Home Immigration News Asylum seekers should be given the right to work after 6 months in the UK, says Newcastle Labour leader Nick Forbes

Asylum seekers should be given the right to work after 6 months in the UK, says Newcastle Labour leader Nick Forbes

by admin

Author: chroniclelive.co.uk

Asylum seekers could be granted the right to work after six months in the UK if a campaign backed by city council bosses is successful.

Newcastle City Council has resolved to throw its weight behind the Lift the Ban campaign, which is aiming to restore the right to work for many people waiting for a decision on their asylum claim.

Since 2002, people seeking asylum in the UK have only been able to apply for the right to work after they have been waiting for a decision on their claim for more than a year, and only if they can be employed into one of the professions included on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.

Newcastle Labour leader Nick Forbes called the practice “one of the greatest injustices in our cities today”.

Introducing a motion at a full council meeting on Wednesday, he said: “It is a driving passion of mine that good quality work is the route to a good society.

“It is the foundation of people’s self respect and their dignity. It allows people to be human, to achieve their potential. And yet the people who are most in need of rediscovering their identity are denied the opportunity to participate.

“That is surely one of the greatest injustices in our cities today.”

Coun Forbes added: “The number of people in our city that this would affect is very small. But we cannot simply turn a blind eye to their need and their suffering because they are small in number.

“The kind of council I want to lead is the kind of council that stands up for everyone in the city.”

However, Lib Dem councillor Wendy Taylor said that Labour’s record on asylum seekers was “far from humane and fair” and instead urged colleagues to support a bill being brought forward in Parliament by Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine which would allow asylum seekers to work after just three months in the UK.

That suggestion was voted down by Labour, after Coun Forbes said that six months was a more “realistic” target and that the Lib Dem bill would be unlikely to get beyond a 10-minute hearing in the House of Commons.

He added: “It should sadden us and fill us with grave concern that decades of government policy have forced very vulnerable people fleeing conflict to be solely reliant on minuscule amount of state support.”

Labour councillor Irim Ali said: “There is a dire need for the ban to be lifted. The majority of people seeking asylum wait much longer than six months. The people want to rebuild their lives in the UK and make a home for themselves in our country.”


Related Articles