Shelter: Lift asylum work ban to address destitution

Housing charity Shelter is urging the government to lift employment restrictions on asylum seekers after raising concerns over the rising number of migrants facing deprivation.

In a report today on migration and housing, the government was accused of leaving asylum seekers, particularly those whose application had been refused, in destitution. The charity said that people were slipping through the welfare net due to gaps in the provision of accommodation and lack of work opportunities.

The report highlighted an Independent Asylum Commission survey published in June which estimated that only 9,365 refused asylum seekers had been given financial aid by councils under section 4 support, compared to an estimated 283,500 refused asylum seekers living in the UK. Section 4 support is given to those who are unable to return to their home countries.

The Shelter report said: “If the government implemented measures such as lifting the prohibition on work for asylum seekers, some migrants may be able to support themselves and reduce their dependency on state provision.”

Shelter also called for more empty homes to be brought back into use in order to increase the available accommodation in asylum dispersal areas.

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Migration from Eastern Europe: Are councils ready?


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