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Asylum-Seekers and the Right to Work

  • Steve Kirkwood
  • Simon Goodman
  • Chris McVittie
  • Andy McKinlay

Abstract

For many people, the right to work is taken for granted. It is assumed that being in employment of some kind, earning a wage to support yourself and your family, is something to which everyone is entitled. However, it is also often accepted that there is not necessarily an automatic right to work when someone is outside his or her country of nationality, where work visas and other restrictions might apply. As highlighted in the quote above, the UK and other jurisdictions tend to restrict the scope for asylum-seekers to work, in effect making it illegal for people to work before and unless their application for asylum is accepted. Currently in the UK, asylum-seekers who have waited more than 12 months for a decision on their asylum claims, and who are deemed as not responsible for the delay, are eligible to apply for permission to work, although this is restricted to jobs on the shortage occupation list (Gower, 2011). The effect of these restrictions is such that it results in a total ban on working for almost all asylum-seekers. The quote above also makes a connection between entering a country on the grounds of seeking asylum and entering for employment purposes, in this sense restricting asylum-seekers’ rights in order to prevent someone entering to work under the guise of seeking asylum. This argument — whereby the ends are treated as justifying the means, and any negative impact on asylum-seekers may be portrayed as regrettable and unintended — leads to unfavourable outcomes for asylum-seekers and demonstrates an overriding focus on deterrence and exclusion.

Keywords

Host Country Economic Reason National Interest Voluntary Work Host Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Further reading

  1. Leudar, I., Hayes, J., Nekvapil, J. & Baker, J. T. (2008). Hostility themes in media, community and refugee narratives. Discourse & Society, 19, 187–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Goodman, S., Burke, S., Liebling, H. & Zasada, D. (2014). ‘I’m not happy, but I’m OK’: How asylum-seekers manage talk about difficulties in their host country. Critical Discourse Studies, 11, 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Steve Kirkwood, Simon Goodman, Chris McVittie and Andy McKinlay 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Kirkwood
    • 1
  • Simon Goodman
    • 2
  • Chris McVittie
    • 3
  • Andy McKinlay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK
  2. 2.Coventry UniversityUK
  3. 3.Queen Margaret UniversityUK

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