Tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers were granted the right to work in the UK yesterday in a landmark court ruling.
It affects around 45,000 whose applications have already been rejected at least once, but who have not been deported.
Home Office officials argued that an EU directive – which gives asylum seekers the right to work after 12 months – should not apply to them because it would encourage appli cants to abuse the system by making repeated claims.
But the Supreme Court ruled that failed asylum seekers whose cases have not been dealt with after 12 months must be given access to jobs.
Many of those affected are part of Labour’s backlog of 450,000 asylum claims – which are still being processed.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank, said: ‘There has been a succession of court decisions which take no account of the real world in which our Home Office has to operate.
‘It is no service to genuine refugees to make the asylum system progressively more open to abuse. Yet again EU directives have unintended and unwelcome consequences for Britain.’
Reacting to the judgment, Tory ministers said they were considering restricting the asy lum seekers to industries in which there was already a proven shortage of workers.
Immigration minister Dam ian Green said: ‘This judge ment will only have a short- term effect.
The long delays in the asylum system will be resolved by the summer of next year when all the older asylum cases are concluded.’
But in 2005 she made a new claim for asylum and in 2007 she asked for the right to work.
Delays mean her case is still being considered.
The second, from Burma, known as MM, first applied for asylum in 2004 and was refused by 2005. Two months later he made a new claim which has also never been resolved.
In his ruling, deputy presi dent of the court Lord Kerr wrote: ‘It would be, in my view, anomalous and untoward that an applicant who makes a sub sequent application after his first application has been finally disposed of should be denied access to standards that are no more than the min imum to permit him to live with some measure of dignity.’
The ruling was welcomed by refugee charities. Jonathan Ellis, director of policy at the Refugee Council, said: ‘The vast majority of asylum seek ers who come to the UK would rather support themselves through work than be forced to be homeless or to rely on Gov ernment support.’
Source: Mail on Line