At Ben & Jerry’s UK, we believe in peace, love and Fairtrade ice cream. When we look at the way that refugees and people seeking asylum are treated, we think there’s room for more of all three.
A hostile environment
For the past few years, our government here in the UK has publicly pursued a ‘hostile environment’ policy, designed to deter people seeking asylum and other migrants from coming to the UK. This includes making it difficult to access healthcare or accommodation, driving billboard vans around telling people to “go home”, and banning people from working while they wait for a decision on their asylum claim.
Waiting isn’t working
Banning people from working makes no sense. Asylum seekers are people that have fled war and violence and have come to the UK to try and rebuild their lives in safety. Inefficiencies in the asylum system means that people can end up waiting many months or years – nearly half of all asylum applicants wait more than six months to be granted refugee status. For all that time they aren’t able to provide for themselves or their families; they’re isolated and unable to integrate. There are long term consequences on people’s mental and physical health. Meanwhile, we’re missing out on all the skills and value that people bring. Waiting isn’t working.
Let’s change the rules!
It would be really easy to change the rules, and it would bring us into line with the rest of Europe. If people could start working six months after they make their claim, it would allow them to start rebuilding their lives sooner.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Refugee Action as part of the Lift The Ban coalition to ask our government to change the rules and make life a little sweeter for people who have fled war and violence.
Join the campaign here now and let our government know that waiting isn’t working!