Khambule is a founding member of Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI), and will deliver workshops on the campaign which saw Ireland’s Supreme Court rule the ban on asylum seekers’ right to work as unconstitutional in February this year.
In the UK, asylum seekers continue to be barred from working or accessing mainstream benefits, a policy known as No Recourse to Public Funds. While those who have been in the UK for more than 12 months have access to jobs from the Shortage Occupation List, this is only applicable to a small minority of people.
The Unity Centre, which provides support and solidarity to asylum seekers and all migrants in Scotland, is calling on likeminded advocates of workers’ and migrants’ rights to attend the event at Kinning Park Complex on 5 August and start planning a united campaign on the issue.
Speaking to CommonSpace, Mark Thomas of the Unity Centre explained: “The reality of this work ban, mixed with the fact of No Recourse to Public Funds and that asylum support is £36 a week, effectively means that people are being sent a clear message about how people are expected to live here.
“The logic touted is that [the right to work] would create a draw but the evidence for this is spurious at best, and overlooks the reality that legally barring people from work doesn’t stop people working. Rather, it means people work precarious, exploitative and dangerous jobs.”
“The driving principal, though, is that the right to work is a fundamental right that should be available to all.”
According to British Red Cross, the numbers of asylum seekers being left destitute in Scotland has risen in recent years, with 820 people in this position coming to them for help in 2016, compared to 326 in 2014.