Who did you save? - Refugee Council

Who did you save?

You had a crucial decision to make to save someone’s life. But people are more than just a face, who did you save?

This is Jason, an engineering lecturer at the University of Southampton. He decided to study engineering because he wanted to bring his projects to life and help find solutions to problems. Jacob was on holiday with his friend when he decided to venture out in the open sea on a small boat. Once at sea, the weather roughened up, and his boat was swept away by the waves.

But luckily for Jason, you saved him.

Under the government’s new Bill, you did nothing wrong saving him.

This is Hadi, and he is also an engineering lecturer at Kandahar University. Or he was, before fleeing from Afghanistan where he lived with his family. After several years living in a refugee camp, Hadi was separated from his family and arrived at Calais. He knows that by crossing the Channel, he could reach his mother, who lives in the UK. But in the crossing, the crowded dinghy he was on is battered by a storm.

Luckily for Hadi, you saved him.

But under the government’s new Bill, you could now face prosecution for saving him.


Despite their different stories and backgrounds, these two young men have a future in front of them, and both of their lives are worth saving. But because of the new government’s provisions, you will be prosecuted if you have chosen to save Hadi’s life.

Clause 38

Clause 38 of the Nationality and Borders Bill seek to amend the Immigration Act 1971 and change the maximum sentence from “imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years” to “imprisonment for life” for those who assist people seeking asylum “unlawfully”. The clause also removes the ‘for gain’ element of the offence so that people who facilitate the entry of refugees, even if they have not benefitted financially, may be committing an offence.

What does it mean?

Essentially, removing the ‘for gain’ element from the Immigration Act 1971 means that anyone helping people seeking asylum enter the UK will no longer need to be doing it “for gain” to be found criminally liable. Therefore, individuals and organisations who help save lives at sea will be criminalised by this change, with a maximum sentence for general assisting unlawful immigration from 14 years to life imprisonment.