UK ministers urged to give asylum seekers the right to work

Campaigners call on UK Government to overturn ban on the right of those seeking asylum to work in the UK.

UK ministers urged to give asylum seekers the right to work Getty Images

UK ministers have been urged to lift a ban on the right of asylum seekers to work.

Under current rules set out by the UK Government, those whose claim has been outstanding for more than 12 months through no fault of their own can be given permission to work.

However, those who are granted the right to work are restricted to a small number of jobs on a Shortage Occupation List.

Any permission to work granted by the Home Office will then come to an end if their claim is refused and any appeals rights are exhausted, with those individuals expected to leave the UK.

Campaigners have raised concerns over the ban, with many people having to wait months or even years for a decision on their asylum claim to be made.

Now, a Bill is being brought forward by SNP MP Carol Monaghan at Westminster which seeks to overturn the ban.

The Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill would grant permission to work to asylum seekers who have waited six months for a decision on their asylum application.

“The Tory government’s treatment of refugees is shameful and wholesale reform of the UK’s broken asylum system is long-overdue, including lifting the ban preventing asylum seekers from working,” said Monaghan.

“It cannot be right that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are left languishing in poverty, while they wait many months or years for the Home Office to make an asylum decision.

“People who have risked everything to find safety in the UK should have the best chance of contributing to our society and integrating into our communities. They should be able to use their skills to live in dignity.”

Monaghan also insisted that Scotland “shouldn’t have to wait” for Westminster to act.

She said: “I urge the UK government to back my Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill. Not only is it the right thing to do but it is also beneficial to the whole of society – contributing to taxes and supporting our economy.

“Many employers would be delighted to be able to employ asylum seekers. But sadly, due to the Tory government’s toxic hostile environment, we are left with the ludicrous situation where employers are left short of staff and asylum seekers are prevented from working.

“Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act or put up with the Tories’ shameful treatment of asylum seekers.

“With independence we can build a fair asylum and migration system that meets Scotland’s values and needs as a progressive country.”

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