03 AUG 2017
Dignity Not Destitution
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the Refugee Action Campaign.
I understand you would like me to sign EDM 190 on this matter, however like many MPs I do not sign any EDMs no matter how worthy the cause. This is because EDMs now cost a huge amount per year to administer and have no chance of changing the Law. They are in effect petitions which only MPs can sign. They have also been superseded by online petitions which can be on any issue for which the Government or Parliament is responsible and any which receive 10,000 signatures will receive a response from the Government. Those petitions which reach 100,000 signatures will almost always be debated in Parliament – unless it is an issue which has recently been debated. There are also concerns that EDMs may give a false impression that action is being taken.
Nonetheless, I hope the following information on this topic from the Home Office is of interest:
The Home Office has discussed Refugee Action's report with the charity itself, and will continue this dialogue as it examines the detailed findings. Complaints about performance failures are taken seriously, and there are robust procedures in place to inspect, investigate and resolve issues when specific information is received.
Asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute can apply for free accommodation and cash support to cover their essential living needs. If they have an emergency need for accommodation they can ask to be put in initial accommodation while their applications are being processed and the vast majority of such requests are processed on the same day.
On the issue of asylum seekers being granted the right to work, permission is granted for an asylum seeker to work in one of the jobs on the shortage occupation list if their claim has not been decided after 12 months, through no fault of their own. This is fair and reasonable, as it protects the resident labour market and ensures that access to jobs is prioritised for British citizens and those with leave to remain, including refugees.
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