Lift the Ban Coalition
Lift the Ban: Common Sense

People seeking asylum in the UK are only able to apply for the right to work after they have been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for over a year. Even then, the few people who are granted such permission are rarely able to work in practice because their employment is restricted to the narrow list of highly skilled professions included on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.

This means that people are essentially banned from working whilst they wait months, and often years, for a decision on their asylum claim. Instead, they are left to live on just £5.66 per day, struggling to support themselves and their families, while their talents are wasted and their integration set back.

This report demonstrates how a change in policy could benefit the UK economy, through net gains for the government of £97.8 million per year. We also present evidence to show that a change in policy would be popular amongst the UK public, with 71% agreeing that people seeking asylum should be allowed to work. 

The Lift the Ban coalition, made up of over 200 non-profit organisations, think tanks, businesses, trade unions and faith groups, is calling on the UK Government to give people seeking asylum and their adult dependants the right to work: unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List, and after they have waited six months for a decision on their initial asylum claim or further submission.