New Plan for Immigration 2021
On 24th March 2021, the Home Secretary made a statement to the House of Commons in which she introduced a paper called the New Plan for Immigration. This Plan will deeply affect the treatment of Asylum Seekers in the UK. Many aspects of the changes are worrying, and Asylum Welcome will be working with other organisations to make challenges to the plans. You can read her speech and the debate here. The paper can be read here.
There is now a consultation on the paper which closes at 11.45pm on 6th May. It is expected that legislation will be announced in the Queen’s speech on 11th May and brought before Parliament later this year. Some of the changes proposed will require primary legislation and some can be introduced within existing powers. No timetable is given in the plan as announced.
See our Position Paper on this Plan here.
Hear our Director and a client talk about the impact of this Plan on Radio Oxford here at 8.18am.
Please write to your MP about your concerns. Here is some guidance on how best to do this: WRITING TO YOUR MP ABOUT THE NEW PLAN FOR IMMIGRATION
If you wish to put your comments into the consultation, please see our guide here. You can submit your response here. Answers must be submitted by 11.45pm on Thursday 6th May. Please note that we do not consider this consultation to be fit for purpose and will be raising our concerns. You may wish to do so too when writing to your MP. We consider that it is essential that people also raise their voice outside of the consultation.
Our key concerns are:
• Creation of a two-tier system of immigration based on how Asylum Seekers come to the UK instead of the validity of their claim. Some commentators suggest it breaches the UN refugee convention requirement not to judge a claimant’s claim based on how they come to the country.
• A commitment to more ‘legal routes’ without outlining any targets on numbers to be resettled. Whilst we are delighted if more safer routes are created, we recognise that the 25,000 that Priti Patel mentions are a drop in the ocean of the 26m refugees in the world of whom 6.6m are Syrian (UNHCR).
• Those who come by ‘illegal routes’, even if their claims for asylum are accepted, will have insecure status with constant reviews (reassessed by the Home Office every 30 months), reduced rights to benefits and family reunion. Many have no choice but to use such ‘illegal routes’. This will increase their destitution and keep Asylum Seekers in a constant state of uncertainty and mental distress.
• Retaining the possibility of offshore detention centres.
• Changing the way asylum decisions are made and fast-tracking appeals, for certain categories of applicants, plus introducing faster removal procedures. Whilst we welcome speeding up decisions for asylum seekers in general, we are concerned by the presumption of no merit to the case of for those who come though ‘illegal routes’ and that the process suggested will not allow cases to be reviewed fully with timely access to legal representation.
• Replacing current arrangements for accommodation with reception centres in the south of England. Will this mean more situations like Napier Barracks? See what a resident says about his experience in Napier and his need to use an ‘illegal route’ to get to safety here.
You may also find helpful this assessment by Freedom from Torture
If you have any questions or want to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-24th March 2021, Priti Patel speech and the debate here.