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NEARLY half of asylum-seekers would have qualified as critical workers during the coronavirus lockdown if they were allowed to work, Refugee Action revealed today.
The group’s research survey found 45 per cent of people seeking asylum would be a keyworker — and one in seven had experience in health or social care, vital for fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
Refugee Action has demanded that asylum-seekers be given the right to work as they await decisions on their futures.
People fleeing to Britain to escape wars, famine and persecution have to wait as long as six months to hear whether or not they will be allowed to stay in the country.
During that time they are banned from taking jobs and expected to live on a pitiful £5.66 a day, the group warned.
Many are also forced to live in shocking conditions in hovels for which private property owners are paid rent by the taxpayer.
Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding the government lifts its ban on asylum-seekers working, according to the charity.
Refugee Action is also urging people to write to their MPs asking them to support the call.
The group said: “The coronavirus crisis is making it even more obvious that this ban makes no sense.
“Not only does it make surviving on £5.66 a day even less realistic, it also means that people seeking asylum are unable to contribute to the national pandemic response.
“Lifting the ban would dramatically improve life in Britain for people seeking asylum, preventing the shattering effect listless waiting can have on their mental health and making them less vulnerable to exploitation.”
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