Campaigning for a Fairer Immigration System

Meet The Comfrey Volunteers Fighting for Migrants' Rights

The Comfrey Project is immensely proud of our volunteers Asadullah and Rudy, who travelled to London at the end of November to call on the government to create a fair and compassionate immigration system. Here is Rudy’s report:

‘I trained as a lawyer in my home country of El Salvador. I am unable to work while I wait for a decision on my asylum claim. The length of time somebody has to wait to receive a decision on their claim can vary massively; some people have to wait multiple years. Drawing on my experience, and the impact it has had on my life, I have chosen to speak about the issue of employment and the right to work.

Myself and Asadullah, in the company of our fellow campaigners, visited the Heart of London and were able to share the harsh reality of the current system with our MPs. The trip, coordinated by Northumberland County of Sanctuary and supported by Ian Lavery MP  and Asylum Matters, brought together 12 campaigners from the North East of England, all with lived experience of the UK’s asylum system, to share their experiences with MPs. Each campaigner hosted a stall at the event, specialising on a different area of focus, to include: family reunion, safe routes to seek asylum in the UK, the right to work, and housing.  (Watch the report from BBC Look North)

We hope for a fair and just process in the near future. We will continue to campaign on behalf of those who are not able to express their experiences for themselves. We hope for a more humane system for everyone seeking international protection. We will continue to campaign for a safe route to seek international protection to prevent the loss of more lives. We also campaign for better conditions in hotels and dispersal accommodation.

According to Asylum Matters, the lack of food and essential items asylum seekers face is due to not being able to to work. The right to work is something we will continue to campaign for this year. Access to higher education is another priority; based on the experience of meeting many professionals seeking asylum, who are not able to access the opportunity to re-qualify to continue working on the skills and qualifications obtained in their home country.

As a Lawyer, I believe in justice, and I also believe that we can achieve these goals by working together with the different communities and organisations around the North East and the UK. I am keen to continue to get involved in local and national campaign work, to continue standing up for migrants rights. I’m also hoping to restart my career in law in the UK as soon as I can.’

The right to work and #LiftTheBan Coalition 

Asylum Matters, together with Refugee Action, coordinate the Lift The Ban Coalition. This coalition brings together organisations that are campaigning for people seeking asylum to have the right to work.

‘People seeking asylum are not allowed to claim benefits or work in the UK. If they are destitute and have no other means of supporting themselves, they can apply to receive asylum support. This is set at around £5.84 per day… The right to work would allow people seeking asylum to support themselves, to use their talents and experience, and help them to feel part of their community.Refugee Action

You can read more about the group’s excellent work in this  Northern Echo article.
Plus, head over to Asylum Matters’  and Refugee Action’s websites, to find out more about important campaign work you can add your voice to!
Meet The Comfrey Volunteers Fighting for Migrants' Right To Work