A peer who fled the Nazis on the Kindertransport has urged restrictions on asylum seekers’ right to work should be relaxed.
Lord Dubs, who has long been a campaigner for refugees and asylum seekers, spearheaded the call for easing of the rules, claiming it would help integration, give people dignity, save the taxpayer cash and avoid the threat of exploitation.
The proposal came as the House of Lords continued its scrutiny of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which has already cleared the Commons. The proposed legislation will end free movement following Britain’s departure form the EU and deliver a points-based immigration system.
Lord Dubs, who fled the Nazis as a child on the Kindertransport, argued it was a “matter of integrity” that people should be allowed to work.
He said: “We want people in this country to have a sense of their worth and to have self-respect, because to deny that to our fellow human beings is pretty appalling.
“It’s a matter of integrity that people should be allowed to work. It’s a matter of being a way out of poverty.
“Public opinion is overwhelmingly in support of having people here who do work rather than eke their existence out on virtually no benefits and even if they were on larger benefits, public opinion would still support their right to work.
He added: “Talk to any asylum seeker, anybody here, and they will say what they want to do is to contribute to this country and to our society.”
Other peers who called for a relaxation of the rules included the Liberal Democrat’s Baroness Hamwee, independent crossbencher Baroness Meacher, Lib Dem politician Baroness Ludford, Tory peer Lord Randall and opposition spokesperson Lord Rosser.