Court says ‘fresh claim’ asylum seekers can work

John Wilkes
Our chief executive John Wilkes c. Angela Catlin

Scottish Refugee Council has welcomed the Supreme Court decision to allow a Somali asylum seeker, who had submitted a fresh asylum claim, permission to work. 

A fresh claim is when a person submits further evidence which is accepted by UKBA to be new and relevant. It must be evidence that could not have been included in a previous claim.

Under the EU Reception Directive, asylum seekers can apply for permission to work if they have not had an initial decision on their claim from UKBA within 12 months. The court has now ruled that this right should also be made available to those who have been in the country for more than 12 months and have made a fresh claim.

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We very much welcome this ruling, which allows an asylum seeker who has submitted a fresh claim for asylum the right to work 12 months for a decision on this claim.

“Research shows that people seeking asylum very much want to work in the UK rather than being forced to live on benefits. They want to contribute to the country that they hope will offer them sanctuary.

“We very much hope that all those who have submitted fresh claims will now be granted permission to work as soon as possible. However we are deeply concerned and disappointed by reports that the Home Office response to this ruling may be to severely limit the work for which asylum seekers will be eligible to apply.

“In addition we are continuing to call for the right to work for all asylum seekers who have not had a first decision on their claim within six months.”