Lift the Ban

Supporting refugees - for work

Fighting to allow people seeking refugee status to have the right to work.

The Salvation Army is a member of the Lift the Ban coalition calling on the British Government to allow people seeking refugee status to have the right to work. The growing coalition has a wide-ranging and diverse membership of over 150 organisations including refugee support agencies, faith and community groups, think tanks, and businesses.

People seeking asylum in the UK are only able to apply for the right to work after they have been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for over a year. Even then, the few people who are granted permission are rarely able to work in practice because their employment is restricted to the narrow list of highly skilled professions included on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.

In our experience, people waiting for their asylum application to be processed find themselves disempowered and often unable to integrate into communities. Those waiting in limbo can feel stripped of their dignity and without opportunity to use their considerable skills to contribute to the UK causing devastating mental health problems. We believe every person should be given the opportunity to transform their life and live with integrity, which is why we fully support Lift the Ban and asylum seekers having the same right as other people.

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We have seen the uncertainty and devastating effects the ban can have on asylum seekers first hand. Phoebe, a member of The Salvation Army, describes what it’s like for someone waiting for refugee status and why lifting the ban can make a significant difference to her and her son’s lives.

The Lift the Ban Coalition, therefore, is calling on the UK Government to give asylum seekers and their adult dependants the right to work:

  • Unconstrained by the Shortage Occupation List, and
  • After they have waited six months for a decision on their initial asylum claim or further submission

Lift the Ban has produced a full report explaining the case for change, and why this is so important.

Join the campaign

We are encouraging people to learn more about the ‘Lift the Ban’ campaign and download the 'activism' pack which give suggestions about how to raise awareness about this issue. More information about the campaign is available at ‘Activism’ packs are available for download, which give suggestions of how to raise awareness about this issue. There is also a petition you can sign.

For more information on The Salvation Army’s position, contact Annie Dell in Policy and Public Affairs: 

Asylum seeker support

How we are helping to empower asylum seekers in the community

Refugee resettlement

We are helping refugees in communities across the country

Supporting refugees

Helping to support and give opportunities to people fleeing conflict

Emergency Response

Responding to disasters and emergency situations to provide immediate support and relief.