Asylum: Employment

Home Office written question – answered on 15th November 2018.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of giving asylum seekers the right to work after six months.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it and this Government is committed to delivering a fair and humane asylum system.

Our current policy is consistent with EU law and permits asylum seekers to work, in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for 12 months or more and the delay is through no fault of their own. We are tackling delays in decision-making and have plans in place to improve the speed at which outstanding claims are decided.

The Government is considering recent calls to change the current policy. However, the current approach aims to protect the resident labour market so that any employment meets our needs for skilled labour and to maintain the distinction between those who need protection and those who want to work in the UK, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. We need to avoid creating further incentives for migrants to come here illegally, risking their lives in the process, instead of claiming asylum in the first safe country they reach.

It is also important to focus on providing support for those who are recognised as refugees, to help them to integrate and find employment, so that they can rebuild their lives here.

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