Asylum Matters: Right to Work – Lift the Ban

See Lift the Ban:

Right now, right here in the UK, people seeking refugee status are banned from working whilst they wait months, and often years, for a decision on their asylum claim.

Instead, they are left to live on just £5.66 per day, struggling to support themselves and their families, whilst the Government wastes the talents of thousands of people.

We think that’s wrong. We believe that people who have risked everything to find safety should have the best chance of contributing to our society and integrating into our communities. This means giving people seeking asylum the right to work so that they can use their skills and live in dignity.

The Lift the Ban coalition is working to change this. Together, we believe we can #LiftTheBan and ensure that people seeking safety in the UK have the right to work.

Read more:

8 December 2021: Hansard: Asylum Seekers: Right to Work Policy Parliamentary debate

Basically summed up here:

Lift the Ban’s report recommended relaxing policy to allow asylum seekers to work after six months, with no restrictions on access to the labour market such as limiting eligible jobs to the shortage occupation list. In July 2020, a follow-up to their 2018 report was published with the same policy recommendation but with updated estimated benefits to the Government of £98 million per year. A further update in summer 2021 revised this further upwards to £180.8 million per year.

The Home Office has carried out a comprehensive review of the Lift the Ban report; however, our evidence indicates the assumptions underpinning the recommendations are highly optimistic. Having considered a wide range of available evidence the Home Office believes that a more realistic set of assumptions would present a more nuanced picture.

18 January 2022 : Asylum Matters update: Right to work 

People seeking asylum in the UK are effectively prohibited from working. This forced inactivity 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.

Asylum Matters believes that any person 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 are eventually permitted to stay. 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.

To that end, Asylum Matters working closely with Refugee Action, has mobilised a coalition of more than 40 refugee organisations, think tanks, businesses and faith groups to campaign for change. The coalition is calling for the Government to Lift the Ban which is preventing people seeking asylum from working. You can learn more about the coalition on and feel free to get in touch with us if you want to get involved or share your experience.

Home Secretary Calls for a Review on the Right to Work for Asylum Seekers

Last week, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, responding to a question on Lift the Ban from Catherine West, stated that, while there were no plans to change the current arrangements, “this is one of the areas that I would like to review”. This was the first public confirmation of the Home Office review of the right to work and the first clear indication from the Home Secretary that he is open to reforming the policy. The statement was covered by The Guardian and prompted opposition MPs to push for an immediate end to the ban (Afzal KhanEd Davey).Working in partnership locally and nationally to improve the lives of refugees and people seeking asylum through social and political