In March 2021 the Right Honourable Priti Patel, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for the Home Department, published her new plan for immigration.
This new plan outlines the UK Government’s intentions and proposals to reform the prevailing immigration and asylum law in the UK.
However, what the Government isn’t telling you is that this new plan is effectively winding back the clock and tearing up refugee law that has been in place since the UK singed up to the Refugee Convention in 1951.
So what are Priti Patel’s plans for our immigration system?
This new plan centres on ‘criminal smuggling gangs’ who facilitate the cross border movement of people seeking asylum, particularly in this case, across the English Channel. In doing so it advances and formalises a distinction between two groups of people seeking asylum: those who travel themselves to places of potential sanctuary, and those who wait in refugee camps, processing and/or transit centres for the possibility of meeting the criteria for resettlement through the UNHCR. Under the new plan, those who arrive ‘spontaneously’ will never be granted permanent leave to remain in the UK. Those in the privileged group of resettled refugees will gain permanent status.
There is clearly a need for our current immigration system to be reformed, so this new plan would come as a welcome improvement, if it was not for the fact that it is so incredibly narrow and full of measures targeted at discrediting and delegitimising asylum seekers.
For instance, in an open letter sent to the Government in March 2021 over 450 leading academics in the UK criticised Priti Patel’s new plan as being ‘completely unfounded in any body of research evidence’ .
We are going to have a mammoth task on our hands to change these plans, but you can have your say via the Government consultation. To learn more please watch the short video: