Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, has today introduced a bill in Parliament which would give asylum seekers the right to work after 3 months of arriving in the UK while waiting for their claim to be processed.
Currently, asylum seekers in the UK can only apply to work if they have been waiting for than 12 months and under very highly restrictive conditions. These rules are among the toughest in the western world.
Ms Jardine’s bill has received cross party backing and supports calls being made by the Lift the Ban coalition.
Ahead of tabling her bill the Lib Dem MP commented:
“Right now, banning the vast majority of asylum seekers from seeking employment costs the tax payer millions in housing and support payments.
“It also forces people who have risked everything to come here to live on the very periphery of society.
“Being denied the right to work, and to put food on the table for you and your family, is cruel and undignified.
“If passed, my bill would recognise the contribution genuine asylum seekers want to make to our society by allowing them to work after three months of lodging their claim for asylum.
“This change would also allow them to learn English faster and integrate into their local communities. To me it’s a no brainer.”
Paul Hook on behalf of Lift the Ban added:
“We are delighted to see politicians from across parliament continue to support the Lift The Ban campaign.
“We urge the government to listen to these voices – including many from within their own party – and finally give people seeking asylum the right to work and to earn a living.
“The majority of the British public think it’s the right thing to do, it would be transformative for people seeking asylum, and the idea is widely supported by businesses nationwide”.