Commissioner's File: CIS/3231/1997
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ACT 1992
SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS ACT 1992
APPEAL FROM DECISION OF SOCIAL SECURITY APPEAL TRIBUNAL ON A QUESTION OF LAW
DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER
"(3A) For the purposes of this paragraph, a person -
(a) is an asylum seeker when he submits on his arrival (other than on his re-entry) in the United Kingdom from a country outside the Common Travel Area a claim for asylum to the Secretary of State that it would be contrary to the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention for him to be removed from, or required to leave, the United Kingdom and that claim is recorded by the Secretary of State as having been made;"
A person who is an asylum seeker for the purposes of that provision would be entitled to benefit by virtue of regulation 70(3)(b). Sub-paragraph (3A)(aa) provides an alternative method of qualifying for benefit but that depends on a declaration by the Secretary of State as to the circumstances in the claimant's country of origin and I am told that no declaration has been made. Some may think that odd given the present state of affairs in Iraq.
"And yet these regulations for some genuine asylum seekers at least, must now be regarded as rendering these rights [to benefit payments] nugatory. Either that, or the 1996 regulations necessarily contemplate for some a life so destitute that, to my mind, no civilised nation can tolerate it."
Nevertheless, regulation 70(3A) was tolerated and re-enacted, in identical form, pursuant to an amendment to the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 and has effect from 24 July 1996, a Lords amendment allowing 3 days grace to claim asylum having been overturned in the Commons.
(Signed) R A Sanders
(Date) 12 March 1998