The UK Government must allow people in the asylum system to help fight Covid-19 pandemic, say Scots MPs.

This call comes after Stuart MacDonald MP questioned Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday over whether people in the asylum system, people who have been denied asylum and those with NRPF restrictions would receive the support they need. The Prime Minister assured him that these groups will “receive the Home Office funding they need and deserve.” We, alongside colleagues across the UK, are now pushing the Prime Minister to set out what he means by this without delay.

At Scotland Questions, Patrick Grady MP pressed the UK government to recognise the support and contribution that people in the asylum system are keen to provide to key frontline services under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement, Stuart McDonald MP and Patrick Grady MP said:

“We are in the midst of a crisis that is pushing many families and households into hardship. The SNP welcome the steps the UK government – alongside the devolved governments – is taking to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“However, that support must extend to all groups and communities across the UK who are suffering and facing intense pressure. Restrictive Home Office rules are pushing asylum seekers to the brink.

“They have no route to access desperately needed support during this difficult time.

“There are also many asylum seekers across the UK who hold medical and healthcare experience, as well as other key skills, and are keen to help our frontline services but are unable to do so due to regressive right to work Home Office rules.

“It is vital that the UK government steps in and changes its rules – not just temporarily, but permanently – so that we can create a fairer society and where no one is left behind and where people are able to work and contribute to society.”

Our CEO Sabir Zazai:

“We welcome the response by Boris Johnson at PMQs yesterday that asylum seekers, people who have been refused asylum and those with no recourse to public funds will receive the Home Office funding they need. We are in an escalating public health crisis, so the UK government must set out the funding by the end of this week.

“There is no time left for delay. People in the asylum system and in asylum accommodation need to know that they can stay in their homes for as long as this crisis lasts. This week we have written to asylum accommodation providers and the Home Office to ensure that people are not evicted during this time, and that everyone is able to access essential asylum support.

“We welcome MPs calls for right to work to be extended to asylum seekers during this crisis period and beyond. This crisis affects all of us. People seeking protection in our communities have painful experiences of what it takes to reach out to one another in times of crisis. It is now more important than ever before to enable people to participate in vital work.”


Image: Tim Mossholder


Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah