Published on 2 April 2024

On Tuesday 26th March, I attended a Community Study Day at Sheffield University run by the Migration Research Group and Lift the Ban Coalition. It was an interesting, emotional, heart breaking and ultimately inspiring day which really helped me to understand how the ban on people seeking asylum came about, and the importance of language when it comes to putting forward reasons to lift it.

Out & About: Sheffield Community Study Day

The day started with listening to three people with lived experience of seeking asylum in the UK, and being stuck in a hostile system which does not allow them to work. “Look at me. What do you see? A human being or an asylum seeker?” Kurdish journalist Aso Mohammadi’s words powerfully brought home how language is used by the media to de-humanise people. And it dehumanises everybody, by not allowing empathy in.

Lucy Mayblin, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, then gave us an overview of how and why the government has resorted to banning work for those seeking asylum. One interesting term was the imagined “pull factor”, which leads “the public” to believe that work and “stealing our jobs” is the reason that people come here. There is no evidence to support this belief.

We also got to hear from Jim, a local business owner who supports lifting the ban and wants to spread the word amongst other employers that there is a pool of talented, skilled and enthusiastic people here who are ready and waiting to work and earn enough money to start living full lives, rather than barely surviving on £47 per week.

An extremely powerful day.

Click for more information about Sheffield Lift the Ban

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