Commenting on the publication of the new Immigration and Asylum Bill, the Chief Executive of the Refugee Council Maeve Sherlock said:
“We are critical of this bill not so much for what it contains, but for what it leaves out. Compared with recent legislation, this bill isn’t stuffed full of measures to clampdown on asylum seekers, and that is welcome. But it doesn’t really address the fundamental problems of the asylum process.
It is a shame that the plan to leave refugees living in limbo for five years before giving them the right to settle in Britain has been included. This measure contradicts other helpful steps – such as the extension of integration loans – which assist refugees in building new lives in this country.
By allowing local authorities to provide so-called Section 4 support the government has taken a helpful and sensible step to ensure that fewer failed asylum seekers find themselves forced into destitution. But we are disappointed that the bill contains no measures to allow asylum seekers to work and support themselves while they are going through the asylum process
More broadly , we are concerned that some of the measures to clampdown on illegal immigration will make it even more difficult for people fleeing persecution to find safety in the UK. We call on the government to ensure that there are safeguards in place so that the new tougher border controls do not result in refugees, many in fear of lives, being refused entry or being stopped from travelling in the first place. “
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