As expected, today’s Queen’s Speech confirmed that there will be another bill on immigration and asylum. This will be the fourth piece of legislation the Blair government has introduced since coming to power.
The speech stated that “further legislation will be introduced to tighten the immigration and asylum system in a way that is fair, flexible, and in the economic interests of the country.”
In addition, the speech confirmed that “legislation will be taken forward to introduce an identity cards scheme,” which may have implications for the asylum process.”
The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, today said “We’ve made significant progress in transforming our immigration system, and intend to do even more through our five year plan to make sure that immigration works for Britain – that we have strong borders but allow migrants to come here when that benefits our economy.”
In a statement issued by the Refugee Council, the organisation expressed concern that successive policy changes had not addressed the need to reform the asylum system and in particular, improve the quality of decision-making on asylum claims. The Refugee Council called for genuine reform – which could include establishing an independent, non-political decision-making body and allowing asylum seekers the right to work.