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Last Updated: Monday, 10 February, 2003, 11:34 GMT
'Asylum rules left me homeless'
As new laws which limit the time asylum seekers have to claim state benefits are challenged in the High Court, BBC News speaks to one of those affected.

The 21-year-old Iranian, who called himself 'Arash' to protect his family's identity, was shocked by his treatment in the UK.


After 10 days travelling across Europe in the back of a lorry Arash arrived in England last week.

He said that he applied for asylum soon after entering the UK, but has since been sleeping rough and left without assistance.

I didn't think they were going to tell me to leave the building and sleep in the street
'Arash'
"When we arrived actually we applied for asylum in a police station, but they told us we had to go to a central office - 'from there you can apply for asylum and they will give you everything'," Arash explained.

"When I arrived there I applied for asylum and had a paper from police that I went to police station and asked for asylum.

"But they didn't accept that paper either."

Arash said that he was told the law had changed on 8 January and that he was not entitled to accommodation or money for food.

"They just asked us to leave their office," he said.

"We didn't really know what to do, we couldn't go anywhere, we couldn't get any benefit, we couldn't get any shelter.

"So, we were homeless and we slept rough."

'Leave the building'

Arash said that he does not know what will happen to him in the weeks and months to come and that he was still sleeping rough.

He was disappointed by the lack of support and said that it was not what he expected when he left Iran.

"We still don't know what will happen to us and we hope something will be done for us," he said.

"I was expecting that the British Government would give me accommodation, somewhere to live, while I am applying for my asylum and while I am waiting for the decision.

"I didn't think they were going to tell me to leave the building and sleep in the street."


SEE ALSO:
Blair's asylum pledge rubbished
20 Feb 03  |  Politics
Tougher asylum measures enforced
08 Jan 03  |  Politics
UK 'not burdened by refugees'
27 Dec 02  |  UK News
Asylum rough sleeping crisis fear
09 Dec 02  |  UK News


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