How Quakers can respond to the Government’s New Plan for Immigration ‘consultation’ *** ends 6 May 2021

We will keep updating this page with useful information and advice. Below you will find a lot of information for those who want to read through it all in relation to the Consultation. We would like you to start at the top where you will find the suggested responses for you to consider from QARN, which may help you fill the online Consultation. You will also find pdfs of the policy and annex 1 referred to in the Consultation to give you the background, pdfs of the question sheets which you can download and print off, and information about how to send your response by email, and by post for those who will not be completing this online. There is also information from Quakers and others that you may find useful.

Responding to the consultation: the 6-week consultation ends on 6 May 2021. To respond, you can follow these steps:

  • Read the Policy Statement (PDF) above, focusing on the Foreword and any chapters where you have a particular interest or expertise.
  • Visit the consultation webpage and sign up for an account.
  • Answer the survey, leaving out any questions where you don’t know how to respond. Even if you just respond to the multiple-choice questions, it will make a difference.

At the heart of our Quaker testimonies lie equality, peace, truth, justice and simplicity. The government’s latest immigration proposals challenge each of these values.

It’s really important that we add our voice to the thousands of people objecting to these proposals, and the thousands more whose voices won’t be heard because they are marginalised in our society.

The plan creates separation between people. This is where simplicity comes into play. As Quakers we are – simply – asked to respect that of God in everyone.

QARN Steering Group has produced two documents to help people think about how they may wish to answer the questions when they complete the Government’s New Plan for Immigration: the first document relates to the main questions, and the second document refers to additional questions. These are in pdf form and so you can download them, and they are available to anyone who wishes to use them:

You may find that some of the question numbering and some wording has changed on the current online form.

These are the ‘Public Core Questions’:

and these are the ‘Public Technical Questions’:

Women for Refugee Women has produced a very helpful guide about how to navigate the process of completing the Government’s consultation regarding the New Plan for Immigration, online.

You will find this document here:

Information from the Home Office for those who will not be filling the Consultation in online:

Once the questionnaire has been completed, it can be emailed back to or posted back to the following address:

New Plan for Immigration Consultation, P3.52, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

In regards to your questions around the plans and timeline for after the consultation closes, we will consider the consultation responses carefully in line with our duties. Timings for the Bill have not yet been finalised.

These are the documents you will find useful before filling in the consultation:

Information from the Home Office about their plan:

and the questions used in the consultation:

Further observations from a member of QARN:

Consultation or opinion poll?

Although the process of response to the plan is described as a consultation, the time span, at 6 weeks, is brief and includes two public holidays.  The questionnaire inviting response is called a survey.  This raises the question of whether this is a consultation or a survey of public opinion. 

Contradictions:  fairness, facts and fudges

The plan stresses the importance of fairness, but proposes a two tier system based on the route to the UK taken by people seeking safety, and offers different levels of protection based on this.  This sets up inequalities from the start and is patently unfair.

The plan describes those coming by irregular routes as ‘illegal’.  UNHCR says It is not illegal to seek asylum – the right is universal — whatever the means of travel or way of arrival.  (UNHCR – UK Immigration and Asylum Plans – Some Questions Answered by UNHCR)

The plan suggests that asylum should be claimed in the first country on the asylum journey that is safe.  Claims from those who have passed through these countries will be regarded as inadmissible. UNHCR comments The Convention does not require refugees to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, or make it illegal to seek asylum if a claimant has passed through another safe country.(ibid) 

Numbers – the plan refers to the numbers admitted under the government resettlement scheme.  To the uninformed reader this could be read as suggesting that Britain has taken in more refugees and is under more pressure than other European countries. This is not the case.  In 2019 the UK was fifth in Europe in terms of the number of first time asylum applications.  Last year, France had 95,600 asylum applications, Germany  122,170, Spain 88,530, Greece 40,560 and the UK 29,456 (ibid)

Detention by the back door

The plan proposes to establish reception centres .  This is a retrograde step, and effectively a form of detention.  Britain continues to impose immigration detention for an indefinite period.  Multiple studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of detention.   Recently new arrivals have been accommodated on military sites found to be unfit for purpose. ( In the light of these findings it is difficult to understand the intention to proceed.  There should be no question of processing asylum claimants offshore.

