May 2024

Allow Rights to Work all Asylum seekers


For asylum seekers right to work

This trade union branch/body notes that:

  • We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been uprooted from their homes by war and environmental catastrophes. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.


  • 80% of the refugees remain within their country of origin or in neighbouring ones


  • Those refugees who reach Britain usually find themselves in dire circumstances. It often takes many years for asylum seekers to be accepted by the system as refugees. They have to go through different screening and interviews for their cases to be heard. Most of these have inadequate language translators and lack of opportunities for the individuals to explain their cases.


  • They are also denied the right to work and are forced to live on a bare minimum of £5 per day to pay for their basics such as clothing, food, drinks, transport. Most asylum seekers are living in poverty and experience poor health and hunger. Many families are not able to pay for their basic needs.


  • Thousands of children seeking asylum in the UK are being denied access to education, according to organisations who work with refugees. There is no legal requirement for local authorities to provide education for children waiting for dispersal from initial accommodation by the Home Office.


  • Adult education facilities are restricted to certain fieldsonly.


  • No advice is given on what health care maybe available and the lack of such of information means that some asylum seekers are made to pay for treatment.


  • The UK is the only country in Europe that does not have a limit on the length of time that someone can be detained. There are individuals in detention centres who have been detained for years that are still not given the results of their case.


  • In the UK, asylum seekers are encouraged to work within the detention centre for £1 an hour yet they are not allowed to work when they are outside and are forced to look for alternative ways to earn some money to live on. This makes them vulnerable to be exploited by bosses who employ them illegally on slave wages, some on as little as £3 per hour.


  • The vast majority of these exploited workers are outside of the organised trade unions movement.



  • Until a decision is made the lives of asylum seekers are left in a limbo.

This trade union branch/body further notes:

  • The Refugee Rights campaign was set up by refugee who have decided to come together to organise, campaign and fight for their rights.


  • This campaign has participated in national demonstration including the ones on UN International Anti-Racism day, United for Education demo, May Day demo as well as numerous protest including for the closure of Yarls Wood detention centre


  • Refugee Rights organises free law clinic with legal representation and provides free advice and access to information.


  • Refugee Rights campaign calls for:


  • The right to work
  • Access to education
  • The closure of detention centres
  • £10 an hour now
  • An NHS free for all
  • Language and adequate medical help – including mental health facilities –for asylum seekers and refugees
  • The right to join a trade union

This trade union branch/ body:

  • Demands that asylum seekers must not be treated as criminals or unlawfully held in detention centres. Their fundamental human rights need to be defended.


  • Supports the demand to allow the right to work for all asylum seekers/refugees.


Agrees to affiliate to the Refugee Rights campaign

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