UK Government has announced new plans for changes to the asylum system. Taken in their entirety the proposals represent an attack on the right to seek sanctuary in the UK and will do little to address the systemic, long-term failures of the system that cause such extreme hardship to people seeking sanctuary.
Brief Summary of the Proposals
- The creation of a three-tier system where people are granted different rights and status dependent on how they have entered the UK;
- Immigration rules that deem the claims of people who have entered the UK irregularly as ‘inadmissible’ will be put into legislation (they have been in force since 1st Jan) and the Home Office will make all attempts to return them to another ‘safe’ third country;
- Those who have arrived irregularly but are then recognised as refugees will be granted ‘temporary protection status’ (30 months with no recourse to public funds and limited family reunion rights);
- Refugees who are resettled to the UK through government resettlement schemes will have enhanced levels of protection (Indefinite leave to remain on arrival and enhanced family reunion rights);
- The introduction of reception centres to provide basic accommodation for people while their asylum claim is processed;
- Implement the provisions in the Immigration Act 2016, including removing Section 95 support from families who had been refused asylum as well as replacing Section 4 and restricting its access).
- For information on family reunion proposals see the statement from the Families Together
The consultation response below has been endorsed by the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network Steering Group (representatives from 7 local authorities), and not by the wider network. The reason being there was limited time given to respond to the consultation (six weeks, rather than usual twelve week period) which prevented the Steering Group from consulting with the wider network. Nevertheless the Steering Group is confident that Network would be broadly supportive of the concerns raised within the response, and in particular with regards to concerns about the impact on increased destitution.
Although the consultation ended on the 6th of May, the Queen’s Speech contained a number of the proposals set out in the ‘New Plan for Immigration’ Consultation. The legislation has previously been referred to as the ‘Sovereign Boarders Bill’ and if approved will create a differential treatment for sanctuary seekers depending on how they have arrived in the UK.
We recommend that the response is read in conjunction with the stakeholder questionnaire