Consequential etc provision

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration) 2:30 pm, 26th February 2019

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston and the hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East for tabling the amendment and new clause, both of which we support. The immigration White Paper has almost nothing to say about asylum or refugee issues, even though there are so many problems.

Amendment 19 deals with the right to work. The right to work would allow asylum seekers the dignity of work, as has been said, and would enable them to earn enough money to support themselves and their families. It would also encourage integration and prevent people from having to rely, for no good reason, on the meagre state subsidy of £5.39 a day. If the Home Office cannot resolve cases in the six-month target time, it is right that asylum seekers be given the right to work.

The waste of talent has already been touched on. I came across an asylum seeker in my constituency who was a Syrian consultant but who has not been allowed to work, even though, with 100,000 job vacancies in the NHS, we really need that skill. Research has shown that not being able to work for a long period doubles the risk of asylum seekers experiencing major mental health problems.

We continue to support the right of unaccompanied children to be reunited with family members in the UK after our withdrawal from the EU. An SNP private Member’s Bill is trying to achieve the same outcome and it is right that we support both the amendment and the new clause.