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Asylum: Employment

Question for Home Office

UIN 33521, tabled on 23 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to grant asylum applicants (a) the right to work after six months waiting for a decision on their application and (b) access to English language classes from application.

Answered on

31 March 2020

Asylum seekers can work in the UK if their claim has been outstanding for 12 months, through no fault of their own. Those allowed to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which is published by the Home Office and based on expert advice from the Migration Advisory Committee.

It is important to distinguish between those who need protection and economic migrants, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider immigration policy would be undermined if migrants could bypass work visa routes by lodging unfounded asylum claims.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue and is under review. It is crucial we take the time to get this right. We are listening carefully to the arguments and considering the evidence put forward on the issue. Work on the review is ongoing.

After six months we provide a 50% contribution to the costs of English language classes for asylum seekers in certain circumstances. Those granted refugee status are entitled to access fully funded English language tuition if they are unemployed and in receipt of certain benefits.

Currently around half of those who seek asylum in the UK are found not to need international protection. Therefore, rather than invest in integration for those who may not qualify for international protection, this Government’s priority is to focus our efforts and resources to support those who most need it.

Answered by

Home Office