Exclusive: Asylum seekers should be able to work, says poll

There is widespread public support for a change in the law to
allow asylum seekers to work and support themselves while their
application is being considered, according to an exclusive poll
commissioned by Community Care, writes Janet

Seventy eight per cent of those questioned agreed that those
seeking refuge in this country should be allowed to get a job,
especially in areas where there are skill shortages.

The survey of more than 1,000 people was carried out as part of
the Right to Refuge campaign, which aims to challenge
prejudice. Many asylum seekers want to work but are forbidden from
doing so. Meanwhile, increasing numbers are also being refused

Community Care editor Polly Neate said the results were
encouraging: “Employment not only promotes integration but also
gives people a chance to make a contribution to society. We urge
the government to listen and take notice of these results.”

Sandy Buchan, chief executive of Refugee Action, added: “The
public are right. Let asylum seekers work. That way they can
provide for themselves and contribute to the communities in which
they live….Many are qualified professionals yet they are
banned from working.”

More than two thirds of those taking part in the survey
described themselves as tolerant towards asylum seekers and
refugees, although that tolerance was not always reflected in their
other responses.

Eighty two per cent said they felt that the UK should be
“tougher” on those seeking asylum in this country, while 52 per
cent disagreed with the statement “asylum seekers enhance the UK’s
multicultural society”.

However, responses varied depending on where people lived.
Londoners tended to be more tolerant, with 61 per cent agreeing
that society was enhanced by asylum seekers compared with just 29
per cent of respondents in the East Midlands.

Meanwhile 62 per cent of those in Scotland said they would be
happy for asylum seekers to be housed on their street, while only
29 per cent of people in the south west said they would.

Respondents were almost equally divided over whether asylum
seekers should have the same rights as local people to services
such as housing or a GP.

And, while 48 per cent supported an end to the detention of
asylum seekers under 18 who had committed no crime, 43 per cent
were against any such move.




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