Language Matters:  Fear and Threat

One final comment. I understand the plan is only available in English and Welsh, thus excluding many with first hand experience of the system.  This is a serious omission. I find the plan has an atmosphere of fear and threat, of measures to contain, control and exclude. This, it is suggested, would make for an effective system.   In rebuilding a broken system I would suggest a different approach, one which respects the dignity of every human being, understands that lives are complex, enables swift access to justice, and is truthful and transparent in decision making. 

Bridget Walker, 3rd May 2021

29 April 2021: These are observations from a Quaker who is a writer of medicolegal reports:

  • We have no business closing our borders to those who take the risk to come across the channel, while mainland Europe – particularly France – treats them so cruelly.
  • Asylum seekers who get here are usually in very poor mental health and most cannot speak English.  The Home Office interviews for assessing them are inadequate.
  • Asylum applicants need independent medicolegal reports in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol, and they need up-to-date independent country reports.
  • Medico-legal reporters cannot be expected to work for or be approved by the Home Office, which is under political pressure to expel as many asylum seekers as possible.
  • Asylum seekers need to be housed in places where they have freedom to move and can access legal advice, medical advice and humanitarian assistance.  They need to be offered the means to learn English and occupational skills as soon as they arrive.
  • If they have waited for more than four months for a legal adjudication on their applications,  they need to have the right to work in unskilled or semi-skilled occupations for a living wage rate.
  • Failed asylum seekers who cannot practically be removed need to have access to training in skills that may get them qualified to work in skilled shortage occupations and thus qualify to remain on the immigration points system.
  • Britain needs to advocate and contribute to a UN wide system of assessing victims of torture, abuse and modern slavery in their home countries, assigning them to countries with adequate human rights and subsidising their integration there.
  • Britain needs to advocate and contribute to  a legal system run by the UN to pursue governments that practice or condone torture, abuse or modern slavery or warfare that is not within the Geneva convention.  The proceeds may pay for some of the work of integrating asylum seekers in countries with adequate human rights.

27 April 2021: Gloucestershire Quakers shared a post on Facebook: Nailsworth Quakers are responding to the immigration consultation with this letter to Pritti Patel:

Dear Home Secretary,New Plan for Immigration: response to Question 45

There are many who will be providing points of detail in response to this questionnaire. On behalf of Quakers in our community, we wish to express four fundamental difficulties that we have with the whole.

1) The document uses the words ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ many times. We find, however, that it roots inequality into the asylum system. It sets out to discriminate between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ routes into the UK in direct contradiction with our country’s commitment to listening to all who arrive in the UK in search of asylum.

2) The term ‘illegal’ is a term frequently applied to those seeking asylum – yet as a signatory to the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, this country has a legal obligation to those immigrants arriving here with a ‘justified fear of persecution’ in their country of origin. In using the more accurate term ‘unsafe’ for their desperate journeys in search of safety, it becomes clear that under the proposed Plan, those people forced to face extreme danger in fleeing conflict would receive a different, lesser form of protection and face greater difficulty in bringing their families here once they are settled than other immigrants who are in a position to afford safe routes.

3) While we would like to believe that the purpose of this policy is to improve the experience of those seeking asylum in our country and to end their exploitation by smugglers and traffickers, we are shocked at the omission of that particular asylum experience as a source of evidence, of which many accounts are available in the public domain and widely reported by the press. From this experience it seems clear to us that the way to stop this exploitation is to provide alternative safe routes (not addressed in the proposed Plan).

4) From our own contacts among organisations seeking to offer practical welcome to those reaching our shores, we are well aware of the record backlog of people waiting in inhumane conditions for a decision on their claim for asylum. But we cannot accept the distorting impression given in the plan (particularly in parts of Chapters 4 and 5) that this backlog is the fault of those people, rather than the system itself.

