Let asylum seekers illegal immigrants work


by Sunny
27th April, 2007 at 5:18 am    

Two thirds of Britons believe illegal immigrants who have been in the UK for more than four years and who work and pay taxes should be allowed to stay, according to a poll. The survey of 1,004 British adults also found two out of three people believe asylum seekers should be allowed to work.

The campaign proposes an “earned regularisation” programme which would offer provisional work permits to migrants who become permanent by having stable employment and passing language tests.[icEaling]

Update: The Independent has more on this today. MPs have also swung into action.

A growing cross-party campaign for the 500,000 long-term illegal migrants in Britain to be given an amnesty with rights to work in this country will gain pace at Westminster today as MPs call for the regularisation of “irregular” migrants on humanitarian, security, and economic grounds.

Jon Cruddas, a candidate for the Labour deputy leadership, is to table a cross-party Commons motion in support of the changes, which have received celebrity backing in the form of Nick Broomfield, the director of a documentary-style film based on the story of the 23 illegal Chinese immigrants who died while picking cockles for a gang master in Morecambe Bay.

Update 2: Title of post changed thanks to Katherine’s comment.


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  1. Duc De Nemours — on 27th April, 2007 at 8:42 am  

    Hurrah!

  2. Davies — on 27th April, 2007 at 9:34 am  

    Why a survey of 1004?
    does anyone actually believe the results these polls churn out?
    i agree with the campaign, although with regards to the asylum seekers staying after four years, i assumed there was something along these line already in place? what are the basics of the current system?

  3. soru — on 27th April, 2007 at 10:08 am  

    A survey size of 1000 is perfectly good for an answer of ‘a few/some/many/most/everyone’ thinks something.

    Party political polls use 4000, but only because if they are wrong by 5% that counts as a major upset, whearas 62% versus 67% agreement makes little difference.

    Polls like that, you have to look at the exact wording and ordering of the questions. The tell-tale sign of bullshit is aggregation of responses: give five options, and report the figure that didn’t pick option 5 (something like ’60% of parents don’t think their school is very good’, when 40% think it is ‘very good’, 50% ‘good’, 8% ‘acceptable’, 2% ‘poor’, 0% ‘terrible’).

    Even for non-bullshit polls, you have to think, ‘what would the answer have been if a different question had been asked?’.

  4. Refresh — on 27th April, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    Perhaps economic migrants would not be such an issue if could end this sort of hypocrisy:

    “The truth is that the bank’s credibility was fatally compromised when it forced school fees on students in Ghana in exchange for a loan; when it demanded that Tanzania privatise its water system; when it made telecom privatisation a condition of aid for Hurricane Mitch; when it demanded labour “flexibility” in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami; when it pushed for eliminating food subsidies in post-invasion Iraq. Ecuadoreans care little about Wolfowitz’s girlfriend; more pressing is that in 2005 the World Bank withheld a promised $100m after the country dared to spend a portion of its oil revenues on health and education. Some anti-poverty organisation.”

    From:

    The World Bank has the perfect standard bearer

    The bank’s credibility was already fatally compromised by hypocrisies far greater than those of Wolfowitz

    Naomi Klein
    Friday April 27, 2007
    The Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2066703,00.html

  5. Duc De Nemours — on 27th April, 2007 at 12:09 pm  

    Refresh, interesting though your post was it has at best a tangential link to asylum seekers. Sorry but stick to the subject.

    Naomi Klein’s piece this week in the Guardian is good stuff though.

  6. Refresh — on 27th April, 2007 at 12:21 pm  

    Duc

    Yes I know and you’re right. I did consider posting it on the BNP thread – since that seems to be focussed on migration at the moment.

    Perhaps I’ll move it there, although it probably needs a thread of its own.

  7. Arif — on 27th April, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

    If people feel that asylum-seekers don’t contribute to the state and therefore do not deserve welfare, then it is obvious to say they should work for their living.

    Then the issue becomes that they will compete with local people for jobs, so they should not be allowed to work.

    So not to work, and not to live on benefits… and yet survive while their claims to be persecuted are slowly processed by sceptical officials. So the government gives them less than basic income support, in vouchers of stigmatisation for which they can’t get change, nor use to shop where they might want, while being blamed and villified by headlines in parts of the popular press. Waiting for a knock at the door in the middle of the night, or being put into a detention centre far from any meaningful social support or opportunities.

