“Crops need to be harvested or they shall just wither and die. How would you feel if your skills went to waste?”

For several years, you have been banned from work, living on less than £40 a week, moved around temporary flats and hotel rooms, after a long and traumatic journey to get to safety. How would you cope, not least in a global pandemic and at a time when asylum and refugee rights are debated hourly? When you have a family to support and a new country to adapt to?

It is so wrong that people who have come to the UK for safety are not allowed to work to support themselves. Despite possessing a wealth of skills and employment experience, people seeking asylum are left to live on just £5.66 per day, struggling to support themselves and their families, while the Government wastes the talents of thousands of people.

We believe that people who have risked everything to find safety should have the best chance of contributing to society and integrating into local communities. This means allowing people the right to work so that they can use their skills and live in dignity. That’s why we are part of the Lift the Ban coalition calling on the government in Westminster to stop freezing people who are seeking safety in our country out of work.

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council: ““While most people seeking asylum are denied the right to work by the Home Office, many make huge impacts in their communities through voluntary work. But every day, we work with people seeking refugee protection who are desperate to contribute their talents and skills and play a full part in Scottish society through paid work. Being able to take on paid work is crucial for people to live independently, have control over their own lives, and integrate more fully into their new communities.”

Hear the voices of people at the sharp end of this cruel policy – thanks to our friends at Maryhill Integration Network.

 It’s time to #LiftTheBan.

In October 2020, the Life the Ban coalition presented the Home Office with a petition signed by more than 180,000 people calling on the UK government to give people seeking asylum the right to work. Find out more about the campaign and how you can help to #LiftTheBan.

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah