REFUGEES HAVE THE RIGHT:
TO WORK, OR RECEIVE CASH BENEFITS, NOT VOUCHERS
Stores like the Co-op accept government vouchers provided to refugees. Protests have now forced the government to review its voucher and dispersal policy. Why?
Please, as Oxfam and lots of others ask, ask to see the Co-op manager and
"SAY NO TO NO CHANGE!" ALSO, please read on and support our call for
"CASH, NOT VOUCHERS"
"You stand in a queue and while others have
money, you have a voucher. It’s grotesque.
Worse, the government subsidises Tesco
and Sainsbury [and the Co-op!]. That’s not
the redistribution I voted for." – Bill Morris,
transport & general workers union (TGWU)
WHY CAN’T REFUGEES WORK?
Public services and business need the workers. But no one who arrives and asks for political asylum is allowed to work. In theory, after 6 months scratching around on below poverty-level vouchers, you can ask for a Standard Acknowledgement Letter ("SAL") that gets you a NI number and the right to apply for jobs. But usually it takes much longer, and if you try to challenge a government refusal of your asylum application (as 1 in 3 asylum seekers did successfully in 1999), you’re banned from working while you do so.
ASYLUM SEEKERS MUST BE ALLOWED TO WORK:
MEDIA MYTHS DISPELLED:
FACT: REFUGEES ARE NOT "FLOODING" HERE FOR A "SOFT TOUCH". Our welcome is less generous than other European countries’. Among European countries, we rank 9th in numbers of asylum applications per 1000 inhabitants. Britain hosts about 0.5% of the world’s 21 million refugees.
FACT: THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE SEEKING ASYLUM HAVE FACED VIOLENCE—EVEN TORTURE AND RAPE—DISCRIMINATION AND DEPRIVATION. Even the government admits this: in 1999 over half (54%) of asylum seekers got permission to stay. Most of the others failed because they travelled via another country, or lacked papers, or got bad, or no, legal advice, or were simply victims of our totally arbitrary system.
FACT: REFUGEES ARE NOT TAKING "OUR" JOBS. There are more vacancies for many jobs—care assistants, hotel workers, nurses, security workers—than people to fill them. Most asylum seekers are qualified and when settled make a valuable contribution to the country.
FACT: REFUGEES ARE NOT TAKING "OUR" HOUSING. Paid for by a direct Home Office grant, asylum seekers are housed mostly in private accommodation. If you think we need more council houses or are opposed to closing old people’s homes, tell your local councillors and Member of Parliament.
FACT: THE SYSTEM OF VOUCHERS, DISPERSAL AND DETENTION (IN PLACES LIKE CAMPSFIELD NEAR OXFORD) IS MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE ALTERNATIVES, AS WELL AS GROSSLY UNFAIR.
OPINION: We ought to act on these facts, not treat asylum seekers like unwelcome guests. A start would be to write to your MP in support of asylum seekers’ right to work and to cash benefits.
p&p Campaign to Close Campsfield, c/o 111 Magdalen Rd, 01865 558145/557282/726804
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