Asylum seekers surviving on $40 stipend

Asylum seekers

Many asylum seekers in Aotearoa New Zealand are living on $40 a week from a charity, while they wait for decisions on their immigration status. Some are even resorting to sleeping in bus stops.

The Asylum Seekers Support Trust (ASST), a charity relying on donations, provides assistance to approximately 400 asylum seekers across the country.

These individuals, including those previously detained in immigration facilities, are referred to ASST by Immigration New Zealand.

However, the government agency does not provide funding for their care, leaving the charity with limited resources to support the growing number of clients.

In May alone, ASST had 92 new clients who received nothing unless it was through the charity.

The wait time for asylum seekers to become refugees in Aotearoa is prolonged, averaging around 500 days.

Shockingly, some individuals have had to wait for five or six years for legal refugee recognition.

ASST provides accommodation at its Auckland hostel, food boxes and a weekly stipend of $40 to asylum seekers who are ineligible for social housing and lack a stable income.

Social workers are employed to assist clients with the visa process.

While Immigration New Zealand claims that asylum seekers can apply for work visas and receive a living allowance, the reality is different.

Out of the 16 asylum seekers residing at the Auckland hostel, nine are without visas and do not receive immigration allowances.

This dire situation has left many asylum seekers traumatised, confined to the hostel with no sense of purpose.

ASST’s general manager described it as a broken system that fails to support those in need adequately.

A recent University of Auckland study highlighted the inequality of services available to different refugee subgroups and emphasised the importance of supporting asylum seekers during the legal review process.

Immigration New Zealand acknowledges that there is no formal referral process to ASST and states that they are not currently funded to provide financial support to the charity.

However, the government is exploring options to improve assistance for asylum seekers and convention refugees.

As asylum seekers continue to face prolonged waiting periods, insufficient financial resources and uncertain living conditions, the immediate need for assistance remains pressing.


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News category: New Zealand.

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