To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings published by Together With Refugees on 1 June that two-thirds of women and children currently accepted by the Government as refugees would be deemed inadmissible under their New Plan for Immigration, published on 24 March.
22 June 2021
I do not recognise the figures presented in the Together with Refugees publication of 1 June regarding women and children. Some mention is made in the report of illegal entry figures quoted in the New Plan for Immigration policy statement, and to wider published data, but neither support the specific conclusions made in the publication.
In drawing its conclusions, Together with Refugees states: “The new rules would mean that all those who claim asylum after arriving in the UK through an irregular route would face removal to a third country, with their asylum claim only progressing if removal is not possible…” That is not how the current policy operates, nor how we intend the future process to operate.
Our current policy is clear that decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, not rigidly or en masse. Irregular entry is not the sole criterion or even a necessary criterion on which inadmissibility processes operate. Inadmissibility applies only where someone has a connection to or has been present in a safe third country before coming to the UK.
There are many circumstances where the inadmissibility rules would not be applied, including: to an unaccompanied child; to someone who has had no opportunity to claim asylum in the safe third country, for instance, because they were under the control of traffickers; to someone who demonstrates that in their particular case, return to the third country would place them at risk of harm; and to someone who demonstrates that in their specific circumstances there are reasons under the Human Rights Act why they should remain in the UK.
There will be instances where the inadmissibility rules will apply to families. We know that some people, including women with children, reach safe EU countries where they have the opportunity to claim asylum and obtain the protection they need, but then as a matter of preference, choose to make further unnecessary and dangerous journeys to the UK. Such actions from people who have already reached safety exposes not only the claimants themselves to significant danger, but also their children and the individuals involved in their rescue.
Our inadmissibility rules aim to deter anyone thinking of making a dangerous journey to the UK when already in a safe country, and make it clear that those who could and should have claimed asylum in the first safe country they enter may not have their claims determined in the UK.