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Ministers decide to keep asylum-seeker work ban following ‘sham’ review

MINISTERS have confirmed that a policy preventing asylum-seekers from working will stay in place following a review campaigners have described as a “sham.” 

Immigration minister Tom Pursglove announced that the government must maintain the ban to avoid creating “pull factors” for asylum-seekers. 

The announcement on Wednesday comes despite widespread calls, including from Tory ministers, to lift the work ban which forces asylum-seekers to survive on a pitiful government allowance of just £5.66 a day. 

The decision is the outcome of a three-year Home Office review launched in response to a 2018 report which laid out the economic and employment benefits of allowing asylum-seekers to access the job market. 

The report by the Lift the Ban coalition calculated that the policy costs the Treasury around £181 million a year in lost taxes, and National Insurance, alongside expenditure on asylum support.

Announcing his decision, Mr Pursglove said that after carrying out a “comprehensive review” of the report, it was concluded these estimates were “highly optimistic.”

But campaigners have condemned the review as a “scam.” 

Refugee Action chief executive Tim Naor Hilton said: “After three years of this review the Home Office nor its ministers have been able to cobble together even the flimsiest piece of evidence that backs up this awful and nonsensical policy. 

“This ban creates misery for people who are often stuck for years in our asylum system and who could be integrating and contributing to their communities.”

Asylum Matters director Andrea Vukovic said: “This sham review has made us more determined to overturn this irrational policy.”

The current policy allows asylum-seekers to apply for a limited number of roles 12 months after making their claim.  

Lift the Ban coalition wants the government to change this to six months and allow people to apply for all roles. 


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