressful. 

We had to stay at home for nine years, we didn’t have money to go anywhere. We feel the best part of our life was wasted, we couldn’t enjoy life as we should. It’s depressing staying at home all the time. We went through this experience for a very long time, we don’t want anyone else to go through this. 

Life is much better now, we have status, my husband can work. I work with GCP to share my experience to help make the asylum process easier for new people. Everyone has different situations and experiences, but we are not alone in the process.”

If you are in the asylum process and need advice, you can call GCP’s Advice & Advocacy Helpline for free on 0800 310 0054. 


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