A letter to the Prime Minister signed by 66 Conservative politicians has called on the Government to consider extending the right to work to asylum seekers and their adult dependents who have been awaiting a decision after six months.
Under current Home Office policy, asylum seekers are prevented from undertaking paid employment for the first twelve months, after which they are restricted to jobs listed on the Shortage Occupation List.
The move has the backing of a broad coalition of Conservative MPs, including Sir Robert Buckland, Steve Baker and Nusrat Ghani. It also has the support of Baroness Ruth Davidson and Lord Johnson, the Prime Minister's brother.
Lord Bethall tweeted his support for the Right to Work amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will be returning to the Commons tomorrow.
In response, Emily Fielder, Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, said:
Extending the right to work to asylum seekers who have been awaiting a decision for six months is a common sense policy, which would significantly benefit both UK taxpayers and asylum seekers.
Rather than forcing asylum seekers to rely on state benefits, they should be allowed to contribute taxes and integrate fully into the community. By supporting this amendment, Conservative MPs would be standing by their conviction that work is the best route out of poverty.
The Rt Hon. Sir Robert Buckland QC MP said:
Given that 60,000 people have waited for longer than six months for a decision on their initial asylum claim, emulating our international partners on the continent and allowing the right to work seems a sensible idea. It will help give the Government some breathing room as they bring about much needed wider asylum reforms.
Notes to editors:
Lord Bethall's tweet and a copy of the letter can be found here.
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The Adam Smith Institute is a free market neoliberal think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.