Refugee Council response to Lord Goldsmith's citizenship review - Refugee Council
March 12, 2008

Refugee Council response to Lord Goldsmith’s citizenship review

Lord Goldsmith today published a wide-ranging review into citizenship, containing a series of recommendations. Although a large part of it was dedicated to examining citizenship in the context of British-born people, he dedicated part of it to looking at the experience of citizenship for newcomers.

There was a particular focus on refugees and asylum seekers as a discrete group, whose circumstances differ from that of other migrants. The report recommended that giving asylum seekers the right to work should be considered again and a review of the current policy of giving refugees five years’ limited leave to remain.

In response to the publication of the Citizenship Review conducted by Lord Goldsmith QC, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We are very pleased that Lord Goldsmith has recognised that the particular experiences and situations asylum seekers and refugees need to be considered when taking forward recommendations.

“We very much welcome the recommendation that the government reviews current restrictions on entitlement to work for asylum seekers, which is a serious hindrance to integration. The policy of giving refugees only five years’ limited leave to remain similarly creates significant barriers for people who want to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities and UK society, so we are delighted that Lord Goldsmith has also recommended reviewing it.

“Refugees are unique in that they have come to the UK not out of choice but to seek a place of safety. Despite this they show massive resilience and are determined to contribute, with many volunteering and playing an active role in their new communities. Whether they become citizens or not, refugees make a huge contribution to this country, and we hope this is recognised within the context of the ongoing debate around citizenship.”