Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Experts to Home Office: put up or shut up about “pull factors”


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A telling passage in the annual report of the Migration Advisory Committee:

The Home Office has tended to argue for an employment ban for asylum seekers due to the so-called ‘pull factor’. The argument is that asylum seekers may choose to come to the UK over other safe countries because of the attractiveness of the labour market. One review of international evidence around the ‘pull factor’ found no correlation between access to the labour market and choice of country for asylum. By contrast, other pull factors such as family/friends in the destination country or language spoken amongst others tended to be more important. The Home Office recently made a parliamentary statement regarding analysis of the employment ban, but this contained no evidence on the ‘pull-factor’ but rather focused on fiscal issues which are not the focus of our concern. To the extent that the Home Office has robust evidence to support a link between the employment ban and a pull factor, they should of course make this evidence publicly available for scrutiny and review. That is how good policy is made.

Expressed in meme format:

The committee, a crack team of independent economists which advises the government on immigration policy, goes on to say that the Home Office should rethink the near-total ban on asylum seekers working. One option would be “to allow applicants to work if an initial decision has not been made within six months”.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.