Frances Middleton, who is on the steering committee of Norwich City of Sanctuary, on the desperation and health costs caused by rules that stop asylum seekers taking a job
I was very glad to read of the support for asylum seekers from the world of the arts (Letters, 5 March). Thank you, all of you! I belong to the steering committee of Norwich City of Sanctuary, which supports the campaign, gathering momentum daily, to persuade the Home Office to change its rules about asylum seekers working, and also the iniquity of unlimited detention. I volunteer at an advice centre for refugees settled in Norwich. Our clients are always short of money, and sometimes desperate. There is nothing available to them while they wait for the wheels of the Home Office to roll interminably.
Not only is the lack of money a source of stress, but also the frustration of not being able to use their skills, or even do anything, means that their mental health is compromised hugely, leading to a drain on NHS services.
This is a mad situation that could be dealt with so quickly and so easily. If everyone emails their MP about this, the campaign may just be successful.