Wigan organisation backs campaign to let asylum seekers work
Mick Taylor, project co-ordinator at the Support for Wigan Arrivals Project (Swap), has given his full support to Lift The Ban, promoted by Refugee Action.
Currently people who are waiting for their claims to remain in the country to be processed are banned from seeking a job.
Refugee Action says that as in some cases this can take months or even years this leaves asylum seekers with just £35 a week to spend for prolonged periods of time.
And Swap agrees that it would be better for them to begin taking on paid employment to begin the process of integrating into the community and British society than having little to fill their days with while they await decisions on their futures.
Mr Taylor suggested that this might be a particularly good time to start looking at expanding the workforce.
He said: “The campaign appears to be gaining a bit of momentum. With Brexit there’s going to be a big gap in the labour market and I wonder if the Government has realised asylum seekers could fill it.
“As long as this is done in the right way and asylum seekers are not used as cheap labour I would be very much in favour.
“The asylum process disempowers them from working and once their claim is granted if they have not been allowed to work for a year or two it can be very hard work getting back into it.
“That is the case for anyone but even more so if you are from another country.
“A lot of our service users have a very strong work ethic and can view even roles with long hours and relatively low rates of pay as quite a good job.”
Refugee Action says the Government is squandering the talents of thousands of people sitting in the asylum system waiting to find out if their applications to remain in the UK will be successful.
A report prepared by the Lift The Ban Coalition claims allowing asylum seekers to work could boost the British economy by almost £100m while Refugee Action says it makes more sense than ever to get people into jobs during the pandemic. The charity has a petition which people can sign at its website refugee-action.org.uk
Anyone wanting to find out more about Swap’s work should visit swapwigan.org