• Journey to reporting centre: 4.9 miles
  • Average journey time: 51 minutes
  • Cost: £5.30 return

Hassan is a highly educated middle-aged man from the middle-east. Having suffered severe persecution in his country of origin, Hassan fled to the UK where his brother was living. After being detained for several weeks in a UK detention centre, he became subject to regular reporting whilst his asylum claim was pending, which lasted over three years. He now has refugee status.

And when I found there is no news from the Home Office, every other week I went to the police station to sign. After 4 months I said I’ve ran out of my money… I have no money to buy bus tickets, to come to the station to sign. So I’m not going to come.

And I said I do not come anymore, I’m in my brother’s home, you can come there if you have any problem, you can arrest and detain me again.

I came here as there was a very real threat to my life in my country. I would like to go back to my life there but it is not safe… There are people who are looking for me. In my country, if you talk critically about the government, you will not be safe. But I hope very much, that I can go back one day.

But I hope very much, that I can go back one day.

The challenge of getting to and from the reporting centre together with the financial burden this entails, can be one of the main struggles of everyday life for asylum-seekers. For most who are subject to reporting requirements, as well as not knowing for how long they will have to report, faced the additional challenge of accessing the reporting centre itself.

Accessing the reporting centre at Patchway, which is 7 miles from central Bristol, is approximately a 60-minute bus journey each way, costing over £4 for a return fare. The fact that most are required to report every week or every two weeks – though for some as often as two to three times a week – enforces people on very little income to make this expensive and awkward journey on a regular basis. These challenges in travelling to the reporting centre also exist for those housed in other parts of the UK. For instance, for asylum seekers housed in accommodation in Newcastle must travel to Middlesbrough to report, an expensive journey taking an hour an fifteen minutes and which includes a change in trains.

The risk of being arrested for not attending their reporting appointment is, for some, outweighed by the financial burden that reporting itself entails. As accessing asylum support has become increasingly difficult and restrictive, and asylum seekers are excluded both from access to employment and from claiming mainstream welfare benefits, many are prevented from accessing any channel to financial support whatsoever. This can essentially force some into ‘informal’ or ‘cash-in-hand’ labour, thus exacerbating their vulnerability to possible arrest and detainment.

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