In short, we appreciate the need for reform but we would strongly urge that changes made are within international agreements.…/how-quakers-can-respond-to…

8 April 2021: The Quaker online blog: The Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network explore the UK government’s new immigration plan and outline what Quakers can do to respond.

It’s ok to look at the consultation on the UK government’s New Plan for Immigration and not know where to start. Alongside a seemingly overwhelming list of new policies, there is confusing disparity in the plan between words and policy.

The report uses the words ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ twenty-three times. In reality, though, it roots inequality into the asylum system. It sets out to discriminate between ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ routes into the UK even though the international 1951 Refugee Convention is incorporated into our domestic law. Our country has committed by law to listening to anyone who arrives in the UK and asks for asylum.

Hazardous journeys

This proposed distinction between routes to the UK is a jarring response to the death of a young man from Sudan, Abdulfatah Hamdallah, in the Channel last August; to the four Kurdish-Iranian people, including two children, who died when their boat sank in October – and 15-month-old baby Artin who was lost; to thousands of others trying to cross the Mediterranean who didn’t survive their hazardous journeys. How soon our promises to Alan Kurdi were broken.

Waiting for an official resettlement scheme or stopping to pick up a passport – if you even own one or are able to get to an airport unhindered – is simply not an option for thousands fleeing persecution.

But under the plan people who take unsafe routes to the UK will receive a different, lesser form of protection than someone who has arrived by official means, including making it more difficult to bring their family here once they are settled. Their means of arrival will carry more weight than the gravity of the situation they’re escaping, even though the situation someone is leaving holds the same trauma however they escape it.

Upholding collective responsibility

We then find our testimony to justice confronted with a plan under which people whose asylum claim is refused would be stripped of financial support, deliberately imposing destitution.

New reception centres would be opened at the same time as brushing over conditions at Napier barracks. At the height of the pandemic up to 30 people shared one bedroom and bathroom, contrary to advice from Public Health England. A new group of people was sent to Napier on 9 April, despite condemnation of the barracks by both the Prisons and Borders Inspectorate as ‘filthy’ and ‘impoverished’.

How can we claim to be upholders of peace if we accept proposals which are silent on the conflicts behind many people’s choice or compulsion to leave their homes? Or silent on the climate crisis already devastating life in parts of the world?

The Home Office wants to refuse to consider asylum claims if they decide that ‘a safe third country’ could be responsible instead – regardless of whether someone has ever even been there. People whose tents and belongings have been destroyed by police in Calais would dispute that France has a ‘well-functioning asylum system’. Nor would anyone feel safe in Greece, where riot police blocked people trying to leave overcrowded refugee camps after fires broke out.

How can we stay quiet as the government distorts the truth about our country’s response to displaced people in other countries? It would have us believe that the UK has honourably ‘taken back control’ of our immigration system. But in reality, we are washing our hands of collective responsibility to offer safety to people in desperate circumstances.

Responding to the consultation: The 6-week consultation ends on 6 May 2021.

It’s really important that we add our voice to the thousands of people objecting to these proposals, and the thousands more whose voices won’t be heard because they are marginalised in our society.

The plan creates separation between people. This is where simplicity comes into play. As Quakers we are – simply – asked to respect that of God in everyone.

To respond, you can follow these steps (as above):

  • Read the Policy Statement (PDF), focusing on the Foreword and any chapters where you have a particular interest or expertise.
  • Visit the consultation webpage and sign up for an account.
  • If you are a stakeholder, you can download a list of the questions (PDF) to help you plan how you will respond.
  • If you wish to respond as an individual please have a look at the QARN documents above.
  • Answer the survey, leaving out any questions where you don’t know how to respond. Even if you just respond to the multiple-choice questions, it will make a difference.

