Government Announces Five Year Plan for Asylum and Immigration - Refugee Council
February 7, 2005

Government Announces Five Year Plan for Asylum and Immigration

The government today outlined a number of measures relating to asylum and immigration to be implemented over the next five years. Included are plans to give those granted refugee status only temporary leave to remain for the first five years.

If after this time the government believes the situation has not improved in their country of origin they will be granted leave to stay indefinitely, otherwise they will be ‘expected to return’.

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

We would be very concerned if someone who has been accepted as a refugee has to live through five years of uncertainty until the UK Government confirms they can remain here permanently.

It seems particularly unfair on refugees who may have lost their whole families or suffered torture or, at worst, ethnic cleansing.

We know from all the opinion polls that the British public have a firm belief in fair play and want to help refugees fleeing torture and persecution. Our message to politicians of all parties is that fairness cuts both ways. On the one hand, it is right that asylum seekers who have had their claim fully and fairly assessed and have been turned down should return to their countries. On the other hand, it is reasonable and fair to expect traumatised refugees to be able to get on with their new lives and not be left in limbo, unable to rebuild their lives for fear of having their refugee status withdrawn.

The important thing is to focus on getting good decisions right first time, and not to let the legal system get bogged down.