The work of WMSMP in relation to asylum commenced in 1999 with the Asylum and Immigration Act to oversee and support the policy of asylum dispersal as part of our function as the regional SMP. Our work and function has increased significantly since then but this remains a core area of our work.
Asylum Dispersal is the national policy of providing destitute asylum seekers with support and accommodation. The accommodation is provided on a no choice basis to local authorities that have voluntarily agreed to be an asylum dispersal area. The policy of asylum dispersal exists to ensure that destitute asylum seekers are able to be effectively supported and accommodated whilst easing potential pressure on local services by accommodating them in participating local authorities rather than just in the local authorities in which they present.
Accommodation is currently provided in the West Midlands by SERCO under the Asylum Accommodation and Support Services Contracts (AASC) overseen by the Home Office. An additional support service provides advice and guidance to service users on the asylum process, their rights and signposting different services. This contract is known as the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility Assistance services (AIRE) which is delivered by Migrant Help nationally.