Join Quakers working to welcome people seeking sanctuary

David Forbes has written an article which is relevant:  The Immigration Plan and the “Sovereign Borders” Bill – it is posted here:

8 April 2021: QARN asked for comments from people on the network, but at that time we only had the Stakeholder questions. The responses are all on this document, so there will be repetition:

There are a number of other organisations offering advice about what people may wish to write in their response to the Consultation, including:

Care4Calais: Far from fair There is a ready-made letter here to send to your MP

Priti Patel’s overhaul of the UK immigration system is anything but fair

On 23 March 2021 home secretary, Priti Patel, announced an overhaul of the UK asylum system.

She has badged this announcement as ‘fair’, but the reality is anything but.

For the first time, whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses; the Government’s proposed amendments suggest that only those who arrive via a ‘legal’ route should be helped.

But the thing is, less than 1% of the world’s refugees get chosen for resettlement schemes, which are the main ‘legal’ route. Should the rest just stay and accept their fate? Or should they do everything in their power to help themselves and their family? I know what I’d do.

Being a refugee means you’re not going to get a visa to travel. That’s the problem with oppressive regimes – they don’t do things by the book. So, it’s not really fair to say that because a desperate refugee travels ‘illegally’ they don’t deserve our help. And it’s not fair that the cornerstone of Britain’s new plan for asylum is to deny help to desperate people who have no other way to travel.

Just because someone pays a people smuggler it does not mean that they are not in genuine need of asylum – quite the opposite is true; people in desperate need do whatever they can to survive.

One thing that refugees all know is that life is not fair. Being a refugee is not who you are, it is something that happens to you.  Imagine a man who loses his child in a house fire or a woman disabled in a car crash.  These things are not their fault – they are simply bad things that happened to them and then, in a moment, their lives have been changed forever. This is exactly what it means to be a refugee.  It’s not ‘fair’ in any way.

In Calais we work with refugees who have become our friends: the sweet boy who left home at 13 when his parents were killed; the quiet man who was tortured so horribly in Iraq; the woman who brought two tiny children here on her own – God knows how. They laugh with us despite their dire circumstances, and it makes us respect the sheer force of human spirit. But at night they will be in small boats battling big waves, fighting for their lives just for the chance to be safe. It’s not people smugglers who make them do this. It’s this Government that fails to give them another way – a safe way to claim UK asylum, without having to risk their lives.

Passing through a safe country does not stop you from being a refugee, but the Government is suggesting we refuse to give sanctuary to any refugees who have travelled through Europe. But why shouldn’t the UK offer sanctuary to refugees who have escaped this way? British people are no less compassionate, we do not care any less about our fellow human beings than our European neighbours.

The UK already takes far fewer refugees than Germany, France or Spain. Throughout history refugees and immigrants have enriched the societies they join, and migrants fill skills gaps, particularly in the NHS. We should be proud and confident about helping those in need – and acknowledge that it’s not a one-way street; there are many ways a country can benefit from to immigration.

This last year has been eye-opening. While this Government has become more hostile toward refugees who want to make the UK their home, we have watched ordinary people rise up and support them a hundred practical ways. Volunteers have provided clothes, shoes and food to people who have nothing. They have helped people seeking asylum to register with doctors or find lawyers. They have shown them how to navigate public transport and have been a friendly face for those who are scared and alone. These are just a handful of examples that prove that people in this country do not want to turn their back on refugees.

The right approach when refugees arrive on our shores is to roll up our sleeves and do what we can to help, with policy that should focus on what our country can do to offer safety to those in desperate need. Criminalising, dividing and persecuting refugees will never solve the problem.

This Government’s focus on so-called ‘illegal travel’ is not just misleading, but dangerous and damaging to our society as a whole. When ministers talk about refugees using words such as ‘illegal’ and ‘criminal’ it creates a negative association in people’s minds – a harmful consequence, particularly when refugees are already marginalised.

I am saddened and disturbed to see our leaders creating division in our communities.  We need leaders who unite us. We need leaders who treat refugees with compassion and respect; they are people who have simply had the misfortune to be born in the wrong place.

