Home Department written question – answered on 14th January 2010.

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Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard Labour, Walthamstow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the potential savings that could be made by allowing asylum seekers who have waited more than six months for a decision on their claim to undertake paid work so that they would not be dependent on support from the public purse.

Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (the North West), Home Office, Minister of State (the North West), HM Treasury, Minister of State (the North West), Regional Affairs

No formal estimate has been made to date. However, the Government consider that while allowing asylum seekers to work may increase tax revenue this has to be balanced finely against the very real concern that allowing employment will act as a pull factor, and that the UK may subsequently receive an increase in the number of unfounded asylum applications as a result. We also have to consider the potential that this may have to delay the processing of asylum claims which would lead to more hardship, not less and more demands on the public purse as well as an increase in exploitation by traffickers.

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