The Nationality and Borders Bill 

In July 2021, the government published its plans for overhauling the asylum system in the UK. Like refugee organisations up and down the country, Asylum Welcome recognises that this anti-refugee bill will undermine refugee protection in Britain and destroy our reputation as a hospitable nation.

Before the Bill entered Parliament, the government held a consultation process on the New Plan for Immigration, which we contributed to, along with numerous other refugee support organisations. Although 75 per cent of respondents expressed opposition to the government’s plans, there is no evidence that any recommendations were implemented.

The new Nationality and Borders Bill was then debated in Parliament on the 19th and 20th July. It passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 366 votes to 265. It will enter the next stage – the committee stage – in the autumn.

For more information, please watch the video we created in anticipation of the Second Reading below…

There are many aspects of this proposed legislation that violate both the rights of refugees and our legal duty to protect them. Under the proposed two-tier system, any person who enters the UK “illegally” [note: the act of seeking asylum is legal under international law] will not be eligible for full refugee status or family reunification.

They will be held in specially prepared accommodation centres like Napier Barracks, which may be offshore. If possible, they will be ‘returned’ to a third country, which they might have no connection to, through international agreements which do not yet exist. Those who cannot be removed will be granted ‘temporary protection status’, which must be renewed every 30 months.

In short, thousands of men, woman and children who are currently recognised as refugees would no longer be given safety in the UK due to their means of arrival.  As we explain in more detail in our Have Heart, Take Heart campaign, UNHCR have made it clear that the proposed legislation violates the terms of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

To read our full response to the Nationality and Borders Bill please click here.

As the anti-refugee Bill passes through Parliament, it will be vital to show MPs that the people of Oxfordshire do not wish to make the lives of asylum seekers any harder than they already are. Even if you have written before, please take action and write to your MP to let them know that their constituents care. You may wish to follow this advice for writing to your MP, or email advocacy@asylum-welcome.org if you would like further assistance.

Write to your MP to tell them you oppose the anti-refugee Bill