Challenge the Home Office’s refusal to let asylum ‘dependents’ work

by an asylum seeking doctor

Challenge the Home Office’s refusal to let asylum ‘dependents’ work

by an asylum seeking doctor
an asylum seeking doctor
Case Owner
I am a trained medical professional challenging the Home Office’s refusal to let asylum ‘dependents’ work.
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an asylum seeking doctor
Case Owner
I am a trained medical professional challenging the Home Office’s refusal to let asylum ‘dependents’ work.
Pledge now

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Latest: Sept. 21, 2022

Update on my case

Unfortunately, I received judgment in my case last week and it was dismissed. The Judge acknowledged that the case raised a novel point of law, but found that the right to work for the dependents of …

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The Home Office refuses to let the dependents of asylum seekers work. This is discriminatory and unjust and I am going to court to challenge this policy.

Asylum seekers and their dependents are hard-working people who want to contribute to society. COVID has been challenging for all of us, and I would like to see asylum seekers and their dependents fulfil their potential and contribute their resources to British society during this difficult time.

I am bringing a challenge against the Home Office’s decision to not allow me to work as a doctor in the UK because I am ‘dependent’ on my wife’s asylum claim, and more importantly,  I am challenging the policy itself in the hope that it will help many others who find themselves in a similar position.  

Who am I? 

My wife and I are asylum-seeking doctors from Iraq. We have a six year old son and four year old daughter in the UK. We both have Bachelor’s degrees in Medicine and Surgery from Baghdad University from 2011 and worked for a number of years in Iraq. I worked as a medical doctor for the Iraqi Army, treating injured soldiers in Baghdad. 

We received threats to our lives in 2016 for my work in the Iraqi Army so fled to the UK to claim asylum. I am currently dependent on my wife’s asylum claim; if she is granted refugee status, this will extend to me as her spouse.

My wife and I applied for permission to work in April 2021. She was granted permission and has now started her job as a doctor at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. I am still banned from working.

Why do I want dependents such as myself to work in the UK? 

I believe that asylum seekers and their dependents should have equal rights to work in the UK, to increase self-sufficiency and encourage social integration.

As dependents, we often share the stresses and traumas with our partners or family members, and working can help to alleviate these issues. I believe it is it important for the children of asylum seekers to see their parents going to work and participating in society; and to become financially self-sufficient.  My wife and I have been forced to rely on Home Office support because we have been prevented from working, but I would rather see that money go to those who are in greater need. 

The restriction on dependents usually affects women, who are more likely to be dependent on their husbands’ asylum claims. I therefore believe it is important to challenge this restrictive policy to help prevent the discrimination of women. 

Personally for me, I would like to give back to society through my work as a doctor. I have seen the impact of COVID on our communities and society, and it has made me feel hopeless that I have not been able to give back in some way, particularly with my qualifications.  

What are the next steps in the case? 

On 10 August 2021, my lawyers sent out a Letter before Action to the Home Office, challenging the decision dated 6 July 2021 to refuse to grant me permission to work in the UK. The Home Office have responded to state that they maintain the decision. We have now issued judicial review proceedings. 

The Legal Aid Agency have refused to grant me funding because my wife has started working as a doctor and received her first pay cheque this month. However, now that our asylum support will be cut off, we do not have the resources as a family to support our children and pay for legal fees. 

Initial Target: How much are we raising and why? 

To take legal action, I will need help with my legal costs. My lawyers have agreed to act at significantly discounted rates in view of the public interest nature of the case, but I also will have to pay court fees and there is a chance that if I lose, I would have to pay the costs of the other side. I need to fundraise so that I have some protection against these legal costs. 

Please donate what you can, every penny will help. Please share this page on social media, via email or Whatsapp with family and friends. 

Update 3

an asylum seeking doctor

Sept. 21, 2022

Update on my case

Unfortunately, I received judgment in my case last week and it was dismissed. The Judge acknowledged that the case raised a novel point of law, but found that the right to work for the dependents of asylum-seekers is not “within the ambit” of their right to a family and private life. This decision is obviously extremely disappointing and my legal team and I believe there are a number of flaws in the Judge’s reasoning. 

I now have to pay the Home Office’s costs. I will need help with that. I decided to continue with this case even after I was granted asylum and the right to work, because I wanted to help all the other dependents who are barred from working in the UK and who are suffering under this restrictive policy. I am considering an appeal but without me being able to cover my costs of the judicial review, I cannot move forward.

I therefore ask that you donate, to protect me and my family from exposure to paying Home Office costs in the case to date, which we cannot pay, and so that we can consider next steps in this important challenge.

Update 2

an asylum seeking doctor

April 20, 2022

My challenge will be heard on 9 May

Following the grant of permission by the High Court to challenge the government’s right to work policy, my case has now been listed for a final hearing on 9 May 2022. This hearing will decide whether the policy is discriminatory to dependents and may require the government to amend its restrictive policy. I am bringing this challenge on behalf of all dependents and I would be grateful if you could keep on donating to this important challenge, as my cost risks increase as I continue. Thank you for all your donations so far and I will keep you updated.


 

Update 1

an asylum seeking doctor

Jan. 6, 2022

Our challenge is moving forward!

I am very pleased to announce that on 11 November 2021, I was granted permission by the High Court to challenge the government’s right to work policy, which I argue is discriminatory to dependents.

Following this decision, on 26 November 2021,  my family were granted asylum in the UK, which comes as a huge relief and means that we are both able to work in the UK.

Despite the judicial review no longer impacting my right to work in the UK, I would like to  proceed on behalf of all dependents who are barred from working in the UK.

There is now a bigger financial risk for me, however the case has the potential to bring wider ramifications. It will also require the government to finally provide evidence of their pull-factor theory, which they have used to justify restrictive permission to work policy repeatedly over the years. I therefore ask that you donate to help me challenge the governments restrictive policy on behalf of others.

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