People seeking asylum in the UK are effectively banned from working.
This forced inactivity leaves people living in poverty for months and often years on end; is detrimental to self-esteem and mental health; increases the difficulty of integration for those who are eventually permitted to stay, and places an entirely unnecessary cost on the public purse. It also wastes the talents, skills and experience of people who could and wish to contribute, to their communities and to the economy.
Asylum Matters believes that anyone waiting for longer than six months for a decision on their asylum claim should be granted the right to work, unconstrained by the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.
This change would provide people with a route out of poverty, would reduce the cost of the asylum support system, and would help integration for those who gain some form of status. There is no evidence to support the claim that such changes would act as a ‘pull factor’ and increase the number of people claiming asylum in the UK.
Asylum Matters is the co-secretariat, with Refugee Action, of the Lift the Ban coalition. The coalition now has more than 250 refugee organisations, think tanks, businesses, trade unions and faith groups, all calling on the Government to Lift the Ban and grant people seeking asylum the right to work.
For the most up to date news on the Lift the Ban campaign, check out our news posts below: