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I'm an asylum seeker and I want to work to support my family – please let me


3 min read

Whilst the outgoing prime minister had planned to extend the existing Skilled Worker visa scheme to deal with the post-Brexit labour market shortage and disagreement amongst many senior politicians, could the answer lay much closer to home?

Do we need to invite skilled workers from elsewhere when there are plenty here already?

We are labelled ‘a burden on the taxpayer’ when we could be a taxpayer

The government continues to deliver conflicting messages around migration, where those who seek safety are unwelcome, but those who can fill a labour market shortage are. But thousands of those caught up in the asylum system, willing and able (desperate in most cases) to work are not allowed to. We are labelled “a burden on the taxpayer” when we could be a taxpayer!

This week my daughter celebrated her 13 birthday (the eldest of two, the other being 10). She loves books, loves reading and I want more than anything to buy her a Kindle – but I cannot afford one. Because I am one of those thousands caught up in an asylum system that stops me from supporting myself and my family.

I am 51 and an electrical engineer, occupational code 2123 on the list of occupations eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. I have managed upwards of 50 people and I have a degree in economics.

I came here three years ago from Turkey, after accusations of anti-government activity (based on a comment on Facebook!) ended in me being taken and beaten by the police and my home raided multiple times. I fled. My family, after being threatened and beaten themselves, joined me a year later. I have been waiting ever since for my status to be confirmed. Under normal circumstances you can apply for a work permit after one year but, partly due to the pandemic, I would ask and get no response. Finally, after two and a half years of waiting I received an interview, but my application was rejected on the grounds of what the Home Office felt were discrepancies in my story.

Of course, this has a profound effect, not just on me but on me but my family too. Money is tight, the cost of living is rising and impacts on everyone – but for those already disadvantaged that impact sees some made destitute. Another fear for me and my family.

Currently there are more than 1400 electrical engineer vacancies on one leading job site in In Greater London where me and my family live. That’s 1400 vacancies that I could potentially apply for but the system prohibits me from doing so. Surely the benefits of allowing me, and those like me, to work are enormous, so much so that it is hard to see why there would be any opposition. Whilst it would be unjust if employment were hight, it would at least be understandable, but according to the Office for National Statistics the unemployment rate for May to July 2022 decreased by 0.2 per cent on the quarter to 3.6 per cent, the lowest rate since May to July 1974.

By letting those already here work, you are making best use of their skills and experience instead of leaving them unable to fend for themselves or support their families. The cost to the taxpayer of the endless processing of requests, support for those destitute, to say nothing of the costs in benefits. Money that could be used elsewhere, whilst able men and women earn, contribute and pay taxes themselves.

What better way to build a new life, integrate and make a positive contribution?



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