Asylum seekers need to work, says coalition
Quakers in Britain this week joined a large coalition of charities, faith groups, businesses and unions calling for a change in the law to allow asylum seekers the right to work six months after they have arrived in the UK.
There is already a growing network of Quaker local meetings working to welcome people seeking sanctuary. For Quakers, this work is rooted in the conviction that there is that of God in every person.
Refugee Action initiated the Lift the Ban coalition. Their Open Letter, published in The Daily Telegraph said, “Enabling people to work gives them the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families. They can also use their skills to contribute to the economy."
The full text of the letter is here
“No one will disagree that people who are fleeing war or persecution should be given somewhere safe, where they can rebuild their lives. But due to Government policy, getting here is only the start of their problems for many people who arrive in Britain.
“Banned from working, asylum seekers are given just £5.39 a day to meet all their essential living costs.
“The struggle to make ends meet, coupled with the social isolation experienced by many, takes a toll on their physical and mental health.
Banned from working, asylum seekers are given just £5.39 a day to meet all their essential living costs.- Lift the Ban coalition
“We must ensure we provide a route out of poverty for those seeking asylum. Enabling people to work gives them the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families. They can also use their skills to contribute to the economy.
“As leaders of religious communities representing diverse faiths and belief systems, what unites us is compassion.
“We welcome the efforts of the Lift the Ban coalition and believe it is time asylum seekers were allowed to start working in the UK six months after their arrival.
Ahead of today's (24 October) Westminster Hall debate, we call on the Government to make this common sense change."
Bala Gnanapragasam, Vice-president,
Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Imam Qari Asim, Chair, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board
Mark Sheard, Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, Church of England
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism
Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, New London Synagogue
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, New North London Synagogue
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi, Reform Judaism UK
Rabbi Oliver Spike Joseph, New North London Synagogue, Masorti Judaism
Rabbi Roni Tabick, New Stoke Newington Synagogue
Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain
Revd Michaela Youngson, President, Methodist Conference
Revd Nigel Uden, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon and Chair of the CTBI Churches Refugee Network
Rt Revd Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland