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Continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution

Last updated 3 weeks ago

We will continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.23

Our verdict

  • This is a promise that the UK will continue to offer asylum and support to people fleeing persecution.
  • In December 2020, the government made changes to its immigration rules which mean asylum claims from anyone who has travelled through or has a connection with a safe third country will be inadmissible.  The May 2021 Queen’s speech saw the government lay out plans to legislate for its New Plan for Immigration, a policy the United Nations has suggested misinterprets international law and which no European country has supported. Two open letters, one from academics and another from human rights, legal and faith groups have challenged the legality and morality of the proposals.  In April 2021, a report from the Refugee Council found the government was failing to provide support and services to ensure asylum seekers “can live safely and in dignity”. In May 2021, a High Court ruling found the government had unlawfully detained asylum seekers in accommodation that did not “ensure a standard of living adequate” for their health. In July 2021, the government introduced its Nationality and Borders Bill, with which it plans to overhaul the asylum system. The Law Society roundly condemned the legislation as potentially breaching UN Refugee Convention obligations, and leading charities have denounced the bill, dubbing it the “anti-refugee bill”.
  • Covid-19 created new concerns around the fate of refugees and asylum seekers, but the UK government has changed its rules on immigration to make it harder for people to seek asylum, and been found to have acted unlawfully in its treatment of asylum seekers. Leading academics have objected to government plans, and charities and other organisations have said the government already punishes refugees and the new plans are “cruel, unjust and deadly”. Many informed observers believe the new Nationality and Borders Bill only consolidates the government’s broadly unwelcoming approach to refugees and asylum seekers. These developments move the government further away from its promise to “continue to grant asylum and support to refugees”, so this policy is ‘broken’.

There's always room for debate

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