No work permit in UK for asylum seekers, Home Office says

The Home Office is reportedly reluctant to offer British work visas to asylum seekers, despite growing demands to allow refugees to work in Britain. Priti Patel’s department is resisting calls for asylum seekers to be allowed to work, even after a public intervention by Patel’s cabinet colleague Dominic Raab, who said he would be “open” about the proposal .

Labor leader Keir Starmer, several Tory MPs and refugee charities have urged the Home Office to allow some 70,000 people currently trying to claim UK asylum to work in Britain after the Justice Secretary said a rule change could help solve Britain’s current problem. labor shortage.

However, a senior source from Whitehall expressed frustration at Raab’s comments, saying: ‘If job applications were allowed among asylum seekers, it would create a pull factor for illegal immigration to the UK. United like never before.

Coach and horses

The Whitehall main source went on to say that the proposals “would lead a trainer and horses” through the legitimate British immigration system. “We would see people who want to come here to work bypass the system by just coming in and claiming asylum, before starting to work the next day,” the source said.

Under current UK immigration rules, most asylum seekers are prohibited from working in Britain while their asylum claim is being reviewed. While claims are being considered, asylum seekers tend to rely on the UK government for accommodation and basic necessities.

Over the past three years, the Home Office has reportedly reviewed the rules allowing asylum seekers to work.

asylum queue

According to the most recent data, more than 70,000 people are awaiting a decision on their initial asylum claim – 73% in the past two years, despite a drop in the number of claimants.

However, the resettlement of refugees has not increased at the same rate. In the second quarter of 2021, only 308 refugees were resettled, compared to a quarterly average of more than 1,400 from 2016 to 2019.

MPs, including Labor leader Keir Starmer, have increased pressure on Patel to be as open-minded as Raab.

Mr Starmer told The Guardian: “The government should consider changing the rules that defy the common sense test. “

“I met a Syrian doctor who… was not able to work because the request had not been properly processed. He desperately wanted to use his skills to help the community which made him very, very welcome and was forbidden to do so. It defies the test of common sense, ”said the Labor leader.

Responding to Starmer’s comments, another Whitehall source said: ‘Allowing asylum seekers to work will see more people take dangerous journeys to enter our country illegally. It’s that simple.”

Supported proposals

Across the UK, the proposals have received support from Conservative MPs. Conservative North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said he was in favor of allowing asylum seekers to work in the UK because their applications were taking too long to process.

He said: “They should be allowed to work because the system is not working properly. I would like their requests to be processed much faster.

David Simmonds, the Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, helped lead a campaign calling for asylum seekers to be able to work and facilitate integration.

In April, Mr Simmonds wrote in PoliticsHome: ‘Because asylum seekers cannot work while they wait for a decision on their claim, and if successful they only have 28 days to move into. new housing and finding work or applying for universal credit, there are currently significant obstacles to successful integration.

Meanwhile, posting on TwitterSNP Home Affairs Spokesman Stuart McDonald tweeted: “A very rare but welcome opportunity that I can agree with Dominic Raab on!” How can Priti Patel continue to resist overwhelming logic?

Restrictive British asylum policy

Compared to most other European countries, the UK’s asylum policy is more restrictive. EU laws require member states to grant asylum seekers the right to work if they have been waiting for more than nine months for a decision on an asylum application.

However, in Australia and Canada asylum seekers can work immediately. In the United States, asylum seekers can work after six months.

In 2020, Germany received the most asylum applications across the EU with 122,015 applicants. France received 93,475. During the same period, the UK received the fifth highest number of applications with 36,041 applicants, which is only the 17th highest number of applications per capita.

Dr Peter William Walsh, researcher at the Migration Observatory, University of Oxford, said: “The backlog in processing asylum claims has grown sharply in recent years and is currently nine times higher than ‘it was not ten years ago.

“For almost all of these people, it would be illegal for them to take a job – 80% of cases go untreated within six months, and many people wait more than a year,” he said. added.

Skilled asylum seekers in limbo

Refugee Council CEO Enver Solomon said: “Thousands of skilled and talented people live with limited financial support in limbo awaiting a decision on their asylum claim for months or years desperate to be able to work to contribute. to our communities. It is vital that we give them this chance.

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