    The idea that they can provisionally work after earning the right after four years and passing tests of questionable relevance doesn’t sound particularly open-hearted, it is just a sign of how mean we can act, however nice we want to be.

    Is it because of the welfare state we all want to save from being overloaded? Is it because of a labour market theory situation which we feel cannot be altered by public policy? Is it because we don’t want to live in a crowded area? Is it because we can’t hack being side by side with people from other cultures?

    By existing I create these pressures for everyone else myself, but I’m not blamed so much for it. It is people from elsewhere who take the blame, and so the heat is off me.

    Unless/until we have a border-free world, I think the Government should undertake as much of its asylum policy as possible through the UNHCR and fund it well to provide asylum-seekers with safety and the means to live, while claims are processed by sympathetic professionals. And other governments should be encouraged to do the same, so that they can stop competing with each other to make asylum-seekers other people’s problem, but share their humanitarian responsibilities and the benefits of new migration.

  8. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    I completely agree that asylum seekers should be allowed to work, preferably from day one of their arrival here. The treatment of asylum seekers is a disgrace.

    I would imagine that quite a number of the respondents to the poll would have been surprised to discover that asylum seekers weren’t allowed to work.

  9. Duc De Nemours — on 27th April, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

    Our treatment of asylum seekers is disgraceful. Allowing them to work under the same regulatory regime as the rest of us is only fair.

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 27th April, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

    Why do people seek to go into asylums? Is it so they can commit crimes and get let off on the grounds of mental health issues? It’s a dangerous thing to do, as documented well in Arkam Asylum in Gotham City. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing. Unless they’re saying they’re seeking to work in an asylum, like a sort of nurse or something, but even then look at what happened in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next. But then Care in the community hasn’t exactly worked either. I just hope we see a solution to this madness in our lifetime

  11. Duc De Nemours — on 27th April, 2007 at 3:07 pm  

    Kismet

    You’re funny

    Looking

  12. GM — on 27th April, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    To responsd to Davies’ question, asylum seekers are not currently permitted to work for the duration of their claim but are instead providing with access to housing assistance and with welfare payments equivalent to around two-thirds the value of job-seekers allowance through the National Asylum Support Service. The policy of allowing access to the labour market for those whose cases dragged on for longer than six months was revoked in 2002. Upon the upholding of their claim, refugee status or ‘indefinite leave to remain’ permits former asylum seekers to enter the job market as another (EU) citizen. If an asylum claim is refused, the individual is not permitted to work for the duration of any further appeal against the decision or while waiting for removal.

    The issues this throws up are the subject of a post of mine of ICAR’s policy blog: http://www.icar.org.uk/policyblog

  13. Davies — on 27th April, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

    thanks’ GM.

  14. GM — on 27th April, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

    Agree with much of what Arif says, which is practically what I have tried to say elsewhere. Though I would add that the government is currently attempting to follow his final suggestion and involve UNHCR through the ‘quality initiative’ in which UNHCR staff are carrying out an evalutation of the quality and fairness of decision-making under the New Asylum Model.

    Of course, the other way to involve the UNHCR is to expand the UK’s resettlement programs which are currently tiny when compared with those of North America and Australasia.

  15. Katherine — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

    People are in real danger here of mixing up “illegal immigrants” with ” asylum seekers”. Asylum seekers are, whilst their application is being processed, in the UK entirely legally, but are not allowed to work. They also don’t get full benefits. They are not in any sense “illegal” and they are not the “illegal immigrants” that this poll is talking about.

    This poll is about “illegal immigrants” – ie people who are in the UK entirely illegally. They may be people whose application for asylum has been rejected, they may be overstayers, they may have entered entirely illegally in the first place. They are not, strictly speaking, allowed to work either, but obviously at least some of them do. In fact, it’s probably easier to work if you are entirely illegal and have been from the start, because you are not recorded anywhere.

    It is important to keep this distinction clear, since it is the tool of those who wish to, in one way or another, for whatever reason, oppose some variety of immigration or other to mix up the different types of immigration and muddy the waters of debate generally in the hope that people will label asylum seekers as “illegal”, as seems to have happened here. Witness all the nasty goings on about “bogus asylum seekers” not too long ago.

