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Update August 2022 

This campaign is now resting; please see here for the most recent update.  Read on below for a general account of the campaign as it unfolded, as well as the many posts on this site that documented and accompanied our campaigning over the past few years. Public support for the right to work continues to increase.

We are proud to be part of the Lift the Ban coalition.

In 2018 we joined over 100 other organisations in officially joining this coalition set up by Asylum Matters and Refugee Action.

Click to see all the organisations involved!


You can sign the Lift the Ban petition here and watch the brilliant Lift the Ban campaign animation here.

The coalition now consists of over 240 members, including the CBI, the Adam Smith Institute, the TUC, Unison, Ben & Jerry’s and the Church of England, all working to Lift The Ban and gain the right to work for people who are seeking asylum.


What is the Lift the Ban campaign?

People seeking asylum across the UK are currently prevented from working and are forced to live on just £5.66 per day while the Government processes their claim for asylum, a process which often takes years. Unable to provide for themselves and their families, people seeking sanctuary in our country often fall into desperate poverty and depression as a result of this unfair law.

Lifting the ban could benefit the UK economy by £97.8 million or more per year.

Refugee Action has commissioned research which shows that the benefit to the UK economy of allowing asylum seekers to work would be staggering.

71% of the public agree that people seeking asylum should be allowed to work.

Their research also shows a massive amount of public backing for this campaign – 71% is an incredible amount of support and shows just how out of touch the Government is on this issue.

Find out more about the National campaign at  and read the recent report published in summer 2020 at

You can sign the Lift the Ban petition here.

All that is required is a simple rule change which could be signed off in a moment by the Home Secretary!

What is Hastings Community of Sanctuary doing?

    • We are campaigning on this issue both nationally and locally. In 2018 and 2019, we attended the national annual meetings of the coalition, where we discussed ideas and plans for lobbying our MPs, and gaining support from the public: as representatives from an active campaign, we were also invited to participate in an explanatory Lift the Ban film, and to present a  case study illustrating ways of lobbying councils for their support.
    • We have been keeping the message ‘live’ with posters around the town, petitions, and media articles constantly appearing in the local press.
    • In April 2019 The Hastings & Rye Constituency Labour Party (CLP) passed a motion supporting the Lift the Ban campaign, and calling on Hastings Borough Council to adopt it. You can read the full motion here. On 24th July 2019, a motion was passed by the Hastings Borough Council to support Lift the Ban, and then on 15th October 2019,  East Sussex County Council voted unanimously to support the right to work for people seeking asylum.
    • We hosted a Day of Action on 15th June 2019 to raise the profile of the campaign. See our events section for full details.
    • We made a presentation about our campaign at the City of Sanctuary South East Regional Gathering, held in Hastings on 26th October, 2019, where Lift the Ban was a main theme.
    • We have collected at least 758 signatures for the Lift the Ban petition, now standing at over 157,000 signatures, soon to be presented in Parliament (October 2020).
    • We have been keeping in touch with our MP, both Amber Rudd while she was our MP, and now with new MP Sally-Ann Hart, whom we recently met to discuss this issue in October 2020.
    • For ongoing updates, see our News section.

If you would like to get involved locally with this campaign, please email us [email protected]

You can sign the petition here

Our #LiftTheBan Posts

Lift the Ban in Hastings, Westminster, and beyond; November 2020 Update

New Report By Asylum Matters Reveals Poverty, Exclusion And Hardship

Lift the Ban: Petition to Parliament 170,000 and counting!

#LiftTheBan: Why Giving People Seeking Asylum The Right To Work Is Common Sense

#LiftTheBan: Testimonies Of People Seeking Asylum

#LiftTheBan: Interview With A Health Worker Who Is Seeking Asylum

#LiftTheBan: A Poem By The Right To Work Group

#LiftTheBan: Compelling Arguments From The House Of Lords

Hastings Community of Sanctuary at the Lift the Ban Coalition Gathering, March 2020

South-East Gathering 2019

East Sussex County Council Support Right to Work for People Seeking Asylum

Hastings & Rye Labour Party Vote to Lift The Ban

Community of Sanctuary in the news!