Asylum Seekers and Permission to Work

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:02 pm on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of David Simmonds David Simmonds Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner 4:02 pm, 18th November 2020

I, too, need to draw Members’ attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests as a RAMP principal. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the introduction of safe and legal routes—we very much welcome the Government’s commitment to doing that—by which people can establish their claims is key to the United Kingdom’s ability to disrupt traffickers and those who bring people into the country in very high-risk ways, which are a matter of legitimate public concern?

Does the hon. Gentleman also agree that the introduction in 2002 of the ban on asylum seekers working reflected a prevailing concern, in the then Labour Government and in Parliament more widely, about the economic impact? At the time, the United Kingdom was preparing for the accession of further countries into the European Union. However, according to the research that RAMP has shared with us both, 67% of businesses believe that now is the time to lift the ban. Does he agree that we need to recognise that times have changed, and that safe and legal routes and the changing economic climate make a case for doing so that simply did not exist when the Labour Government introduced the ban in 2002?