Wednesday, 20 October 2010

GLA Backs 'Still Human Still Here" Campaign

The London Assembly today expressed its support for the 'Still Human Still Here' campaign which calls for a change in the rules governing the right of asylum seekers to seek work.

In a motion agreed today, the Assembly said a change in policy would help many asylum seekers living in London out of poverty and would reduce the burden on the taxpayer and charities.  

The campaign calls for asylum seekers whose cases are taking longer than six months or who have been refused asylum, but temporarily cannot return home through no fault of their own, to be given permission to work until their cases are finally resolved.  

The Assembly called on the Mayor to join it in making representations to the Government in support of the campaign.

Darren Johnson AM, who proposed today's motion, said:

"The majority of asylum seekers survive on just £5 a day. If asylum seekers were allowed to earn a living and pay their own way, it would improve their self-esteem and self-reliance. It would also reduce some of the hostility they face and the burden on the taxpayer."

Jennette Arnold AM, who seconded the motion, said: 

"This would provide a route out of poverty for asylum seekers affected, the majority of whom live in London. Something needs to be done to help those who have been waiting for more than six months to have their application dealt with. What we are arguing for is a workable and fair way to deal with those seeking shelter in this country."

The full text of the motion reads as follows:

"This Assembly supports the Still Human Still Here campaign calling for asylum seekers who have been waiting for more than six months for their cases to be concluded, or who have been refused asylum but temporarily cannot be returned home through no fault of their own, to be given permission to work until their cases are finally resolved. This policy would provide a route out of poverty for those affected, the majority of whom live in London, and reduce the burden on the taxpayer and the charitable sector. 

"This Assembly resolves to make representations to the UK Government in support of this campaign, and calls on the Mayor to join it in making these representations, including by commissioning supporting evidence regarding the impact on London from GLA Economics."

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