I have received several emails from constituents on this important subject.
The UK has a proud history of providing a place of safety for refugees. Each claim for asylum is carefully considered and where it is found that individuals are in need of protection, asylum is given, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so.
As you note, people seeking asylum are able to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, if the outcome of their claim has not been decided after 12 months through no fault of their own. This policy aims to balance providing help to asylum seekers with the needs of our society as a whole, prioritising jobs for British citizens and those with leave to remain here, including refugees.
In terms of legal aid for people seeking asylum, support is available from registered immigration advisers that are regulated by The Office of Immigration Services Commissioner. Information about finding an immigration adviser can be found here.
It must also be noted that fully furnished and equipped accommodation is provided to asylum seekers with no utility bills or Council Tax to pay, and access to healthcare and schooling is free. In addition, asylum seekers are able to receive a cash allowance of £37.75 per week to pay for essentials.
More information on asylum support can be found here.