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Lift the Ban! Let asylum-seekers work

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Ripon City of Sanctuary is just one of around 240 members of the Lift the Ban Coalition – from the Church of England to the Refugee Council, Asylum Matters, the CBI, the TUC, the Adam Smith Institute, and even Ben & Jerry’s.

Together, we’re asking the UK government to Lift the Ban and let asylum-seekers work. We know that 71% of the British public agree that it’s the right thing to do.

At the end of this page are 8 simple things you could do.

What is Lift the Ban?

When you first ask for asylum in the UK, and you’re waiting to find out if you’re allowed to stay and become a ‘refugee’, you’re not allowed to work (although refugees can). Instead, you must live on benefits – but despite what some people think, asylum-seekers get a lot LESS than British people on unemployment benefit. In fact, they must live on just £5.66 per day while the government processes their claim for asylum, which can take years (up to 20, in some cases). As a result, people who are already some of the most vulnerable in society, and have already been through so much, must suffer all over again.

How will lifting the ban help asylum-seekers?

  • They can reclaim their identity, routine and sense of purpose
  • They can make friends, improve their language and learn more about Britain, helping them to integrate further and faster
  • They can avoid serious poverty, mental health concerns and even destitution
  • They can have the satisfaction of contributing to the society that’s sheltering them
  • They’d be less likely to fall into trafficking, exploitation and slavery
  • They can’t be criticised for living on benefits (whereas currently they have no choice).

How will lifting the ban help the UK?

  • Many asylum-seekers have great skills that are in short supply in the UK, like healthcare and agriculture
  • It would save the Treasury the cost of their benefits
  • By paying income tax and spending what they earn, asylum-seekers would benefit our economy by around £100 million per year.

What can you do to help?

Here are 8 simple things to begin with:

  1. Write a letter to your MP, asking them to get behind the campaign (here’s a template you can download and use)
  2. Visit the Refugee Action webpage
  3. Check out the 2020 “Common Sense”  Lift the Ban report
  4. Watch a short clip of MPs from both sides of the house endorsing this campaign
  5. Read a 2020 article about this campaign in The Independent
  6. See Ben and Jerry’s campaign: Waiting Isn’t Working
  7. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter
  8. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter – we report on the campaign’s progress.