Asylum: Employment

(asked on 1st February 2024) - View Source

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing an asylum right to work pilot on asylum seekers.

Answered by
Tom Pursglove Portrait
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
This question was answered on 9th February 2024

Asylum seekers cannot work unless they have had their asylum claim outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own. Those who apply and are granted permission to work after 12 months are restricted to applying for jobs on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This is based on expert advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

Our current policy approach on permission to work is longstanding and there are no plans to make changes, other than aligning it with the upcoming Immigration Salary List, which replaces the SOL. It is important that we distinguish between individuals who need protection and those seeking to work here who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. The Government has always been clear that asylum seekers do not need to make perilous journeys in order to seek employment in the UK.

Unrestricted access to employment could act as an incentive for more migrants to choose to come here illegally; leading to further dangerous journeys across the Channel and supporting the business model of evil people smugglers, rather than claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

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