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Migration Numbers for 2017-2018

This July saw the release of the most recent migration and asylum figures released from the government. In the year to March 2018:

  • 8,406 people were granted asylum or an alternative form of protection
  • There were 26,547 asylum applications in the UK, down 8% on the previous year
  • 4,342 Syrians were granted protection under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme.
  • The number of unaccompanied children applying for asylum has also decreased by 25% to 2,307 applications.

The number of asylum seekers currently receiving support has risen 8% to 42,352 over the last year, of which, 3,220 received subsistence only. The current level of support for asylum seekers is only £37.75 per person. During this time, asylum seekers are not allowed to work and so life is very difficult.

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