Asylum seekers are not allowed to work while they wait for a decision on their claim. Nor are they allowed to work if they are not able to return home. PCS believes this is wrong and, along with a host of other organisations, supports the Refugee Council in calling on the government to let asylum seekers work.
If asylum seekers were able to work it would:
Since 2002 the government has refused permission for almost everyone claiming asylum to work. Refugees come to the UK seeking sanctuary from persecution. Some wait years for their claim to be finally resolved.
They want to take responsibility for looking after their families and escape from destitution when they cannot access government support. Yet long periods of unemployment during their asylum claim means that when allowed to stay, they often end up in jobs far beneath their qualifications and skills. And if they have their claim refused, they end up returning home with out of date skills and find it harder to get a job than before they left.
Our society is losing too. The UK taxpayer foots the bill for a policy which prevents people from contributing to our economy. The great injustice is that people seeking asylum find themselves scapegoated as scroungers, when they would welcome the opportunity to work while they are here.
We want the Government to allow asylum seekers to work if they have been waiting longer than six months for a full resolution on their asylum claim. Until 2002 asylum seekers could work if they’d been waiting longer than 6 months for an initial decision from the Home Office.
We want the Government to ensure that permission to work remains for people whose claim for asylum is refused, but they are unable to return home immediately through no fault of their own, and are complying with instructions to report to authorities.
We call on the government to allow people seeking asylum to work.