Can an asylum seeker undertake employment within The UK?

Immigration Laws are constantly evolving and changing. Fairmont Legal’s specialist immigration solicitors will advise you on legal rights when you book an initial consultation. However, for those seeking asylum and considering work within the UK, this blog sets out a brief overview. 

When assessing immigration laws within the UK, the general rule is that an asylum seeker is not permitted to undertake employment, subject  to the  exceptions considered below.

A key exception is the applicant seeking asylum with the claim having lapsed and been outstanding for a period of 12 months or more. The delay must not be caused by the applicant. The Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges and impacted Home Office delays which continue to be felt and offer an avenue to taking up employment while awaiting a final decision.  

Where the required conditions are met, an applicant would be eligible to apply to the Home Office in order to be granted the right to undertake employment in the UK. If the applicant is granted this right, a number of restrictions will be imposed:

  • An asylum seeker is prohibited from being self-employed in the UK
  • An asylum seeker is prohibited from opening their own business in the UK
  • An asylum seeker would have to undertake and accept the offer of employment which is on the list of permitted Home Office occupations. For example; engineer, social worker, architect, scientist and various other occupations.

One further exception relates to applicants who have an existing right to undertake employment and work within the UK on the grounds of another visa and make an asylum claim before the existing leave expires. 

In such cases, an asylum seeker would be eligible to undertake employment and work in the UK with the same conditions of their present visa. This would still apply, albeit the existing visa ends so long as the the application for asylum is made prior to the existing visa expiring.

With both of these exceptions, the right to work is only considered to be applicable until a decision is reached with regards to the claim for asylum.

Any individual who is an existing asylum seeker and is considering work in the UK, would have to review their Asylum Registration Card (ARC) to confirm whether they are permitted to undertake employment. An ARC only provides evidence as to the rights but does not grant the entirety of such a right to undertake employment.     

For a more detailed discussion or if you have questions that need answering, contact our specialist immigration solicitors by booking a free initial consultation or call us on 01204 866597 

Or if you have any queries concerning the process of an asylum claim and permission to work, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.