A comparison of rights to work and financial allowances for asylum seekers in France and UK

Is it legal for me to work, as an asylum seeker?

FRANCE 

Not for the first twelve months. Asylum seekers are not permitted to work and it is illegal to do so. Being found to be working illegally can lead to being detained.

 

If after six months, you have not received a definitive answer from the French state about your asylum application, you are permitted to work.  

 

However, accessing employment under these circumstances is difficult. Ask for advice to the Collectif de soutien des exiles du 10ème arrondissement de Paris. (source- French Refugee Council)

 

However, there are certain professions, on the shortage occupation list, where asylum seekers can legally work. These include computer scientists, or construction site managers. The needs lists vary depending on which region you are in. The full updated list can be found here: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000017937372 

UNITED KINGDOM 

 

No. Asylum seekers are not permitted to work and it is illegal to do so. Being found to be working illegally can lead to being detained. 

 

However, there are certain professions, on the shortage occupation list, where asylum seekers can legally work. These include nurses, contemporary and ballet dancers, and geophysicists.  

Can I work if I get refugee status?

FRANCE 

Yes. You have the right to work in France with refugee status.  

UNITED KINGDOM 

Yes. You have the same rights to work as UK nationals.

What financial help will I receive as an asylum seeker?

FRANCE 

The amount varies depending on whether you are provided a place in the state accommodation centres or not. You are not guaranteed this provision.  

 

If you are in an accommodation centre, you will receive, 6,80€ per day. 

 

If you are not in an accommodation centre, and therefore expected to pay for accommodation yourself, you will receive 14,20€ per day. It is difficult to say that the additional 7,40€ is enough to allow you to pay for stable accommodation in the private sector, and many asylum seekers live in destitution. (source- Asylum in Europe).

UNITED KINGDOM 

All asylum seekers on their first claim are entitled to £37.75 a week. This type of financial support is called a Section 96. It will normally be provided on a debit card (called an Aspen card) where you withdraw from certain cash machines. Asylum Seekers must sign on at the post office normally once a month. You will be informed if this changes. 

 

If asylum seekers get their first claim rejected, they must change their type of financial support. This type is called a Section 4, where they will receive £35.39 on a card to be spent on certain goods in certain shops. Asylum seekers on their second claim/awaiting a fresh claim will still be accommodated.

This page is run by the UK registered charity, Refugee Info Bus - for more info on our work, check out our website. 

PO BOX:  Po Box 28652, Edinburgh, EH4 9EX

Registered UK Charity Number: 1168538

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