Sheffield City Council’s Sustainable Communities Panel has voted to submit a new proposal based on the Sustainable Communities Act to allow asylum seekers to work. In an unprecedented move, the Panel agreed that the current rules were not morally defensible, did not support the city’s aspirations as a City of Sanctuary, and did not help to achieve community cohesion. In fact the Panel held the view that the current rules may contribute to community tensions, and therefore act as a problem and challenge to the continued wellbeing and sustainability of Sheffield. The move is a direct result of the work done by the Sheffield City of Sanctuary group with Sheffield City Council to improve the lives of refugees living in Sheffield and foster greater understanding and friendship between them and the local community.
The full proposition is as follows:
‘The proposal of the Sheffield Sustainable Communities Panel is to allow asylum seekers the right to work in the city once their application for asylum has been received and they have been dispersed to the city. Asylum seekers who do not seek (or do not find) employment would still be eligible for the same support that is available at the moment. The right to seek employment would be open to any asylum seeker aged 16 or over.’