Refugees are permitted to work without restrictions.

Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers are not generally permitted to work.

After six months of their claim pending with the Home Office, asylum seekers can apply for removal of their work restrictions. You should ask your legal representative to do this for you.

If you are granted permission to work, you will only be permitted to work within the Shortage Occupation List.

Considerations for Asylum Seekers

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and Converting Qualifications

The Shortage Occupation List is a list of jobs which have a shortage of people in the UK working in them. It includes quite specialised professions, such as doctors and other healthcare workers, teachers of certain subjects, scientists, engineers, and more.

You may have worked in one of these professions in your home country. If you’d like to work in one of these jobs, you will generally need to provide evidence of your qualifications and experience. To do that, you would need to get a Statement of Comparability. You might also need to get certified translations of your qualifications documents. The UK ENIC FAQ page contains some helpful information about this. If you are a newly-recognised refugee, you can get help with this from North East RISE.

How Working Could Affect Your Asylum Support

If you begin working, you are required to tell the Home Office. For help with this, you can contact Migrant Help. Their email address for Change of Circumstances is

The Home Office will then look at the amount of money you earn in your work and adjust your support. If you earn enough, they might stop your support altogether. It is important to tell the Home Office if you begin working; failure to do so could have negative consequences, because you would be considered to be breaking immigration laws.

Proving Your Right to Work to Your Employer

It is your employer’s responsibility to confirm your right to work. However, it is your responsibility to ensure you are complying with the conditions of your permission to stay in the UK. See the information above—How Working Could Affect Your Asylum Support—for more details about this.

To prove your permission to work to your employer, you should only need to provide a copy of your ARC card showing your permission to work. If you have not received your new ARC card yet, you will need to request a new one. More information about ARC cards and how to resolve issues with them can be found here.