Court orders to benefit on working rights to benefit 45,000 migrants

Government considering detail of SC judgment

30th July 2010:
A day after the court ruling paved way for failed asylum seekers to apply for permission to work, it is now clear that as many as 45,000 migrants will benefit from the decision.

The decision is significant as Home secretary Theresa May was only recently asked to let asylum seekers work. Equality South West’s Deputy Chief Executive Katie Pratt had written to the new home secretary to let asylum seekers work.

Describing asylum seekers as “among the most vulnerable people in the UK”, Pratt had asserted they fled persecution in their own countries looking for a place of safety. While they were in the UK, they want to work to support themselves and their families to pay taxes and to contribute to the economy.

Pratt said in hard times society expected everyone to pull their weight where they can, yet asylum seekers are forced to live on hand-outs or sometimes nothing at all. As such, they should be given chance to work to support themselves.

Reacting to the verdict, Sir Andrew Green from MigrationWatch said it was no service to genuine refugees to make the asylum system more open to abuse.

The Supreme Court had about two days ago ruled that Article 11 of the EU Reception Conditions Directive should apply in some circumstances to failed asylum seekers who have exhausted their appeal rights.

The UKBA said: `Specifically, this means that failed asylum seekers who have made further submissions asserting they have a fresh claim for asylum which have been outstanding for 12 months or more will now be entitled to apply for permission to work.

`The government is currently considering the detail of the judgment and an announcement setting out how the government intends to change current rules will be made as soon as possible.

`Article 11(2) of the Reception Conditions Directive enables Member States to impose conditions on access to the labour market, and this announcement will include details of the restrictions on permission to work which will be applied’.

The UK Border Agency added it `is aware that there are significant numbers of failed asylum seekers who may consider themselves entitled to apply for permission to work in light of the judgment.

`In order to ensure good administration of those applications, fair processes and the effective implementation of the judgment, we will not process any permission to work applications from failed asylum seekers whose further submissions have been outstanding for more than 12 months until that announcement’.

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