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Last week saw the launch of Lift The Ban, a campaign from a coalition of organisations who have come together to call on the Government to give people seeking asylum the right to work. The coalition includes a range of organisations, unions, think tanks, faith groups and businesses. 

Lift the Ban has published a new report about why people people seeking asylum should have the right to work. The report analysed a survey of 246 people with direct experience of the asylum seeking process and also debunked a number of common misconceptions about the implications or lifting the ban. 

The UK currently has one of the longest waiting periods of 12 months before people seeking asylum are given a right to work but even then this is limited to jobs that are on the Government's restricted Shortage Occupation List. At present, over 50% of asylum claims take longer than six months and people seeking asylum are given just £5.39 per day to meet all of their essential living costs. 94% of respondents to the survey said they would like to work if they were given permission to do so and a recent study from British Future found that more than two thirds of the public agreed that people seeking asylum should have the right to work.

On Wednesday 24 October MPs will debate the issue in Parliament.

How to get involved in the campaign

We have written to the five local MPs asking them to note the issues and respond, and attend the debate in Westminster hall on Wednesday. 

Lift the Ban has produced a Local Activism Pack with advice and information about how you can get involved in the campaign, including templates and suggestions for letters.

There is an online petition for individuals to sign or you can print and sign a petition sheet.

Groups can also host a Lift the Ban Ben&Jerry's Film Night; pick a film, enjoy some free ice cream and sign the petition. Ice cream vouchers can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and they have also suggested a film 8 Borders 8 Days which can be downloaded for free as part of this package.