Let asylum seekers work motion launched at Westminster

Please help the campaign by getting your MP to sign EDM 690

6th March 2009: Following pressure from constituents, Lynne Jones MP has launched an Early Day Motion (EDM960) in the House of Commons to support the Let Them Work campaign. This is a motion asking the Government to allow asylum seekers permission to work while they are waiting for a decision about their claim.

The Early Day motion says: “That this House welcomes the Let Them Work campaign to allow asylum seekers permission to work while they are waiting for a decision about their claim; notes with concern that asylum seekers who fled persecution in their own countries are among the most vulnerable people in the UK and are being denied the opportunity to work to support themselves and their families, to pay taxes, and to contribute to the economy; is additionally concerned about the situation of those asylum seekers without status who are unable to return home, many of whom spend years in limbo and are reliant on charity hand-outs or forced into illegal work just to survive; is alarmed that this leaves already vulnerable people open to destitution and exploitation; and therefore calls on the Government to allow asylum seekers to work if they have been waiting longer than six months for a full resolution on their asylum claim and to ensure that permission to work remains for people whose claim for asylum is refused, but who are unable to return home immediately through no fault of their own.”

takeactionbanner.gifThe motion is already attracting cross party support from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

The Refugee Council’s campaign to allow asylum seekers to work has received the support of leaders from many of the UK’s main trade unions, inlcuding the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The TUC last year pledged its full involvement in the campaign by being the first to sign a call for the government to let people seeking asylum in the UK work and support themselves.

Currently, almost all asylum seekers are barred from working, despite many having no immediate prospect of returning home. This means they are either destitute, or being supported by the taxpayer.

While giving his support to the campaign, Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC said: “Asylum seekers can wait months and even years before decisions are made on their cases, so the bar on them working is causing severe economic hardship for their families. Forcing often highly skilled, highly trained individuals to sit idle for considerable periods of time is not only a personal tragedy for them but is also a huge loss to the UK economy, which is missing out on their many talents. The Government must think again and change the rules so that asylum seekers are allowed to work and are no longer forced to survive on benefits alone.”

Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “We know asylum seekers want to work. Many are highly qualified and had good jobs in their home countries, and are desperate to contribute to the country that has taken them in. It is an outrage that they are left to rely on handouts from the state when they have so much to offer this country.”

Please help the campaign by getting your MP to sign EDM 690. You can do this via the campaign website

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