Controversial New UK Asylum Policy Might Be Illegal

Read Time 3 mins Minutes

The New UK Asylum Policy

The Home Secretary, Ms Suella Braverman has proposed a new UK Asylum Policy this week, which has been controversial.

What is an Asylum seeker?

An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for protection because they are fleeing persecution – or the fear of persecution. Their lives maybe in danger or they have suffered from torture and / or degrading treatment.  These are all within the Human Rights laws that we in the UK support.

If the UK accepts that their life is in danger, then that person is given protection in the UK.  If the UK rejects their claim, then they are refused and can be removed from the UK.

What is an Illegal migrant?

An illegal migrant is someone who entered the UK illegally. In other words, without a visa or prior permission.  Or someone who entered legally but remained in the country after their visa expired. If they are fleeing from persecution do not have the time to obtain a visa or gather documents.  They will have very little time if they have escaped or are escaping from torture.

How can you claim Asylum?

You can only claim asylum in the UK once you arrive in the UK. You cannot apply for an Asylum visa or as some movies show run into the British Embassy and request protection.  The individual must make it to the UK and then let the Immigration authorities know that they are claiming asylum.  Many asylum seekers will not even know the word asylum but when asked why they are here? They will tell them their story of what has happened.

How Many Asylum Seekers are coming to the UK?

This may surprise you but the UK is not within the top 3 countries for asylum seekers. Germany ranks top of the list with over 140,000 asylum applications.  In comparison the UK has just below 60,000 applications based on 2021 figures.

In 2002 the UK had high numbers due to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. Numbers dropped dramatically by 2010.

The issue here is the crossing of the channel. In January 2019 less than 3,000 people were crossing and now in January 2022 over 45,000 are crossing.  Why such a dramatic change – Brexit?

What is the New UK Asylum Policy by the Home Secretary, Ms Suella Braverman?

According to the BBC:

  • People who are removed from the UK will be blocked from returning or seeking British citizenship in future.
  • Migrants will not get bail or be able to seek judicial review for the first 28 days of detention – surely that cannot be right if the detention is unlawful – that’s like serving time even if you are not guilty.
  • There will be a cap on the number of refugees the UK will settle through “safe and legal routes” – set annually by Parliament.
  • A duty on the home secretary to detain those arriving in the UK illegally and remove them to Rwanda or a “safe” third country – this will take legal precedence over someone’s right to claim asylum.
  • Under-18s, those medically unfit to fly, or those at risk of serious harm in the country they are being removed to will be able to delay removal.
  • Any other asylum claims will be heard remotely after removal – assuming the technology is available and works!
  • Under the new proposals, anyone found to have entered the country illegally will not only be removed from the UK within 28 days, but also be blocked from returning or claiming British citizenship in future.
  • Those who arrive in small boats would either be returned to their home country, or another “safe third country” like Rwanda.

The new Asylum policy proposal means that those fleeing persecution cannot get UK protection.

As stated above some just don’t have their documents or can apply for a passport or visa. Unlike how the procedure and systems offered under the Ukraine Visa Scheme.

Sending someone to Rwanda seems like to are putting our responsibility onto another country.

Some facts by the BBC

The BBC report on Asylum has many facts and figures here are some of the more surprising ones.

  • Only 4% of people who arrived in the UK in small boats in 2021 have had a decision.
  • People can’t work while their claim is being processed.
  • The vast majority of enforced returns were of foreign national offenders and almost half (49%) were EU nationals.
  • Of the top five nationalities forcibly returned, four European countries accounted for more than half:
  • Albania (25%)
  • Romania (19%)
  • Poland (8%)
  • Lithuania (7%)
  • Brazil (9%) was the only non-European nationality in the top five.

The backlog of applications still witing an initial decision is alarming.  We have around 170,000 people waiting for a decision.

Those needing protection should be given it, without waiting ages. Decisions need to be made sooner. All the while a file sits on a shelf gathering dust, peoples lives are affected. Not being able to work, not knowing your fate for years, is not good for anyone’s mental health.

If you or someone you know is facing UK visa issues or want advice on your options, contact our immigration specialists here.

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