GLASGOW'S refugee community has added its voice to a growing campaign to overturn a rule stopping asylum seekers and refugees from working.

For the past two years a coalition of UK charities has been working to reverse the Government ban.

Yesterday, as a 180,000-signature petition was handed in at the Home Officer in London, a Glasgow charity held a simultaneous protest here.

Members of Maryhill Integration Network gathered at Glasgow City Chambers to show their support.

Pinar Aksu, Development Officer, said: "The aim of today was to say that not being able to work affects everyone across the country, whether they are in London or Glasgow or elsewhere.

"We gathered with a small number of our members who have been seeking asylum for a long time - as much as nine years.

"We work with a lot of professions - accountants, teachers, people who work in social care, people with different experiences and skills.

"And they want to work because no one wants to rely on the support the Home Office provides.

"People want to support themselves and contribute, pay taxes and play a full role in their community.

"We are hoping with the Lift The Ban campaign that politicians listen to their voices."

Glasgow Times:

In the UK people seeking refugee status are given £5.66 a day to live on.

The charity Refugee Action estimates refugees could add £97.8 million to the UK ecomony each year if they were allowed to work.

Pinar added: "Something a lot of people say is that their children will ask them, 'Why do you not have a job?'

"That always really touches me every time I hear this.

Glasgow Times:

"There is a need in Scotland and the UK for workers, especially essential workers, yet we are telling a portion of the community they cannot work.

"It does not make sense.

"Instead of giving people asylum support, they would be working and contributing taxes and supporting themselves."

Maryhill Integration Network, which has worked in the north of Glasgow for the past 20 years, is one of around 240 charities forming the Lift the Ban coalition.

It has previously held events, such as one last year at the City Chambers with politicians and organisations, to publicise this issue of inequality.

Pinar added: "What Covid-19 has prompted is a wide discussion about people's mental health and how hard it was to cope during lockdown.

Glasgow Times:

"We have people who have been in a form of lockdown for years: they can't earn money, they are limited in the places they can go.

"Covid-19 had a negative mental health affect on people and caused people to struggle because they had to stay at home.

"Imagine if you had been living like that for years."