  16. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    Katherine,

    I was going to write a response, much like yours. The reason I didn’t is because the icEaling link said also two thirds thought asylum seekers should be allowed to work. So, they seem to have asked two questions, one about longer term illegals and one about asylum seekers. It is becoming increasingly difficult to take interpretations of opinion polls at face value. Has anyone access to the actual poll?

  17. GM — on 27th April, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    Data tables from the poll are here:

    http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=69

    They do ask two distinct questions, but still group asylum seekers whose claims have failed with ‘overstayers’ in the one question. And, obviously the interpretation of this poll has mainly just been to further the idea that people can only think about the issues in terms of the ‘immigration/asylum good vs immigration/asylum bad’ dichotomy

  18. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    GM,

    Thanks for the link. I agree with your critique.

    There would seem to be a Catch 22 in operation though. If you are an illegal economic migrant, and you are paying taxes, are you not likely to get caught and thrown out long before the four year amnesty?

    I think these two issues ought to be clearly separated in peoples minds, much as Katherine says. Polls like this have the opportunity to do that, but don’t. You’ve got to wonder why.

  19. Viz — on 27th April, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

    That’s the right thing to do , right now.The question is : will Sun and Mail allow this to materialize?

  20. Bert Preast — on 27th April, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

    Well I’ve had a heart warming day here in Malaga helping a Nigerian gentleman to obtain his NIE, a number the Spanish assign to us wogs so we can have the pleasure of paying them taxes.

    The queue was over 2 hours, and made up of I reckon the most multi-national force I’ve ever laid eyes on. All was good humoured, and for the first time here a rozzer was actually organising us and doing a fine job of it.

    What really got me though was on the way out. There was a rep from Barclays bank photographing peoples’ papers and giving them appointments for monday to open a bank account and get a debit card. There were also several reps from employment agencies asking people if they were unemployed, and if so taking details to find them employment.

    This is in a part of Spain where unemployment is over 20%. That’s unemployment, not economic inactivity. And it’s probably twice that among the young. Seems the Spanish are so laden down with educational qualifications they are all waiting for job offers as lawyers, doctors and graphic designers and are not interested in doing the work that actually needs doing.

    So in summary – more power to the immigrants, and sort yourselves out Spaniards. Are you listening El Cid? :D

  21. Clairwil — on 27th April, 2007 at 9:46 pm  

    Further to GM’s post. Some asylum seekers are being allowed to work after one year but only at the discretion of the home office.For some reason only the main applicant in a joint application is being considered which often works against women who wish to work. I have several highly qualified women on my books who have been refused permission to work.

  22. lithcol — on 28th April, 2007 at 12:48 am  

    Bert Preast,
    Perhaps those unemployed Spanish doctors could go to Africa to replace all those African doctors who have gone to the west.

  23. Bert Preast — on 28th April, 2007 at 9:31 am  

    Nice plan, but no dice. Spaniards are not obliged to accept a job offer that’s more than 30km from their home.

  24. Sahil — on 29th April, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

    I came across a really good piece today on the NY Times, its about trust, social welfare, and the changes in the population composition of many societies:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/business/yourmoney/29view.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5090&en=2706a6fce31ae7d6&ex=1335499200&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

  25. Dilan — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:33 am  

    Its better for the failed asylum seekers who has been here for more than 4 years to get a permision to stay or at least work . Iraqi failed asylum seekers can not be deported because of the countries setuation everybody knows so why they get benefit and accomodation under section 4 support , Is it not better for this country who welcomed more than 500.000 Poland immegrants to give permision for failed asylum seekers to work and pay taxes ?

  26. douglas clark — on 2nd May, 2007 at 12:49 am  

    Dilan,

    Your heart is in the right place, I think. Why agree to the four year limit? If an asylum seeker can’t be returned, then surely they should be allowed to work? Seems obvious.

  27. Rashid — on 14th May, 2007 at 1:22 pm  

    People having danger in thier countriy and move for help:::::::::::can never think bad for anyone::::::::May work better with broken heart::::::::

  28. Baig RAshid From MARCO — on 14th May, 2007 at 1:35 pm  

    I did master in Business Adnim. and have more than 6 years experience and finace and accounting//// Came here for help and safe life /////////////////
    life is safe now BUT ///What about MY Experience And Qualification/////STOP & DEAD……………..
    PLEASE Do for ‘SAFE EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATION’ like life::::::::

    BAIG RASHID
    Volunteer
    MARCO
    Barnsley S70 2EP

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