The Lift the Ban coalition gathering 2022 was a day to celebrate how far the campaign has come and plan the next steps towards lifting the ban on working for people seeking asylum.

STAR is part of the Lift the Ban coalition along with over 200 organisations, campaigning for the right to work for people seeking asylum in the UK. People seeking asylum are banned from working while they wait months and often years for a decision on their asylum claim.

The gathering brought together over 100 Lift the Ban campaigners from all over the UK.

It was an amazing day, packed with lots of energy, enthusiasm and incredible ideas and the common goal of lifting the ban to ensure people seeking asylum have the right to work.

The day was kickstarted by Mariam Kemple Hardy (Refugee Action) and Paul Hook (Asylum Matters) with an exciting review of the campaign’s activities, its achievements and its successes. After a tough few years of campaigning, it was uplifting to hear how much the campaign has achieved – including support from key Tory MPs and an incredible 81% of the public.

We then heard from coalition partners on mobilising at a local level. Speakers from MIN Voices and the PPR Project both gave empowering talks filled with tips for local campaigners.

The key takeaways? Try to show the human impact of the ban on working while seeking asylum, work with local media outlets to share real stories, and don’t give up if it takes some time to get your voice heard!


After lunch, we heard from a panel of speakers on the current political context and the opportunities to lift the ban. The panel included Laura Taylor (Director of RAMP), Minnie Rahman (ex-JCWI and Caroline Lucas MP staffer) and Emily Field (Adams Smith Institute). While the current political context is challenging, we still have hope that we can achieve the goal of lifting the ban on working for people seeking asylum.

We rounded off the day with the exciting news that the Lift the Ban campaign has launched a new High Street Challenge to help you get your local businesses on board.! Business backing for the right to work is strong and this has been an important part of the campaign from the very outset. We want to ensure local businesses know about the campaign and can give their support by becoming a Lift the Ban business ally.

Take a look at the High Street Challenge Handbook to help you get started; along with posters, flyers and template letters. You can view and download them all at – or get in touch with the STAR team if you’d like some hard copies.

Get more ideas for how to support the campaign in the Lift the Ban local activism pack. As well as taking part in the High Street Challenge, your STAR group can support the campaign by organising events to raise awareness of the issue, engaging with your MP to persuade them to stand up for the right to work, and publicising your activities in the local media. You can also spread the word on campus using the Lift the Ban stickers sent out to all STAR groups at the start of the year. Sticker actions can be a great way to raise awareness – encourage your group to wear their Lift the Ban stickers and give them out at your events.

If you’re in a STAR group and would like to find out more about how to support the Lift the Ban campaign, contact Siobhan, Campaigns and Communications Manager.

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