Home Office tracking use of Aspen card by people seeking asylum

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piles of coins

March 2019 update: The Times Scotland covers the issue (article, behind a paywall, here). In their report, the Home Office confirmed that 186 people had their asylum support stopped last year “as a result of a referral regarding the Aspen card usage”.

Back in 2017, the Unity Centre in Glasgow highlighted the risks faced by people receiving asylum (financial) support who had been issued with Aspen cards, which replaced the old system of using your Asylum Registration Card (ARC card) to collect cash from a Post Office.

Read about asylum support on our legal blog here.


Unity pointed out that the Home Office explicitly say that they will “analyse card usage data”.

Unity said:

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.

It’s now clear that this is not just a possibility, but something that is happening in practice:

As Mishka from the Freed Voices group and others have pointed out, this has long been an issue for people on “Section 4 support” (see our blog post on asylum support here for explanation of this term) using the “Azure card”.

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