What is the New Plan for Immigration? - Refugee Council
April 1, 2021

What is the New Plan for Immigration?

For 70 years, the UK has had a proud history of welcoming refugees. Now the UK government is seeking to destroy this tradition. No, more then ever we must come together to stand up for refugee rights. We’re getting ready for a tough year of campaigning, starting by fighting the government’s discriminatory and inhumane proposals.

What is the government proposing?

Discriminatory two-tier system

Refugees who travel to the UK via ‘irregular’ routes (like crossing the Channel) will have fewer rights and entitlements than those arriving via ‘regular’ routes (like resettlement).

Seeking asylum is not a crime. The Refugee Convention is clear that people seeking asylum should not be penalised for entering a country through irregular routes.

Limiting existing 'safe' routes

The proposals would remove annual targets for the UK resettlement programme and further restrict refugee family reunion rights.

The UK has a proud recent history of resettlement, successfully resettling 20,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria over the last five years. Shockingly, the new proposals remove a resettlement target, leaving the UK with no clear ambition on resettlement and effectively reducing an existing ‘safe’ route to the UK.

By limiting refugee family reunion rights for some refugees, thousands of women and children will be left facing the harrowing choice of staying permanently separated from their loved ones, or embarking on treacherous journeys to reach them in the UK.

Reception centres and 'offshore processing'

The Government is proposing to build ‘reception centres’ to hold people who have made an asylum claim in the UK and to change the law to enable ‘offshore’ processing.

Throughout the pandemic we’ve been horrified by the shameful conditions refugees have experienced in barracks and hotel accommodation and we are worried that the reception centres look like a continuation of this plan.

Offshore processing is inhumane. In Australia, this has had a devastating impact on the mental health of people seeking asylum, with very high rates of self-harm and suicide.

Read our parliamentary briefing (PDF) for more information.