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Liberal Democrats say that people seeking asylum should have the right to work

February 24, 2019 5:35 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat MPs are supporting a Private Members' bill to give people seeking asylum the right to work.

As it stands, people seeking asylum who make it to Britain are only allowed to work after twelve months following submitting their claim for asylum and then only if they can fill a job on the government's very narrow shortage occupation list (like ballet dancer or nuclear waste decomissioner).

Forced to live off a government stipend of £5.39 per day, people seeking asylum are frequently forced into poverty, homelessness and destitution.

It's nigh on impossible for them to settle in their communities. They are denied any disposable income that they can use for travel, to go to events or to study. They are unable to properly integrate with their local area.

Most have gone from victims in one country to virtual prisoners in another.

This is not how it should be. Everyone deserves the right to work, to put food on the table.

We must demand better than the current indignity that our asylum system inflicts on vulnerable people. That's why Liberal Democrats are campaigning for an end to the injustice caused by asylum seekers not being able to work.

The change we're requesting is so small as far as government policy is concerned - we're asking for the UK to catch up with the rest of the western world - but the difference it would make to asylum seekers would be transformative.

We're denying ourselves the skills of some incredibly ambitious and talented people - doctors, engineers, mechanics, teachers, business managers, hairdressers and gardeners.

Everyone has something to give to others and, if offered the platform, would step up and add new energy to their communities.