Allow asylum seekers the right to work & access to Education

Not being allowed to work is very frustrating and we do not want to live on handouts. Until the Government made it illegal for people claiming asylum to work, in 2002, people who had waited for more than six months for a claim, used to be able to work. Now we are all forced to rely on state benefits even though some of us are qualified professionals such as accountants, teachers or engineers. Most people claiming asylum come from countries with no welfare system. We hate the fact we cannot work and would rather do anything than do nothing. We live on food vouchers for Tescos and have no cash to spend as we see fit, for many being able to work and support ourselves is a wound to our dignity. Asylum seekers cannot work until we have refugee status but the system is very complicated and people can wait years, up to 10 years, for their claim to be processed. Working is good for community cohesion, bringing people from different communities together, breaking down barriers and increasing understanding. The belief that asylum seekers are freeloading on taxpayers' money is often a cause of tension with the white community. Hence we advocate for the right to work and restrain from the benefit system, and let us pay our taxes. By Watson Muzamhindo

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