It’s certainly not fair that ordinary people have to pick up the pieces when the Government chooses to turn its back on those in desperate need.

An overview of the Government’s proposed plans

People who arrive via resettlement schemes (the main ‘legal’ route)

  • Granted indefinite leave to remain
  • Given support with integration
  • Given family reunion rights

People who arrive Irregularly – e.g. boats, lorries

  • Placed in reception centres – with asylum claims and appeals processed onsite
  • Government will try to send to another safe country
  • If successful with UK application will only get ‘temporary’ protection (30 months)
  • Little access to welfare benefits
  • Options have been kept open to develop offshore asylum processing

Other points

  • Proposed new stricter system for age assessments
  • A ‘one stop shop’ process whereby if you don’t set out all your evidence at the beginning of the process it may not be taken into account/li>
  • Introducing new powers to stop and redirect boats out of UK waters if they suspect they are facilitating illegal entry to UK.

Share our campaign

Click the box below to share you support on Twitter. If you don’t have Twitter, click on one of the other icons to share our campaign on your preferred platform.Being a refugee means you won’t be given a visa to travel, but the Government’s ‘New Plan for Immigration’ says that if a refugee travels illegally they don’t deserve our help. Don’t agree? Take action now =>

Asylum Matters:

Home Office announces sweeping, divisive reforms of the UK’s asylum system

Last Wednesday, the UK Government announced new plans to ‘overhaul’ the asylum system. These drastic policy proposals have been trailed for many months, and have finally been published as part of the Home Office’s ‘New Plan for Immigration’ and announced in Parliament.

We are appalled by these inhumane and unworkable proposals, which threaten to slam the door in the face of people in dire need of protection from persecution. Despite the rhetoric, these divisive plans will do nothing to address the root causes of why people put their lives at risk trying to cross the Channel or the record backlog of people waiting in inhumane conditions for a decision on their claim for asylum. Instead, they threaten the very right to claim asylum in the UK and the safety of people on the move.

What’s in the ‘New Plan for Immigration’?

There are a few helpful articles now available online which try to summarise the content of the proposals, including on Free Movement JCWI’s explainer and Refugee Action’s statement.

Whilst there is not much in the way of policy detail within the plans, the main headlines include (but are not limited to):

  • Creating a two-tier system where refugees are granted different rights and status entirely due to how they have entered the UK;
  • People who have entered the UK irregularly will be considered ‘inadmissible’ to the UK’s asylum system, and the Home Office will make all attempts to return them to another ‘safe’ third country (although this is ‘contingent on securing returns agreements’ with these countries). Only if the Home Office is unable to return someone to another ‘safe’ third country, will people who have entered irregularly be allowed to access the UK’s asylum system;
  • Those who have arrived irregularly and are then recognised as refugees will be granted ‘temporary protection status.’ Those with ‘temporary protection status’ will have no recourse to public funds and limited family reunion rights. Leave will last no longer than 30 months, after which they will be regularly reassessed for removal;
  • However, refugees who are resettled to the UK through government resettlement schemes will have enhanced levels of protection, including receiving indefinite leave to remain on arrival and enhanced family reunion rights;
  • Replacing the current asylum accommodation model with reception centres to provide basic accommodation for people while their asylum claim is processed. The proposals also intend to facilitate the use of offshore processing facilities in the future if deemed necessary by the Government;
  • Implement the provisions in the Immigration Act 2016, including removing Section 95 support from families who had been refused asylum, replacing Section 4 with a more limited form of support and restricting access to social services support for families;
  • For more information on the proposals around family reunion, please refer to this statement from the Families Together coalition.

Over the last week, there has also been great coverage in local and national media challenging the proposals, particularly from refugees who have sought sanctuary in the UK. Hassan Akkad, a refugee from Syria, has criticised the proposals in the Independent, Osman in Leeds expressed his disappointment at the harmful new policies on BBC Radio Leeds (3.15 into the show), and Natasha Walter challenges the Home Secretary to listen to women seeking asylum.

