With the Home Office in disarray, many refugees are forced into destitution and homelessness whilst waiting for their asylum application to be processed.
Even if the Home Office immigration service misses its own six month deadline for processing applications, the government still denies refugees the right to work or volunteer for a further six months whilst they wait for their status to be confirmed.
Having raised this with Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes last Thursday, I spoke yesterday on this topic during a debate on homelessness among refugees.
Being unable to work for an extended period of time denies refugees a source of income and creates gaps in unemployment that make it more difficult to find work even after their application is accepted, a problem exacerbated by government cuts to refugee English language classes.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. In welcoming refugees, the British people have set a shining example that the government should follow. We must end Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policy reflected in the current asylum system.
Refugees have endured war, persecution and disaster, and they deserve the opportunity to work or volunteer. It is in the interest of everyone for us to integrate refugees so they can become productive members of society.