Refugee Action and Asylum Matters are leading a coalition of NGOs planning a campaign asking for the ban on work for people seeking asylum in the UK to be lifted.
In order to understand more about the subject – and to feed into media work highlighting this as an issue – the coalition “Lift the Ban” are asking people who have experience of the asylum system to fill in a short survey Survey – Lift the Ban (which shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes to complete) about their experiences in the UK and their skills and work experience.
City of Sanctuary is calling on its network and others to share this survey with their networks, other organisations working in this area and service users and help them with completing it if needed.
The more respondents to the survey, the stronger the case will be and the better our chance of creating change – so every filled in survey will make a difference. All the information gathered will be completely anonymous and it will not publicly use any respondents’ name or anything else that could allow others to identify them.
Filled in surveys – and any questions – should be sent to Hannah Cooper ([email protected]) at Refugee Action. Please return completed surveys by 14th September.

In addition they are seeking people to work with them to share their stories and experiences including media opportunities. Case studies could include:

People currently in the system who want to work and feel that being unable to do so have affected them negatively

  • Poverty and destitution
  • Homelessness (or the threat of it)
  • Mental health- including lack of self-confidence/not feeling valued
  • Integration – unable to make friends, feel part of society, integrate in the labour market

People who have been granted refugee status after going through the asylum process

  • Some may now be employed and can talk about how this has been positive for them/advantages of being able to work
  • Others may be finding it difficult to get employment and can link this to be unable to work during their asylum claim

People who were resettled to the UK as refugees and were therefore able to work as soon as they arrived

  • People who will hopefully be able to talk about how being able to work has been positive and helped them to integrate

Other stories to highlight –

  • Someone who has been granted permission to work and their experience (challenges/opportunities) in finding employment
  • Shared values – what’s it like not being able to provide for your family – Children not having the same opportunities, toys, experiences as their friends at school.
  • Wasted skills and potential – can we show the vast array of skills, talents, professions of people seeking asylum? Show people who had successful careers before war tore their lives apart, how would it feel to lose everything and not have the chance to contribute to the country you’ve fled to – to be prevented from being part of society?

See below some interesting stories about people seeking asylum and work that might act as inspiration!

–        The Syrian refugee on a mission to save Britain’s bees

–        The Yorkshire Dales farmer helping asylum seekers

–        Meet the Syrian family who fled civil war and now make halloumi in Yorkshire

Lift the Ban will fully support people during the process, explain how their content would be used, and provide briefings ahead of media opportunities. They will also make sure that organisations are mentioned with every media opportunity. Furthermore, the coalition is setting up an Ambassador Network of experts by experience who are keen not only to share their story but to get more involved in the campaign. Being a part of the Network will provide people with opportunities to attend training sessions on skills such as campaigning, story-telling, media engagement and debating. If you or someone you know might be interested in sharing their story and/or being part of the Network, please complete this form Lift the Ban Case Studies and send to Nisreen Bathish ([email protected]), flagging an interest in joining the Network if relevant.

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