Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, has today secured an agreement from the Chancellor to review rules on the right to work for asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application.
The Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary has been at the forefront of a cross-party campaign to change the law to allow people seeking asylum in the UK to work after 3 months of being here.
Currently they must wait 12 months, and can only work if they fill a role on the Government’s very narrow ‘shortage occupation list’, which includes ballet dancer and rocket engineer.
The ‘Lift the Ban’ coalition of charities and progressive parliamentarians estimates that removing these restrictions would provide a boost to the UK economy of £42m through tax contributions and benefit savings.
Ms Jardine commented:
“Allowing asylum seekers the right to work would provide people who have risked everything to reach safety the chance to feel part of the community, and give them the dignity they deserve.
“The latest immigration statistics showed that the number of people waiting over six months for a decision on their asylum claim rose for the fifth consecutive quarter.
“That’s yet more people who could be contributing more than £40 million to our economy, instead of being forced to live on a pittance from government handouts.
“I was delighted that the Chancellor agreed today that the rules need to be looked at. My Lib Dem colleagues and I will continue to demand better and keep up the pressure for this common sense change to our outdated asylum laws”.