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Home Office Resisting Calls To Vet Asylum Seekers Work In The UK

Asylum Seekers

Home Office resisting calls to let asylum seekers work in the UK

Priti Patel’s department is resisting growing demands to allow asylum seekers to work following a public intervention from her cabinet colleague Dominic Raab to say that he would be “open-minded’ about the proposal.

Labour leader Keir Starmer, Conservative MPs and refugee charities have all called for the Home Office to allow 70,000 current claimants to seek employment after the justice secretary said a rule change could help to solve the UK’s current labour shortage.

But in testy comments that reveal frustration at Raab’s words, a senior Whitehall source said that if applications to seek employment were allowed, it would “create a pull factor for illegal immigration like never before”. “It would drive a coach and horses though our legitimate immigration system. We would see people who want to come here to work avoiding the system by just arriving and claiming asylum, before starting work the next day,” the source said.

Most asylum seekers are not allowed to work while their case is considered and instead rely on the government for housing and essential living needs. The Home Office has been reviewing the rules around allowing asylum seekers to work for three years.

The latest data shows that over 70,000 people were waiting for a UK decision on their initial asylum application – up 73% over the past two years despite a decline in the number of applicants.

Meanwhile, resettlement of refugees has not increased at the same rate. Only 308 refugees were resettled in Q2 2021, compared to a quarterly average of over 1,400 from 2016 to 2019.

MPs including the leader of the opposition increased pressure on Patel on Thursday to be as open-minded as Raab. Starmer told the Guardian the government should consider changing rules which “defy the common sense test”.

“I met a Syrian doctor who … was unable to work, because the claim hadn’t been properly processed. He desperately wanted to use his skills to help the community that made him very, very welcome and he was prohibited from doing so. That defies the common sense test,” he said.

Reacting to Starmer’s comments, a Whitehall source said: “Allowing asylum seekers to work will see more people making dangerous journeys to enter our country illegally. It’s as simple as that.”

Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, said he would also allow asylum seekers to work because their claims are taking too long – in some cases more than a year – to process. “They should be allowed to work because the system is not working properly. I would like to see their applications to be processed a lot faster,” he said.

The Tory MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, David Simmonds, has been at the forefront of a campaign to allow asylum seekers to work and aid integration. “Because asylum seekers cannot work whilst they wait for a decision on their claim, and if successful are given just 28 days to move into new accommodation and find work or apply for universal credit, there are currently significant barriers to successful integration,” he wrote in PoliticsHome in April.

The former foreign secretary was asked by the Spectator magazine on Thursday whether he would support the measure given the current labour shortage. “I would be open-minded about it,” he replied.

“If [asylum seekers] learn the language and they can work, they integrate much better and they make a positive contribution.”

Responding, Stuart McDonald, the SNP’s home affairs spokesperson in parliament, wrote on Twitter: “A very rare but welcome occasion on which I can agree with Dominic Raab! How can Priti Patel continue to resist the overwhelming logic?”

UK policy is more restrictive than those in most comparable countries. EU law requires member states to grant asylum seekers access to work after they have been waiting for nine months for a decision on their claim. Canada and Australia allow asylum seekers to work immediately. In the USA, they are eligible to work after six months.

In 2020, Germany received the highest number of asylum applicants in the EU, with 122,015 applicants. France received 93,475 applicants. In the same period, the UK received the fifth largest number of applicants, 36,041. This represents only the 17th largest intake when measured per head of population.

Dr Peter William Walsh, researcher for the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “The backlog in processing asylum claims has increased sharply in recent years and is currently nine times higher than it was a decade ago. For almost all of these people, it would be illegal for them to take a job – 80% of cases are not addressed within six months, and many people wait more than a year.”

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “Thousands of skilled and talented people live on limited financial support in limbo awaiting a decision on their asylum claim for months or years on end desperate to be able to work to contribute to our communities. It’s vital they’re given this chance.”

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Business

New Naira Notes Ready For Issuance- CBN

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said the newly redesigned Naira notes are already in banks and ready for issuance.

In a statement on its official twitter handle, the CBN quoted Emefiele to have made the disclosure in Daura, Katsina State, while on a visit to brief the president on the Naira redesign and the recently reintroduced cashless policy.

“The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes are now in banks and ready for issuance to members of the public,” the statement said.

The CBN governor clarified that the currency redesign and reintroduced cashless policies were not targeted at anybody but were for the good and development of the Nigerian economy, and urged Nigerians to embrace the various electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.

Emefiele further said the CBN deferred the cashless policy severally to prepare and deepen Nigeria’s payments system infrastructure.

He, therefore, advised Nigerians to take their old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes to the banks before the January 31, 2023 deadline.

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NIBSS Says e-Payment Transactions Hit N38.9trn In November

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) has revealed that transactions worth N38.9 trillion were performed electronically in November through the NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP).

This is the highest monthly transaction record on the platform.

Compared with the N34.5 trillion recorded in the preceding month, the November figure also shows a 12.7 per cent increase.

The latest data also shows that the November figure brought the total value of NIP deals in the last 11 months to N345 trillion.

Year on year, the e-payment value increased by 50 per cent compared with the N25.9 trillion recorded in November last year.

The value of the e-payment recorded was a reflection of the increase in the volume of deals within the month. The NIP volume rose to 492.2 million in November, showing a 53.8 per cent increase over the N319.9 million recorded in the same period last year.

The NIP is an account-number-based, online-real-time Inter-Bank payment solution developed in the year 2011 by NIBSS. It is the Nigerian financial industry’s preferred funds transfer platform that guarantees instant value to the beneficiary.

According to NIBSS, over the years, Nigerian banks have exposed NIP through their various channels, that is, internet banking, bank branch, Kiosks, mobile apps, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), POS, ATMs, etc. to their customers.

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CBN Insists It Won’t Reverse New Withdrawal Policy

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank, says there would be no reversal on the new cash withdrawal policy adding that the limitations was not intended to hurt anyone.

He disclosed this on Thursday following his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State.

The National Assembly had earlier faulted the CBN’s unveiling of revised cash withdrawal limits with a maximum of N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for companies, claiming that it might worsen the current economic situation.

But while reacting to the objections from the National Assembly and the public outcry over the cash withdrawal policy, Emefiele said;

“And we think Nigeria, as the biggest economy in Africa, needs to leapfrog into the cashless economy.

“We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank.

“More and more countries that are embracing digitisation have gone cashless,” he said.

He added that there would be no rigidity on the policy and no reversal, appealing to Nigerians to embrace the new policy.

According to the Governor of the CBN, the new naira notes have already been disbursed to the various commercial banks and expects that the banks would begin distribution to the public.

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