UKLGIG have been working with PIRC, NEON and other organisations who support LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, and produced a messaging guide on communicating issues around LGBTQI+ asylum. The guide covers some of the issues that the New Plan for Immigration and Sovereign Borders Bill have brought up, and makes broader recommendations on terminology and responding to attacks.

What can you do about it?

Right now, we’re at a critical juncture. These proposals threaten the rights of people seeking asylum, and are the biggest overhaul of asylum policy in the UK since 1999. It’s more important than ever that the voices of people seeking asylum, the organisations that work alongside them, and the communities that have welcomed new arrivals are heard loud and clear.

The Government has now announced a six week consultation on these proposals, through an online platform where organisations and individuals can submit their input up until 6th May. You can also see the questions in advance here.

Over the next week, we’ll be pulling together guidance for organisations and individuals who want to respond to the consultation and change the narrative. We’re also looking into options for a webinar the following week, for partners to hear more about what’s in the New Plan for Immigration and how they can respond strategically to the consultation.

We’ll share more information on this as soon as possible. Please get in touch and let us know if there’s anything that would be particularly helpful to include.


ECPAT raises the following concerns regarding children: Government immigration reforms could set back progress in support for child victims of trafficking

The Home Office has published their ‘New Plan for Immigration’ which includes a significant number of proposals to reform modern slavery legislation which will affect survivors of child exploitation. Wider measures relating to asylum policy will also be detrimental to survivors who also apply for asylum, a procedure which is already very challenging for many child victims to navigate.

The government’s proposals were announced shortly after the release of official NRM data showing more children than ever before were identified as potential victims of trafficking in 2020.

It remains unclear as to why proposals on modern slavery are included in a plan for immigration reform at all, given victim identification is not an immigration matter but rather a child protection issue in the case of children. Whilst we welcome the government’s stated intention to improve support for child victims, this seems incompatible with their plans as set out, particularly:

Proposals to ‘reform’ the standard of proof required to officially identify potential victims at the first stage of the modern slavery procedure under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The Reasonable Grounds threshold is currently set at ‘I suspect but cannot prove’ but the Home Office is proposing to move to a higher threshold because of ‘concerns that individuals are attempting to misuse the system’. This change could have far reaching implication for all child victims, including British national children who form the majority of child victims identified in the UK, with high standards of proof potentially leaving them at risk of not being identified as victims and unable to access protection and support. 

Intentions to clarify the definition of “public order” to prevent those linked to serious criminality’ from being assessed by the NRM. Serious criminality has been defined to apply to those with a prison sentence of 12 months or more. A definition this broad would be particularly harmful to children exploited in criminal activity who, in the absence of adequate identification, have faced custodial sentences – often for drug offences which carry over a year in a youth offending institute. Child victims of criminal exploitation represent the largest group of children exploited in the past year, with 1,544 referrals flagged as ‘county lines’ referrals, most of which relate to British national children.

New bureaucracy regarding age assessments, with the establishment of a National Age Assessment Board whose role includes promoting ‘scientific age assessment methods’, even in the absence of any evidence to support there is such a thing. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 also makes clear that where there is uncertainty over the age of a suspected victim of trafficking, there should be a presumption that the victim is under 18 until a local authority assessment has taken place or the person’s age is otherwise determined. This duty regarding the presumption of age set out in primary legislation seeks to protect children from being treated as adults. The proposals to allow immigration officers to make reasonable initial assessments of age, rather than local authority social workers, could put children at further risk. 

Patricia Durr, CEO of ECPAT UK, said

There has been real progress in understanding child trafficking and exploitation in the UK and protecting and supporting child victims.

“Given the commitment in the Immigration Plan to improving support for child victims, I trust that the government will listen to them – they know best how the current system could and should be improved because they experience it every day.

