Glasgow bids to pilot asylum reforms

By William Eichler and Martin Ford | 05 March 2019

A Scottish council hopes to pilot a scheme enabling asylum seekers to work while their applications are processed.

Chaired by Glasgow City Council chief executive Annemarie O’Donnell, a taskforce including the Scottish Government has recommended allowing asylum seekers to work after six months.

Under the current system, a limited number of asylum seekers with specific skills can request permission to work if their claim takes over a year to be processed, but permission is rarely granted.

The taskforce, which includes the Scottish Refugee Council and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, has also proposed allowing asylum seekers to be able to register in regional centres rather than forcing them to travel to Croydon in south London at their own expense.

Ms O’Donnell said: ‘When people come to our city looking for help, Glaswegians want to ensure we do everything we can to assist them.

‘I am confident that the recommendations in this report and the work that we will now do together will allow us to do much more to support some of the most vulnerable people seeking asylum in the UK and in our city.’

The taskforce was established following controversy over plans to evict refused asylum seekers in Glasgow by Serco, which is now subject to legal proceedings.

It aims to 'recalibrate' the relationship between local authorities, the Home Office and contractors, and improve information sharing.

The Home Office will make a decision on which reccomendations are implemented.

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