New Clause 46 - Permission to work for people seeking asylum

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 pm ar 4 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Relaxing our asylum seeker right-to-work policy is not the right approach in this respect. Indeed, in an article earlier this month, the French newspaper Le Figaro noted the perspective in France that the “economic attractiveness” of the UK is a reason migrants attempt to cross the channel in small boats. In addition, removing restrictions on work for asylum seekers could increase the number of unfounded claims for asylum, reducing our capacity to take decisions quickly and support genuine refugees.

I would like to take this opportunity to make it clear that I do acknowledge the concerns of hon. Members. The Government are committed to ensuring that asylum claims are considered without unnecessary delay to ensure that individuals who need protection are granted asylum as soon as possible and can start to integrate and rebuild their lives. It is important to note that those granted asylum are given immediate and unrestricted access to the labour market.

I absolutely agree with hon. Members that asylum seekers should be allowed to volunteer. That is why we strongly encourage all asylum seekers to consider volunteering, so long as it does not amount to unpaid work. Volunteering provides a valuable contribution to their local community and may help them to integrate into society if they ultimately qualify for protection.

We have been clear that asylum seekers who wish to come to the UK must do so through safe and legal routes. Where reasons for coming to the UK include family or economic considerations, applications should be made via the relevant route: either the new points-based immigration system or the refugee family reunion rules. We absolutely must discourage those risking their lives and coming here illegally.

The Nationality and Borders Bill will deliver the most comprehensive reform in decades to fix the broken asylum and illegal migration system, and our asylum seeker right-to-work policy must uphold that wider approach. There is, of course, a review of the 2018 report currently under way and I reassure hon. Members that the findings of the updated recent report will be built into this. For all those reasons, I invite the hon. Members for Enfield, Southgate and for Halifax to withdraw the new clause.