Why is the UK the perfect place for refugees?
Imagine this. You are suddenly in a foreign country. You are alone. You have nothing. Nothing but the clothes you stand in. You have traveled on foot for months. Seen unspeakable things. But yet somehow, you have kept going. Knowing that your only hope of salvation lies ahead.
You have been forced to leave your home due to unbearable circumstances. Fleeing war, persecution or natural disaster. There is no ‘home’. There is no going back. Returning is simply not an option.
You know that the UK will show compassion towards you; welcome you into the country with open arms and will be the safe haven that you have been craving. Once you arrive in the UK, you will be granted permission to live, work and qualify for a range of benefits, many similar to those enjoyed by UK citizens. So you push on.
Just over half of the world’s current refugees are from three main countries: Syria 5.5 million, Afghanistan 2.5 million and South Sudan 1.4 million. Living in the UK, there are roughly 118,995 refugees, which is only 0.18 percent of the approximate total population of 65 million people.
For many refugees, the UK is the place they believe will provide a better life than the last one. After five years, a refugee may be given the right to live in the UK permanently. In 2016, 18,000 applicants were accepted to stay in the UK from a total of 39,000 ‘permanent stay’ applications. Refugees are housed by the Home Office in hotels, hostels, and other temporary accommodation or permanently in housing owned by the local government. In line with refugee law and policy, a single refugee can claim £36.95 per week and an average family of four can claim £147.80 per week, as a benefit.