Thank you for contacting me about asylum seekers and employment.
I recognise that this is a very important issue; the UK has a proud tradition of providing a place of safety for refugees. Each claim for asylum is carefully considered and where it is found that individuals are in need of protection, asylum is given, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so.
Asylum seekers are allowed to work, in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if their claim has not been decided after 12 months through no fault of their own. The current policy aims to strike a balance between being equitable towards asylum seekers, while considering the rights and needs of our society as a whole, prioritising jobs for British citizens and those with leave to remain here, including refugees.
I understand the Government is considering recent calls to change the current policy and is reviewing the evidence available. I am aware that in June 2020 the High Court granted permission for a judicial review of the current policy.
Campaign groups, including Lift the Ban, make interesting points about the economic benefits of changing the policy and I am assured Ministers will take this into consideration when reviewing the policy.