Asylum Rights Campaigner to Help Kick-Start Right to Work Campaign in Scotland

Lucky Khambule

We spoke to campaigner and Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) founder Lucky Khambule ahead of his Right to Work campaign workshop at Unity Centre event in Glasgow this Sunday. Full event details below.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself

A: My name is Lucky Khambule. I’m originally from South Africa and have been living in Ireland for almost six years. I lived in Direct Provision (the name for asylum seeker accommodation centres in Ireland) for 4 years and have now been granted my refugee status. I am a campaigner and advocate for asylum seekers and a founding member of MASI which is a platform for asylum seekers to join together and seek justice, freedom and dignity for all asylum seekers.

Q: Tells us about your ‘right to work’ for asylum seekers campaign in Ireland.

A: The right to work campaign has been on going for a while now. We believe that the ban on asylum seekers working upholds Direct Provision in Ireland because it forces people to depend on the state for a long time. Our campaign is aimed at pushing the government to give all asylum seekers meaningful, accessible and indiscriminate access to employment. The campaign is in full swing now and we are spreading the word throughout the country. Although recent changes to right to work regulations in Ireland were initially welcomed, details of the multiple injustices and irregularities within this system have come to light. The changes are so restrictive that employment remains completely inaccessible to the vast majority of people in the asylum system. Our campaign is far from done.

Q: What has changed for asylum seekers because of the 'right to work' campaign?

A: There is now hope for people who are eligible to seek work but the reality is that there are still huge challenges.  The conditions of ‘right to work’ make it hard for employers to take on people. One of the main concerns is that people who have permission to work can only do so for 6 months. Nothing has changed for people who are appealing a refused asylum application no matter how long they have been on the system. 

Q: Why is the right to work a good thing?

Firstly it means that people will have proper control of their own life and won't be dependent on the state.

Secondly, it means that the state will actual save more money and benefit from tax collections.

Lastly, the ability to work means people can properly integrate into society, they can choose where to live, and it would indirectly tackle the issue of Direct Provision.

 Q: Tell us what people can expect at your workshops in Glasgow on 5 August.

A: People in Glasgow can expect a lot of energy and ideas. There are parallels between our struggles so we will be sharing what we have learned, what has worked and what did not from our own campaign experiences.

 Q: From the lessons you’ve learned in your own campaign what advice would you give to people in Scotland wanting to support the right to work for asylum seekers?

A: It's important to keep the focus on the main objectives of the campaign. Pull everybody with you. Collaborate. Stand in solidarity. People affected by the situation should not underestimate their own abilities and must have the belief and the courage to lead from the front. 

Help Start a Right to Work Campaign in Scotland

You can help start a Right to Work campaign in Scotland. Come along to the event and join support and solidarity groups from across Glasgow to learn strategies and share experiences and ideas. 

WHEN: Sunday 5 August at 3pm

WHERE: Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall Street, G411BA

Join the Facebook event page and/or send your questions to: right2workglasgow [at]

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