Asylum seekers on Section 95 support have recently received ASPEN cards. Instead of going to collect cash at the Post Office, support now goes directly onto the ASPEN card which can be used as a debit card – at ATMs and in shops.
Benefits for the Home Office include:
- enabling wider dispersal as applicants are not tied to a single post office for collection of asylum support
- quicker process for obtaining a replacement card
- reducing the number of critical failure points
- being able to monitor card usage data
It’s this last point that worries us at Unity. Not because those in the asylum system are spending their meager £36 per week on anything to be ashamed of, but because this means that the Home Office can monitor and scrutinise asylum seekers even more than they already do.
The Home Office explicitly say that they will “analyse card usage data”. This means that where you spend your money and how you spend your money could later be used against you.
The Home Office already deny or cut asylum seekers support if they deem their spending to be on “unnecessary” items.
Unity would advise people to withdraw their support in one lump sum. Don’t let them snoop!