An SNP councillor and former refugee has issued fresh support for her party's calls to give asylum seekers the right to work in the UK.

Allowing asylum seekers the same economic rights as refugees has been an ongoing campaign issue for the Scottish Government, which has pushed the UK government on the devolved matter.

Roza Salih, who came to Glasgow from Kurdistan and was one of the famous Glasgow Girls, has long been a vocal supporter of the move.

In today's Herald she repeats her backing for the Lift the Ban Campaign - a pressure group of campaigners, charities and third sector organisations fighting to change the law.

Roza, whose family fled persecution and whose grandfather and three uncles were killed opposing Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, writes in our paper today: "In Germany and Scandinavia, asylum seekers have been granted the right to work while their applications have been processed as well.

READ ROZA SALIH'S COLUMN: Roza Salih: Immigrants like me can help strengthen the Scotland I love

"This is a policy which has been backed by the SNP but we do not yet have the power here in Scotland to fully roll it out.

At the moment, here in the UK, highly skilled people wait for years for their applications for asylum to be processed.

"If we allowed people to work as they were being assessed, it could add at least £30 million to Scotland’s economy on annual basis. It could also help cut the hotel bills the Tories are hellbent on paying."

Ms Salih says she has long been a vocal advocate on the issue, particularly in the care sector, which is struggling to find sufficient numbers of staff.

Asylum seekers have limited rights to work: they must wait 12 months before being able to apply for permission to work from the Home Office and, if permission is granted permission, they are restricted to roles on the Shortage Occupation List.

She adds: "Care work – looking after our elderly and other vulnerable people – is currently listed on the ‘shortage occupation list’.

"Only those asylum seekers who have lived here for a year minimum can apply for such jobs.

"Imagine if this could apply to every job vacancy – asylum seekers and minorities could give back, occupy difficult to fill vacancies, and regain a sense of self-worth."

Analysis used by the Scottish Government suggests that granting the right to work to people seeking asylum in Scotland would add £30 million per year on average to the Scottish economy if granted immediately on arrival, or £16m per year if granted after a six-month waiting period.