Suppose that a young post-grad from the US seeks asylum in the UK and that at least for the short run, they allow his claim to start processing. He's not the typical claimant - he has a masters degree, work experience, and student loans. As a data analyst, there are a variety of remote jobs he can work for employers in the US while being physically protected in the UK.

The question: Can he legally work such a job with or without permission? What are the options, otherwise?

Please keep in mind, this is not a question about the legitimacy of the person's asylum claim. The assumption should be made that the claim is legitimate and is only in processing.

  • 1
    I don't see anything that would grant any ground to grant asylum: how does the USA as an entity hunt and harass the victim?
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 14:29
  • @Trish You misinterpret asylum law. The country a person is fleeing from need only be unable or unwilling to prosecute the offenders.
    – kleinerde
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 15:05
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    Ok, that was worded a little pointed, but how does the US count as a place that one need to get asylum from? In fact, no place in the US would satisfy §3 AsylG for germany.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 15:10
  • @Trish Germany is part of the EU so it would follow EU law. It would not satisfy for Germany only because there are how many countries in between the US and Germany that are closer viable options to seek asylum in?
    – kleinerde
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 15:22
  • 1
    That's irrelevant becasuse your proposed hypothetical doesn't satisfy any asylum reason (a described). If said Fleeing person on the other hand was hunted by all Americans for being a blue-skinned Red-eyed Chiss (as a hypothetical Race), they might satisfy AsylG §3 enumerating reasons to grant Asylum, but in general the USA are a safe country.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


It's not a matter of funding, it's a matter of eligibility for asylum in the UK which appears to be highly unlikely according to reports where 45 recent applications from US citizens were rejected.1

One option is to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa for one of the eligible occupations.

The Skilled Worker route enables you to live and work in the UK for up to five years. You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, a form of settled status, after you have lived in the UK for five years under the Skilled Worker Visa. Source

As for "Can he legally work such a job with or without permission?", working in the UK without "leave to remain" (i.e. permission) is an offence contrary to section 24B of the Immigration Act 1971

1That said, if the UK and USA governments did come to an arrangement whereby "at least for the short run, they allow his claim to start in the UK" it is impossible to foretell the future and say with any degree of certainty what conditions, requirements, liabilities and demands each side would impose.

  • Yes, but the question is whether funding from a US source for US-based work would be allowed while the person waits for interview, which could take more than year. I would think there would be exception, considering otherwise the person would be asking for UK support out of the gov's pocket.
    – kleinerde
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:11
  • 2
    @kleinerde The answer is clearly "No, without work permit/Skilled Worker Visa, you may not work, as that would be an offence."
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 17:11
  • 1
    @kleinerde As for "Can he legally work such a job with or without permission?", working in the UK without "leave to remain" (i.e. permission) is an offence contrary to section 24B of the Immigration Act 1971
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 22:27
  • 4
    @kleinerde please keep things civil. If you don't find a comment helpful then don't upvote it. If a comment is causing a problem then you can flag it, but leave confrontational correction of others' behavior to moderators.
    – feetwet
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 23:35

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the “Convention”) and it’s protocol entitled “Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees” are treaties that explicitly govern international law in these regards.

While the U.S. is not a party to the Convention, the manifest treaty on human rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) or the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the UK is, and it is without reservations.

Article 33 provides an individual right arising out of international law titled “prohibition of expulsion or return (“refoulement”)”; the following:

  1. No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

Case law by the ECtHR and/or the ECJ provided on many occasion that not providing either alimentation, shelter and health care or a right to earn these compelling one to withdraw their application or leave a party state to the Covenant and its Protocol, accounts refoulement.

Although, an applicant for asylum may not have met their burden of proof; however, the timely processing is a duty imposed on the party states. For the above reason, you should be able to obtain a temporary work permit or else, be provided the necessities of life, and since the UK by Brexit did not leave these treaties, the case law of, at least the ECtHR will be binding today, I would presume that to a not-so -outrageously-violative extent the UK is complying with these duties.

Accordingly, there must be administrative rules in place for this, and you should be able to apply with the government for a work permit. Once you have that, I see no reason as to why one could not be a remote contractor of a U.S. entity that would pay a sole proprietorship or other individual company of one’s in the UK.

Someone with more hands on knowledge on the specific asylum rules should be able to point one in the right direction.

In the unlikely case that the executive branch and its agencies of the UK would disregard its international law duties, one could probably have a good case for a lawsuit, worst case scenario with an international court; although this typically doesn’t resolve the instant problem, merely helps setting things straight for future reference unless a class action.

The rule you mention about “countries between the U.S. and Germany” there is no such international law rule. The EU did implement something similar effectively suggesting that one filing for asylum in a Member State files for asylum in the EU, and it assumed jurisdiction to overrule the individual Member States obligations under international law to process an asylum application regardless of the EU’s “safe country” rule.

This is a fertile area for a fat lawsuit against the EU.

Notwithstanding the above rule, if one flies over a number of Member States (especially with a plane under the flag of a non-EU country) the entry point into the EU will be where one first sets foot. Hungary was trying to label non-EU countries safe countries for the purpose of refoulering asylum seekers into, for e.g., Serbia, it didn’t fly. The ECtHR, in multiple decisions, ordered Hungary to cease its systemic refoulerment of refugees.

Hungary is also an interesting breed from the perspective of a U.S. asylum seeker during President Biden is in place; Hungary has a history of denying and approving asylum applications merely on the basis of its dictator’s interest (approved cases include a North Macedonian or Albanian prime minister who was escorted out of his country by the Hungarian Secret Service only to be granted asylum the first day or week by the minister for the interior). The dictator would never grant asylum to those actually persecuted in the U.S., but for example Trump and his accomplices would be granted refugee status similarly to other international criminals. It is not outside of the realm of possibilities that a mere supporter could also be favored, and granted asylum, but it is unlikely.

Others from the U.S., regardless of merit, unless a really high-profile case is represented by a top-notch law firm or rather an international NGO, would be thrown out of court in fear of political repercussions.

The political reality of a grant in any other EU country is even less likely especially now that the renitent Eastern block is heavily reliant on U.S. and NATO support in light of Russian threats of war, Western Member States would give even less consideration other than in case of racial discrimination of, for e.g., an African-American.

Additionally, even the U.S. in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which recognizes a cumulative 180-day exception for violations of work authorization effectively not rendering an “alien” lacking an employment authorization document while working no more than a total of 180 days (and not necessarily consecutive days).

  • You can downvote it as much as you’d like, any half decent points are in the comments of the answer.
    – kisspuska
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 1:40

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