The Right to Work?!


A few people from Manchester No Borders supported a demonstration by the new Student Action for Refugees (STAR) group at Manchester University on Friday. A large banner and some 15 people with flyers informed students of their 'Let Them Work' campaign.

As STAR wrote:

The protest will launch the Manchester branch of STAR’s national campaign ‘Let Them Work’, to give asylum seekers the right to work during the asylum application process. The campaign is being supported by the Refugee Council and the TUC. Currently the UK’s draconian asylum system prohibits those applying for refugee status the right to work in the UK, leaving many feeling depressed and demoralised. … It is estimated that several thousand failed asylum seekers live in Manchester, deprived of the right to work, to get basic public services, and live a life of dignity.


We fully support the demand for the Right to Work as it would fundamentally change the living conditions of thousands of people seeking asylum. But we need to remember that asking more rights from the state can at best be a limited strategy.

Just as the folks from No One Is Illegal, we believe that no forms of immigration control can be ‘fair’ or ‘just’. At the centre of all migration management systems lies the desire to distinguish and divide between ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ legislation, ‘genuine’ and ‘bogus’ asylum seekers, the ‘legal’ and the ‘illegal’, the ‘citizen’ and the ‘non-citizen’, ‘refugees’ and ‘economic migrants’, those with rights and those without…

The Right to Work will almost inevitably lead to new groups of ‘rightless’ people and to new forms of exclusion and exploitation. New divisions will appear between ‘categories’ of asylum seekers and other migrants.

Similar points are raised in a new pamphlet on ‘amnesties’ (pdf) just published by NOII.

Therefore we have to connect the demands for practical improvements with a clear rejection of all divisions between citizens and non-citizens and all forms of immigration control. We cannot stop at the Right to Work but must declare: Freedom of Movement for All - No One Is Illegal!

Posted byManchester No Borders at 2:03 PM