We are deeply concerned about the Home Office’s proposal to block asylum applications from people who have arrived in the UK via irregular routes.

The bill is a further attack on the fundamental human right to seek asylum.

These proposals would strip people fleeing war and persecution of their right to seek safety in the UK, punishing them for the act of seeking protection. This is not ‘pushing the boundaries of international law’. It is a blatant disregard of the Refugee Convention which expressly prohibits penalising people for crossing a border.

Our CEO Sabir Zazai said:

“The bill is a further attack on the right to seek asylum. The proposals would leave people fleeing violent and oppressive regimes with no legal way to claim asylum.

“But seeking asylum is a human right, and the UK has made international agreements to uphold that right.

“Seeking asylum is a human right.”

“We can’t see how the government will be able to make these proposals work.

“Instead of grabbing headlines with a cruel and unworkable bill, the UK government should focus on building a compassionate, fair and workable asylum system. One which prioritises safe routes to reach the UK, orderly and effective asylum processing and grown-up discussions with the European Union.”

Two out of three people who arrive by small boat are granted asylum, including 48% who come from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan where nearly all would be granted asylum.

The bill would result in tens of thousands– including vulnerable people and children – being kept in mass detention. And at risk of serious harm.

Yet again the Home Office is proposing a bill with the primary intention to deter people seeking protection, but people will continue to come to the UK because of the often violent and harrowing situations they are escaping from. The UK has already one of the strictest asylum systems in Europe.

Unlike for refugees from Ukraine, there are very few safe routes for refugees to come to the UK for protection. The bill would mean turning our backs on desperate people that deserve our help.

Our neighbours in France, Germany and Spain take many more applications from refugees than the UK, with Germany taking more than three times the number.

We call on the government to focus on creating a compassionate, fair and workable system which prioritises safe routes to get here, orderly and effective asylum processing, and a comprehensive UK strategy of welcome at national and local level.

Read more about our open letter suggesting amendments to the ‘asylum questionnaire’.

Find out more about the help and advice we can offer people arriving in Scotland.

Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage