THE LAWYER THE NEWSPAPER FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION LITIGATION ANALYSIS Thousands of asylum seekers in the UK have won the right to work while their appeals are pending, reports Roger Pearson Asylum seekers win job rights IN A major victory which On the practicalities of the could benefit thousands of situation. And at the end of the asylum seekers. Mr. Justice day Mr. Justice Owens’s Owen has outlawed the Home ruling concentrated on the Secretary’s use of powers human and practical aspects of under the Immigration Act the case as opposed to strict 1971 to ban asylum seekers interpretation of the from working while their Immigration Act. appeals are pending. “This ruling must be viewed The work ban, coupled with as a common-sense decision refusal of state aid, has created and one which is good news a potential destitution trap for for asylum seekers,” says Haji. many caught up in the “There are several thousand prolonged asylum appeals such people in the country at process. anyone time. To tie their However, this use of the hands by preventing them Immigration Act provisions from earning money made no has now been successfully sense at all and was grossly challenged. Hasnain Haji, of unfair to them”. Mitcham firm Preuveneers & From the point of view of the Co’s immigration department, lawyers involved, Haji says it Who played a major role in Home Secretary’s policy was it was irrational and unlawful was a case in which team the recent High Court action, one which would effectively whether in respect of genuine work played an important role, has no doubt that Mr. Justice allow him to give money to an or bogus asylum seekers. with the individual firms Owens’s ruling is a significant asylum seeker if he came Haji, who with head of the representing all four major victory. The case involved begging, yet would render him firms immigration department, input. four asylum seekers who had guilty of a criminal offence if Kenny Bhogal, played a major “There was a great deal of been refused the right to work he asked that asylum seeker to role in co-ordinating the joint liaison between the firms while their appeals were do some work for the money. challenge to the policy, says involved and it paid major pending. On average it takes a He viewed the power to deny the ruling. If upheld, will right dividends,” he says. year for the appeal process to asylum seekers the right to a serious wrong that has been Apart from Preuveneers, the run its course. support themselves as so imposed on asylum seekers. other applicants in the case During this time, as Mr. draconian as to be outside the While the Home Office were represented by Dhillion Justice Owen pointed out in Home Secretary’s powers. He advanced an argument based & Co of East Ham, J A his judgment, the asylum pointed out that depriving such on its interpretation of the law, Pattison of Barnes and Malik seeker, apart from needing a person of the right to earn he says that immigration Adams of Manchester. money to live, also needs money could have the knock specialist Stephen Stephen Knafler represented finance to enable him or her to on effect of wasting legal aid. Knafler,counsel for three of the applicants and the keep in touch with legal The judge added that genuine Preuveneers client and two of fourth was represented by advisors and to collect asylum seekers would be worst the other argued very much Colin Ross-Munro. Steven evidence. The judge said the hit by the ban and that as such, Kovats was instructed by the Treasury Solicitor.