Recently a trafficked woman who asked a judge for the right to work as a cleaner has won a landmark victory in the high court.
The recent ruling paves the way for tens of thousands who are denied the right to work by the Home Office to have their requests to take up jobs considered. Asylum seekers and victims of trafficking are generally denied the right to work by the Home Office. Many have been known to wait several years for their cases to be determined.
The trafficking victim, aged 35, was brought to the UK on 31st December 2017. After escaping from her traffickers and approaching the Home Office for protection, the Home Office locked her up in an immigration detention centre and said there were no reasonable grounds that she was the victim of trafficking.
She has been diagnosed with PTSD, severe depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
A year later, officials reversed the decision. She was offered a job as a cleaner. In May 2019 and again in January 2020, the Home Office refused her the right to work.
She was granted refugee status on 5th October, and given a work permit on 13th October.
In his ruling Mr Justice Bourne considered the wider issues regarding the right to work for asylum seekers and victims of trafficking.
He found that the lack of reference to discretion to grant permission to work in the Home Office guidance created a real risk that requests for work may not be properly considered.
The judge ruled that the Home Office’s permission to work policy was unlawful and needed to be amended as officials have discretion to depart from the immigration rules and grant permission to work to those whose skills are not on the shortage occupation list.