Right to work

One of our on-going campaigns relates to the right to work for asylum seekers awaiting over six months for a decision. Currently, around 50% of claims are not processed within the 6 months for standard claims, an increase of 27%. Many of our members have had to wait many years for a decision. Even once an initial decision is given, many asylum seekers have to wait for appeals. Recent reports from The Guardian reveal that some asylum seekers have waited up to twenty years before receiving a decision. 

The UK is a complete outlier in Europe, where most countries allow access to employment within 9 months of arrival – only Lithuania and Ireland (now changing) are more restrictive than the UK; Spain and Sweden allow immediate access, Germany after 3 months. The EU (except for the UK) has set a nine month limit as part of the a Directive aimed at helping to integrate asylum seekers into their host countries and improve their quality of life.

Introducing a right to work after six months has a number of benefits:

  • Boosts the economy by unleashing skilled workers
  • Improves integration and language
  • Could reduces reliance on benefits and taxpayers
  • Improves mental health by providing meaningful work

Tristan Cummings 21/08/2018