Asylum seekers want to work — so let them

In an open letter the Lift the Ban coalition, of which the Centre is part, is calling for the right to work for people seeking asylum, and their adult dependents, after six months of having lodged an asylum claim.

As business leaders, we know that there are skills and expertise going to waste because of an outdated and unfair asylum system. Currently there are teachers, managers, engineers and doctors waiting months or even years for their asylum decisions who meanwhile can’t work. They can apply to the Home Office for permission to work only if they’ve been waiting more than 12 months and only for a very limited list of jobs that don’t match most people’s skillsets.

Restoring the right to work for people seeking asylum six months after arriving in the UK makes economic sense through increased tax revenues and consumer spending. New research published this week shows that the economy would gain £42.4m a year under this policy. People seeking asylum want to work, provide for their families, and take pride in contributing to society — like all of us.

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