Ask your MP to support a change in policy

Restoring the dignity of work

As members of the national Still Human Still Here campaign coalition, we call on the Government to give asylum seekers permission to work if they have been waiting for more than six months for their cases to be concluded, or if they have been refused asylum but cannot be returned home through no fault of their own (e.g. because removals have been suspended).

This will prevent vulnerable people being left in a state of limbo for prolonged periods of time, will reduce the burden on the taxpayer and allow a small number of asylum seekers to support themselves and their families while contributing to the economy. Those who are allowed to stay in the UK, will find it much easier to become part of British society if they have been given the chance to work.

Please ask your MP to support this policy. Take action in less than two minutes on 38 Degrees’ website at:

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Prevent destitution and poverty amongst asylum seekers

In June 2014, Teresa Pearce MP tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM No.99) on the High Court Judgement, calling on the Government to raise asylum support rates to at least 70% of Income Support and to increase this in line with inflation annually. The motion says:

That this House notes the High Court judgment of 9 April 2014 (Refugee Action v Secretary of State for the Home Department) which states that the Government's assessment of the amount needed by asylum seekers to meet their essential living needs is flawed and further notes the Government's decision not to appeal this ruling; is concerned as stated in the judgment, that asylum support rates have not been increased since April 2011 and that the majority of those on asylum support receive just £5.23 a day to pay for essentials such as food, clothing and toiletries; further notes that asylum seekers spend an average of 18 months on this support and are almost never allowed to work; believes this is detrimental to the well-being of refugees including children; is particularly concerned that children aged 16 and 17 years are treated as adults for the purposes of asylum support making it difficult to participate fully in education; and calls on the Government to raise asylum support rates to at least 70 per cent of income support - the equivalent of £7.17 a day for most adult asylum seekers - and to increase this in line with inflation annually.

The Regional Refugee Forum North East is a member of the Still Human Still Here coalition, which campaigns to end the destitution of asylum seekers living in the UK.   Still Human Still Here is currently seeking support for this Early Day Motion number 99 (EDM No.99) calling for the Government to review and increase the support paid to asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision. National research shows that insufficient asylum support is a key dimension of the poverty and has serious health consequences. The rate of payment has not been reviewed since 2011.  Asylum support used to be set at 70% of the rate of Income Support – now asylum seekers only receive around 50% the rate of Income Support.  Asylum seekers are not eligible for any mainstream benefits such as ESA or jobseekers allowance and are not allowed to work. You can read about some of the impact this has on asylum seeker families in a joint report we produced with the North East Child Poverty Commission in June 2013 Written Out of the Picture? The role of local services in tackling child poverty among asylum seekers and refugees. .  

Please ask you Member of Parliament (MP) to sign EDM No.99. which calls for asylum support rates to be at least 70% of Income Support. Please ask your contacts and supporters to take this action, which can be easily accessed at:  

This e-action will also tell you if your MP has already signed the EDM.  

At August 2014 the following North East MPs have signed this EDM and we thank them for their support:

  • ·        David Anderson (Blaydon)
  • ·        Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) 
  • ·        Mary Glindon (North Tyneside)
  • ·        Ian Mearns (Gateshead)