Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.
The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More United.
Currently, asylum seekers can only work if they have been waiting more than 12 months for their claim to be processed, and only then if they can fill a role on the Government’s very narrow ‘shortage occupation list’.
Ms Jardine’s Bill would change the law to allow them to work after just 3 months, which would vastly improve integration, help people rebuild their lives, and save the taxpayer millions in support payments*.
After the meeting, Ms Jardine said:
“Being denied the right to work, and to put food on the table for you and your family, is cruel and undignified. People deserve better.
“I was therefore very encouraged to hear that the Home Secretary is open-minded about backing my campaign and changing the rules to allow asylum seekers the right to work.
“He told me that he and his officials are looking in to the issue, but that more evidence is needed to clear up some reservations.
“I will now work with colleagues across the House to provide him with that evidence, so that we can finally get the law changed and help people who have risked so much to rebuild their lives.”
Short title: Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill
Long title: A Bill to make provision for certain asylum seekers to be granted permission to work; and for connected purposes.
*According to Refugees Welcome? published in 2017 by the APPG on refugees, the government spends between £70m – £100m a year housing and supporting asylum seekers who could be working, earning, and fending for themselves.