Asylum seekers in Cardiff are being issued with brightly coloured wristbands that they must wear at all times – in a move which echoes the “red door” controversy in Middlesbrough and has resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public.
Newly arrived asylum seekers in the Welsh capital who are housed by Clearsprings Ready Homes – a private firm contracted by the Home Office – are being told that they must wear the wristbands all the time otherwise they will not be fed.
The wristbands entitle the asylum seekers who cannot work and are not given money to three meals a day.
Eric Ngalle (36) spent a month in Lynx House in Cardiff where initial accommodation is provided for asylum seekers before he was granted refugee status in November 2015.
He is now working as a writer and making a theatre production with the Arts Council of Wales.
He said: ‘My time in Lynx House was one of the most horrible experiences in my life. I hated wearing the wristbands and sometimes refused to wear them and was turned away from food.
‘If we refused to wear the wristbands we were told we would be reported to the Home Office.
Some staff implemented this policy in a more drastic way than others.