Dominic Raab hints at support for granting asylum seekers the right to work

Senior Conservatives have indicated support for the idea asylum seekers In the UK he should be allowed to work, saying it would help with integration and help solve the country’s labor shortage.

In a move away from the current Home Office position, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said removing the ban on hiring people seeking asylum would allow them to make a “positive contribution”.

His comments were echoed by Steve Baker, Conservative MP and former head of the European Research Group (ERG), who said independent It was “crazy” that the Ministry of Interior did not allow asylum seekers to work.

Comments will be welcomed by activists who This week he accused ministers of ‘kicking the can on the road’ They promised to review a ban on asylum work, which the government first said it would implement three years ago.

Currently, UK asylum seekers are not normally allowed to work while their applications are being considered, and instead have to rely on the Home Office for their accommodation and basic living needs.

When asked about the possibility of allowing this cohort to work to help solve the labor shortage during meeting with viewerMr. Raab said he was “open-minded” about it.

He added: “What you want to do is flip that discussion, because the big challenge with immigration over the last 20 or 30 years – which may not have been true when my dad came here – is this sense that we haven’t been integrating people well enough.

“If they learn the language and can function, they integrate better and make a positive contribution.”

Mr. Raab also brought up the idea of ​​hiring prisoners to fill the workforce shortage, saying this would be good for both the economy and society, adding, “Give them something to lose, if you give them some hope, they’re less likely to do it again.”

Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe, echoed Mr Raab’s comments about allowing asylum seekers to work, saying: “Of course people should be allowed to support themselves through work as soon as we allow entry pending an asylum decision.

“What’s crazy to put them in poverty while we make a slow decision? Let them work.”

Meanwhile, David Symonds, Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, indicated that allowing nearly 64,000 asylum seekers to be hired in the UK would help the UK recover from the pandemic, describing the move as “reasonable”. completely”.

“It will ensure that people’s skills are not lost, and that they can earn money to support themselves, so it helps taxpayers as well. Since we know that three-quarters of asylum seekers are eventually granted asylum, it helps to ensure that they are able to play a meaningful role in the lives of their new home.

“This means that they are not left on the shelf waiting, putting their skills as carpenters, teachers or indeed heavy truck drivers to good use. It is a wise course of action to create that opportunity, as is already the case in many other countries.”

Asked if such a move could incentivize more people to come to the UK to seek asylum, Mr Symonds said: “I’m not sure there is. We know that one of the big problems is that asylum seekers may be operating in the gray economy on any However, it is only right that we make the most of the opportunity for people to become tax-paying citizens.”

It comes days after recently dismissed Justice Minister Robert Buckland hinted at his support for lifting a ban on asylum seekers’ work. viewer: “Members of the House of Representatives can, of course, express their opinions a little more freely than government ministers.

“So it is probably safe for me to say that I was interested in reading the main article last week viewer This suggests that asylum seekers should be allowed to work while they wait for their applications to be processed. This is already happening in Denmark. This system, as I say, is worth a look. “

In December 2018, then-Interior Minister Sajid Javid told Parliament that he would like to review the ban on asylum seekers working. When asked about asylum seekers’ right to work in July 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Home Office was currently “reviewing this” and that his government would “make an announcement soon”.

Last November, then-immigration minister Chris Philp said the review was “ongoing” and that he would “report a report as soon as possible.” [the Home Office was] able to complete it.

However, when asked if the department was looking into the matter during the evidence hearing with the Home Affairs Select Committee last Thursday, the Home Office’s second permanent secretary, Tricia Hayes, said “there are no plans” to do so.

The Ministry of the Interior later said independent Ms. Hayes had “misspoken” and that the review was in fact “ongoing” – but campaigners expressed concern that her response indicated the department was not taking the matter seriously.

A spokesperson for the department said: “The asylum seeker’s right to work is a complex issue and is under review. It is critical that we take the time to rectify this. We listen carefully to the arguments and consider the evidence presented on this issue.”

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