To design the New Plan for Immigration, the government held a consultation process, which Asylum Welcome contributed to alongside numerous other refugee support organisations. Although 75% of respondents expressed opposition to the government’s intended plans, there is no evidence that any recommendations were implemented.
The Bill claims to ‘increase the fairness’ of the asylum system, to ‘deter illegal entry’ of migrants into the UK and to facilitate the removal of those with ‘no right to be in the UK’. It forms part of the post-Brexit turn to ‘Global Britain’, the push for ‘sovereignty’, and the narrative of ‘taking back control’.
There are many aspects of this plan and its proposed legislation that violate both the rights of refugees and the UK’s legal duty to protect them. These are outlined in greater detail on this page. However, some key aspects include:
- A proposed two-tier refugee classification system, under which any person who enters the UK “illegally” (‘group 2’ refugees) will not be eligible for full refugee status or family reunification rights (note: the act of seeking asylum is always legal under international law)
- The proposal of offshore locations for refugee processing
- The plan to ‘return’ refugees to the first ‘safe’ country they entered, which is both infeasible and puts refugees’ lives at additional risk
- The provision of ‘temporary protection status’ to ‘group 2’ refugees