Refugees ‘being pushed into crime’ by flawed system

Refugees ‘being pushed into crime’ by flawed system

Refugees are being “pushed into crime” by being prevented from working while their asylum claims are assessed.

The warning comes from Abubakr Bashir, who has first-hand experience of the UK’s immigration system which can leave some in limbo for years.

UK law states refugees can only apply for permission to work if they have waited more than 12 months for a decision – leaving applicants to survive on a daily allowance of £5.66.

This leaves many at risk of poverty and vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs, says Abubakir, 39, a Palestinian journalist who now lives in London after successfully claiming asylum in England.

Home Secretary Priti Patel last month announced the “most significant overhaul of our immigration system in decades” but despite criticism from rights groups the restriction remains.

A bill giving asylum seekers the right to work six months after lodging a claim, tabled by MP Carol Monaghan, was due be discussed in parliament last month before being postponed due to Covid-19.

Responding to Abubakr’s comments, the Home Office said: “Asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute are provided with free, fully furnished accommodation and access to healthcare and education for children under 18, in addition to a cash allowance.”

Geoff Bew

Freelance journalist and contributor, currently studying MA in Journalism at Brighton University.

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