Pregnant asylum seeker to seek legal damages for unnecessary suffering and humiliation inflicted by the Home Office
15 January 2022
A pregnant asylum seeker and her husband, who have been living in a guest house for more than a year without any money, are considering legal action for damages for the suffering caused by Home Office delays.
The 26-year-old woman, known as Aminah and husband Faraj, had been living in a run-down guesthouse for 15 months without any money at all since November 2020 after fleeing Libya, while the Home Office decided their application for asylum. The couple are living in fear of their life.
Glasgow City Council Social Work department accommodated them from Nov 2020 without any money, forcing them to rely on charities and food banks.
In September 2021, after repeated refusals to support them, the Home Office finally awarded them Section 95 support, which consists of £8 each for each week they were in the guest house, and accommodation with £39 per week.
Bizarrely, the Home Office then told their lawyer that they would not receive £8 a week until they were moved out of the guest house into accommodation.
Despite repeated letters from their lawyer and a pre action protocol letter, the Home Office ignored all appeals and proceeded not to issue payments or move the couple.
Aminah* became pregnant, and the couple were reduced to retrieving plastic bags of “food” – including crisps for breakfast - from a crate dumped in the dining room of the guesthouse. They had valuables stolen and were harassed.
Positive Action in Housing publicised their plight in the press and the Home Office agreed to move them two days later through its accommodation provider Mears group.
They were moved to a flat without any food or phone data. The Mears driver refused to give the couple the address of their accommodation until they arrived on the doorstep.
The couple were owed £304 since September 2021 but were given only £200. Aminah* says she thinks that Mears gave some of the backdated money they were due. However, she believes the Home Office/Mears short changed them by one third of what they were meant to have received.
We complained to Migrant Help who told us that this was on the instruction of the Home Office.
We then lodged a complaint with Migrant Help to say the couple were deeply impoverished and being shortchanged.
Legal damages are being sought from the Home Office for the suffering caused to the couple.
We will continue to highlight breaches of human rights against asylum seekers, because if we stay quiet, our silence condones the profiting from vulnerable peoples misery.
Meanwhile please support this JustGiving fundraiser if you can for Aminah’s baby girl who is due on Jan 31.