"THEY have the notion that asylum seekers come her just for financial benefit, just to take. I want them to see things in perspective. If we are only here for benefits, why do we want to go to work and why would we choose this hostile system? The waiting time can be two, three, ten years. Why would we do that?

"If it was really for benefits, people wouldn't choose the UK. I want the British and the Scottish people to know that. We are here for protection and we are trying to integrate and contribute."

These are the words of A – young, smart, educated and an asylum seeker. She spent the first long months of her time in Scotland in a Glasgow hotel after being transferred from England.

She's from Nigeria and, after being inspired by the efforts of healthcare staff during the pandemic, she dearly wants to work as a nurse.

But A can't do that. In fact, she can't use her business degree either. She is currently barred from holding a job – any job – in the UK because she is an asylum seeker.

So gaining the right to work has become her job, her mission. She's asked The National not to publish her name due to issues around her asylum case but tomorrow she will meet MPs in Westminster to ask them to back the Private Members' bill brought by Glasgow North West MP Carol Monaghan.

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It proposes that asylum seekers should be granted permission to work six months after lodging an asylum claim, instead of the current one-year wait, and calls for the removal of the current curbs on the types of work they can pursue. The second reading of her Asylum Seekers (Permission to Work) Bill is scheduled for Friday.

A is part of the Lift the Ban campaign run by MIN Voices, part of the Maryhill Integration Network (MIN). They've already taken their campaign to MSPs and will meet both MPs and peers tomorrow.

Pinar Aksu of MIN said: "Many of our members who are currently in the asylum process are not able to practise their skills and contribute to the economy. People are forced to live in poverty. At this event we are hoping for MPs to listen and directly hear the impact of not being able to work. We hope voices of the people will be heard at such difficult times, especially with the current anti-refugee bill being proposed in the parliament.

"We hope MPs will be able to hear people's voices, vote in favour of Carol Monaghan's Private Member's Bill and support the Lift the Ban coalition."

Sri Lankan dad B, who is also taking part, took refuge in the UK after suffering political persecution in his home country. He has extensive experience in construction in a technically skilled job that once paid him well.

For now, he can't earn and is struggling badly with his mental health while trying to make ends meet with his meagre Home Office allowance, as is A.

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With a wife and daughter at home, he feels intense pressure to provide for his family and to make sense of it all: "My daughter asks me why I don't go to work. That hurts me. She needs some toys but I can't buy them. I just sit in the house, doing nothing.

"When I spoke to the MSPs they told me there's lots of work in construction and the UK Government is wasting my skills. They said they would make noise in Westminster.

"We come only for our human rights. Lots of people here are the same as me, without work and struggling. I need to help them, that's why I am working with MIN."