Asylum Seekers’ Right to Work: Navigating Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971

The UK Home Office’s creation of the Legacy Cleansing Team within the Asylum Legacy Casework unit has prompted concerns regarding the limitations placed on the right to work for asylum seekers. By issuing Notice to Report and imposing restrictions on employment, including those who claimed asylum while holding a valid visa in the UK, the Home Office’s actions have raised questions about fairness and the impact on the well-being of vulnerable individuals awaiting their substantive interview.

The Home Office’s decision to restrict the right to work for individuals on immigration bail can have profound consequences on their lives and well-being. Denying asylum seekers, the ability to work not only compromises their dignity but also hampers their self-sufficiency and integration into society.

Asylum seekers who have claimed asylum after entering the UK with a valid visa often face uncertainty regarding their right to work. In such cases, Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 becomes particularly relevant. This provision plays a crucial role in maintaining the lawful immigration status of individuals while their asylum applications are being processed. In this article, I will explore the implications of Section 3C and shed light on the right to work for asylum seekers who claimed asylum after entering the UK with a valid visa.

Understanding Section 3C

Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 is designed to prevent individuals from becoming overstayers while their immigration applications or appeals are pending. It automatically extends their existing immigration status if their leave to remain expires while they have an outstanding application for further leave to remain, including asylum claims.

Right to Work for Asylum Seekers

It’s important to note that Section 3C does not grant an automatic right to work for asylum seekers. The right to work is determined by other provisions within the immigration law, such as the Immigration Rules and the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2007.
When an asylum seeker lodges a claim after entering the UK with a valid visa, their right to work is usually governed by the conditions attached to their original visa. If they had the right to work under their previous visa, that right generally continues under Section 3C leave. However, individual circumstances and the type of application made may introduce exceptions and specific conditions.

Challenges and Considerations

While Section 3C allows asylum seekers to maintain their lawful immigration status, they might face challenges when it comes to exercising their right to work. Employers may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of Section 3C and may have concerns about hiring individuals in this situation. This lack of understanding can create hurdles for asylum seekers seeking employment.

It’s crucial for asylum seekers to educate themselves about their rights and provide clear and accurate information to potential employers. Consulting with legal professionals or support organisations specialising in immigration and asylum can be invaluable in navigating these complexities and ensuring their rights are protected.

Moving Forward

Once a decision is made on an asylum application, the individual’s immigration status and right to work will be determined accordingly. If the application is successful, the individual may be granted refugee status or some other form of leave to remain, which could provide them with enhanced work rights. If the application is unsuccessful, they may need to explore other legal avenues or consider returning to their country of origin.


Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 plays a crucial role in allowing asylum seekers who claimed asylum after entering the UK with a valid visa to maintain their lawful immigration status. While Section 3C does not automatically grant the right to work, it ensures individuals do not become overstayers while awaiting a decision on their asylum applications. Asylum seekers should proactively seek legal advice and rely on support organisations to navigate the complexities of their immigration status and exercise their right to work in the UK.

If you require legal support with any matter in relation to your right to work or settling in the UK, don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, visit our immigration lawyers page to learn more about the support we can provide.

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