asylum seekers

Asylum Seekers Are Living in Limbo

Asylum seekers waiting for more than six months for a decision on their application has hit an all-time high, increasing by 76% in 12 months, according to new reports.

The reveal of latest figures showing asylum seekers’ agonising wait has one upside: it lends weight to those fighting for asylum seekers’ right to work in the UK as they wait for an outcome on their claim. SNP MP Carol Monaghan has accused the Government of “wasting the talent” of asylum seekers.

New data shows 29,218 individuals were waiting on a decision from the Home Office for over a time period of six months as of last December, a huge surge in comparison to 16,555 in the same position in 2018.

Asylum seekers are forced to live in limbo, stuck between complex immigration status’ and prohibited from work. [Image: Getty/The Independent.]

In welcome news, more people than ever recorded are being granted asylum in the UK, and 52% of those applying for asylum have been successful at the initial decision stage. This is an increase from 2018 in which only 33% of asylum seekers were granted protection immediately. Hardworking asylum-seeker and refugee rights campaigners are to thank for tirelessly reminding the Government of their duty of care as well as helping countless individuals through the laborious process.

Hardworking asylum-seeker and refugee rights campaigners are to thank for tirelessly reminding the Government of their duty of care

However, charities are anxious regarding the skyrocketing figures that highlight the delays in the decision-making process.

Such long waiting periods leave people stuck, unable to work and attempting to survive on the £37.75 per week that is allocated to an individual asylum seeker. As charities and campaigners point out, such a pitiful allowance forces families into destitution.

Boris Johnson recently said he agrees with SNP MP Mhairi Black that £111 a month is not enough to live on under Universal Credit as Black spoke passionately about the hardships one of her constituents face. An asylum seeker will receive just over this, £151 a month, so surely the Prime Minister agrees this is not enough.

asylum seekers live in limbo
Asylum seekers are often housed in the poorest regions of the UK with no say over where they would like to live, even if they have family members at the other end of the country. [Image: Chris Furlong/Getty Images/The Week.]

Chief Executive of Refugee Action, Stephen Hale, said: “Snowballing wait times combined with a ban on working has created a perfect storm for poverty and homelessness for people seeking asylum.”

There seems to be little argument left as to why asylum seekers cannot work as they wait and the British public overall agree it is the right move

Hale continued to say the Government has a “moral and legal obligation” to ensure asylum seekers are protected from falling into poverty spirals, affecting every aspect of their lives that they deserve a chance to rebuild in Britain.

The Home Office maintain they are committed to preventing delay but added “asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue”, claiming it is under review.

Some headway has been made with more applications than ever being approved. This is a victory and should be celebrated as it will provide thousands of innocent people legal status and rights in the UK.

There seems to be little argument left as to why asylum seekers cannot work as they wait and the British public overall agree it is the right move. The Government can continue with this progress and give those trapped in lengthy waiting periods some purpose, hope and dignity, through adding to the UK’s economy and talent pool by working here in Britain.

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