SWVG is committed to campaigning and advocating on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Our work goes on throughout the year to raise awareness of the difficulties faced under the current system, contribute to the popular debate and seek to influence policy makers in light of our experiences, and the experiences of the people we work with. You can read about all our current and future campaigns on the main campaigns page. 

On this page you can read about current news and analysis relating to asylum and refugee issues, as well as stories from our members and updates on our projects.

Refugee Action-  Right to Work Campaign

Refugee Action, a national asylum seeker and refugee rights charity, is leading a campaign to open up a right to work for asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their status.

As the charity explains: “Fleeing war and persecution is only the start of a difficult and often traumatic journey for people seeking asylum. Current Home Office rules do not allow them to work while their claim is assessed, forcing people further into hardship as they wait months, even years.”

The current system means asylum seekers must live off £5.39 a day. SWVG has been campaigning for a right to work to allow everyone to reach their potential, to give asylum seekers meaning and purpose, to reduce the burden on the State, to make use of their amazing talents and to promote integration in UK society- the place they call home.

If you would like to support this campaign, please get in contact with SWVG – we are always looking for local people, passionate about promoting the cause of asylum seekers in their community, to get involved. You can also sign the Refugee Action petition, calling on the Government to lift the ban.

For more information on the SWVG Right to Work Campaign, read Baila’s Story and look at some of our campaign updates.


Baila would love to teach, but the government won’t let her

Since claiming asylum at the start of 2018, Baila Chaudhry has done everything she can to get involved in British society.

She has worked in charity shops in Cardiff and Southampton and attended short courses and workshops at universities in both the cities. Now she is about to start studying for further qualifications at City College, Southampton.

But so far, Baila has been unable to do one thing that she does the best, which is to teach. Prior to arriving in the UK at the end of last year, she had taught maths and science in her country for most of her adult life.

As these subjects are two of those where Britain is most short of teachers, you might expect that the government would welcome somebody with 16 years’ classroom experience. But as an asylum seeker waiting for the Home Office to determine her application, Baila is forbidden from doing paid work.

“Teaching is my passion, I am a born teacher” she says. “I’m happy to help anybody, anywhere, and of course I can volunteer, but I want to teach. I checked on the web and it said maths and science are both shortage subjects.”

Baila left her country last December following threats of violence against her and her four daughters, aged 18 to 21. At one point, her former husband suggested selling two of the girls into arranged marriages to pay off his debts.

All four girls are now living outside their country. They are not in the UK with Baila, who is living in National Asylum Support Service accommodation and has been a SWVG client since March.

With her accommodation and some living costs paid for by the government, Baila finds it frustrating that she cannot contribute more to UK society and pay taxes. In addition to a first degree, Baila holds a teacher training diploma and a doctorate in homeopathic medical sciences, all gained in her country.

“How to impart knowledge is something that’s inborn. I have the patience to work with kids and can hold the attention of a class,” she adds. “I would love to utilise my time and energy in a more effective way.”

By Neil Merrick 10/09/2018

Government loses three-quarters of immigration appeals

Data uncovered by The Guardian reveals that 75% of appeals brought by the government against favourable immigration decisions are rejected by judges. This not only causes disruption to the lives of asylum seekers granted leave to remain, but leads to a waste of resources and worse immigration decision making.

Such a high rate of failed appeals suggests the motivation for lodging appeals is less about getting the right answer, and more about making the immigration system hostile for asylum seekers and refugees. In contrast, a significant proportion of appeals brought by asylum seekers are granted.

SWVG works tirelessly to support asylum seekers throughout the process, including those waiting years for appeals. During this time, their lives are put on hold, unsure of what the future will bring and with limited options in the present.


Past Stories and reports