Campaign Response on the Nationality and Borders Act (Asylum Seekers and the Right to Work)

Thank you for contacting me about asylum seekers and employment.

I recognise that this is a very important issue. As you may know, the UK has a proud tradition of providing a place of safety for refugees. Each claim for asylum is carefully considered and where it is found that individuals need protection, asylum is given. Those with refugee status have immediate and unrestricted access to the labour market.

Asylum seekers are allowed to apply for permission to work, in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if their claim has not been decided after 12 months through no fault of their own. 

I am aware that campaign groups, including Lift the Ban, have sought changes to the UK's asylum seeker right to work policy and I welcome that the Government has recently concluded a review on this matter.

In January, I joined other MPs in urging the Prime Minister and the Government to consider extending the right to work to asylum seekers and their adult dependents who have been awaiting a decision for over six months. The extension of the right to work to asylum seekers has the support of many senior figures in the Conservative party.

I have raised the concerns you have with ministers, as I believe that the Home Office should aim to approve or reject asylum applications swiftly. If the Home Office have not decided within a reasonable time frame, the ability of a person to work would significantly reduce the fiscal impact on the taxpayer which can only be a good thing.


Yours sincerely,




Sally-Ann Hart MP