Skilled asylum seekers whose claims have failed who are unable to
go home could be allowed to work while they wait to be returned,
home secretary Charles Clarke said last week.
Speaking in a BBC2 Newsnight debate Clarke indicated that if Labour
was re-elected it may change its policy.
“There might be a case for some of the people who are failed asylum
seekers but can’t be returned to their country for a variety of
reasons whether work could operate in some of these cases,” he
Reasons failed asylum seekers cannot return home include the lack
of a safe route to countries such as Iraq.
Meanwhile, the charity YMCA England is to run a government pilot
programme making failed asylum seekers carry out community
activities in order to qualify for accommodation.
Currently, asylum seekers whose claims have failed who are unable
to go home are provided with board and lodgings, under section 4 of
the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
But measures, contained in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of
Claimants, etc) Act 2004, have changed this to make the support
conditional on their participation in community activities.
The first phase of the scheme will cost about £60,000 for one
year and it is likely to be run in Manchester, London, Birmingham,
Sheffield or Liverpool. These are all areas with high numbers of
failed asylum seekers relying on board and lodgings.