“I urge the government to listen carefully to concerns about the potential impact of these new plans on children and young people and amend them accordingly to ensure that every child victim is identified, safeguarded and supported. If not, more traumatised children will be lost, placed in more danger and at risk of further exploitation, criminalisation and removal.” 


Press contact

Sinead Geoghegan, Communications and Media Manager, ECPAT UK,, 07402 113 985


Why Sticking to the Refugee Convention Still Matters

When someone says that refugees should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, what they really mean is that other countries should look after refugees. They want others to do what they would not do themselves. Their words are really addressed to the countries through which the refugee has passed on their journey to us. France should look after the refugees and take them back from us. If not France, then Greece. If not Greece, then Turkey. If not Turkey, then Iran. And so on. Those countries should “step up” (Shaun Bailey, Conservative MP for West Bromwich West). Not us. They have “a moral duty and a responsibility” (Priti Patel, Home Secretary for the United Kingdom). Not us.

These responses very obviously ignore what other countries are already doing. In 2019 the UK received 52,000 asylum seekers in total, including refugees entering on our resettlement scheme. France received 157,000. Officially Greece received 70,000, although their asylum registration system has broken down. Turkey already hosts 4,000,000 refugees. Iran already hosts close to 1,000,000 refugees. To suggest we are already doing more than we should and these other countries should “step up” is manifestly absurd.


30 April 2021: Refugee Action: The New Plan for Immigration Consultation is a sham: SIGN THE OPEN LETTERQARN has signed this letter

Dear Home Secretary,

On 23rd March 2021, the UK Government announced sweeping changes to how they will treat people seeking safety in the UK. Instead of fixing a system that’s been failing people for years, these changes take a wrecking ball to the very principle of asylum.

The UK Government has since invited public feedback on these plans. This would usually be a chance to challenge their plans, raise important details and hold the Government to account. But, as with the inquiry stage for the recent Sewell Report on institutional racism, this consultation is a sham.

  • The ‘New Plan for Immigration’ is a half-baked political manifesto. It lays out vague, unworkable, cruel and potentially unlawul plans justified by misleading or simmply incorrect evidence, wrapped up in racist and divisive language
  • The consultation is poorly designed, confusing and inaccessible. The documents are only available in English and Welsh. The questions are clearly designed to lead people into endorsing the Government’s plan.
  • The Government left people fewer than six working weeks to give their thoughts on the largest changes to the asylum system in two decades. Normally consultations like this last at least 12 weeks. These six weeks also include Easter holidays, a May bank holiday, Ramadan and an election period during which those involved in local, mayoral and devolved nation elections are restricted in what they can say publicly.

Most incredibly, this consultation does not prioritise the views and experiences of refugees and people seeking asylum. Not one question in the official consultation document asks people about their personal experiences of fleeing persecution or seeking safety in the UK. And the inaccessible process will make it more difficult for many of the most important voices of all to be heard. This is not a process designed by a Government that genuinely wants to listen or has any interest in being challenged or changing its approach. We can only conclude this is a thinly veiled public relations exercise with a pre-determined outcome that we’ve been reading about on the front pages of newspapers for months.

It seems the Government has already forgotten the shameful legacy of Windrush. Just weeks ago, the Home Office signed a legal agreement requiring the department to properly consider the impacts of its policies on the groups of people they affect. It is our view that the Home Office has already failed to meet this commitment.

This Government already punishes refugees at every turn. Instead of fixing this injustice, they are doubling down on it. They are planning to leave traumatised people stuck in refugee camps on UK soil or in dangerous situations abroad. Their proposals are cruel, unjust and deadly.
We believe in a caring and connected society, where everyone is included, and we can all thrive. These plans are a direct threat to that society. We will oppose them at every possible stage, and keep building the future we believe in.

We have been advised of two contradictions in the New Plan for Immigration:

  • people who come to UK, for example for work or to study and then become unable to return home because the situation there has become dangerous for them;
  • there is no mention of retrospective permissions being given to people who have already come to UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.