The Shadow Home Secretary appeared baffled as she was quizzed on proposals to let asylum seekers undertake paid employment while their case to remain in the UK is heard. Yvette Cooper declared Labor had previously supported plans to get asylum seekers into work but indicated a new plan suggested by Tory MP Robert Buckland was not the right approach to resolve the disastrous UK asylum system. The Labor MP claimed asylum seekers should not be able to work “when they first arrive” but declined to outline a time period after which employment should become an option.
Justin Webb, the host of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, asked if the Labor Party would be in favor of Robert Buckland’s suggestion that work should be accessible to asylum seekers six months after their claim was first issued, as opposed to the current guidelines which allow Such work after a year on the waiting list.
Ms Cooper replied: “We have supported that in the past, but I actually don’t think that is going to solve the problem because you’ve got that huge backlog.
Mr Webb retorted: “So, you’re not in favor of that at the moment?”
The Labor MP said: “No, we have done because it does help obviously
Pushed again to declare if the Labor Party would back Mr Buckland’s proposal, Ms Cooper clarified that asylum seekers should not be able to work “when they first arrive.”
Mr Webb continued to quiz the Labor Shadow Minister for details on the party’s plans: “So, how long should the distance be between them arriving?”
Ms Cooper interjected: “Hang on a second. The key issue here is that you have currently got 90,000 people waiting for more than six months to have a decision – it used to be around 4,000 people who had been waiting for a decision for six months.
“Now, that is a huge long delay and that is bad for the whole asylum system. It means that you have people who have got serious problems, maybe have been tortured and have faced persecution and need additional support, but you also have people who are not refugees and actually need to be returned and it’s adding to these huge additional hotel costs.
“So, we think the government should have a plan to cut hotel use, a plan to make decisions to get the proper supervision, training and triage in place to actually support the recommendations of the independent inspectorate.”
Read more: Migrants staying in hotels rises to 40,000