Breaking News

Ukrainian refugee crisis exposes new immigration law concerns

Alexandra Ming

3 min examine

The war in Ukraine has referred to as into doubt the United Kingdom’s capability to regulate a large-scale emergency refugee crisis. Now, critics concern new guidelines could exacerbate the problem. Investigation by Alexandra Ming of Dods Political Intelligence.

When Boris Johnson declared in March that thousands of Ukrainians would be welcomed to the United kingdom, both to join loved ones or with the guidance of a sponsor, Property Secretary Priti Patel explained the government’s “agile response” was evidence that its New System for Immigration released in 2021 was operating to aid these in genuine will need. 

Very little about a thirty day period later on, Patel apologised “with frustration” for delays, next intense criticism the Ukraine strategies have been slow, inefficient, and overly bureaucratic. 

The hottest official data exhibits that, as of 20 April, out of 107,200 visa programs manufactured to the Uk through the Ukraine Loved ones Plan and Ukraine Sponsorship Plan, only 21,600 visa-holders experienced effectively attained the United kingdom. 

It is attempting to squeeze the proverbial sq. peg into a spherical gap

Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty Global Uk, instructed The Household the UK’s immigration procedure was dependent on regulations governing how folks can appear to the Uk to do the job, research, be a part of relatives or pay a visit to, and was not made for people requiring emergency asylum from conflict or persecution.

“It really should surprise nobody, hence, that hoping to vogue a reaction to the Ukraine refugee disaster out of its regulations and strategies is completely ineffective. It is hoping to squeeze the proverbial square peg into a spherical gap,” he stated. 

The government’s lousy track file of handling Ukrainian refugees considering that the Russian invasion has elevated fresh considerations the nationality and borders legislation could make instances even harder for individuals looking for asylum in the Uk for the reason that of how it will penalise these who get there through unofficial means. 

Refugees who travel by way of 3rd international locations, for case in point, could be entitled to a decreased set of rights in the British isles, their promises may well be made inadmissible, or they could facial area a four-12 months prison sentence.
The the latest federal government announcement of an agreement to send out asylum seekers for processing in Rwanda has exacerbated these concerns. The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has expressed strong opposition to the approach.

Refugee campaigners have extended argued that the deficiency of secure and legal routes to enter the British isles generate asylum seekers to seek out out irregular and occasionally dangerous suggests to come to Britain, these kinds of as having to pay a trafficking gang to cross the Channel in a dinghy. 

The Refugee Council, a charity doing work with individuals trying to find asylum in the British isles, stated the big range of community requests to assistance Ukraine refugees exhibits British individuals want “an asylum system that is orderly, humane and reasonable,” relatively than new legislation that would treat refugees from countries like Ukraine “as criminals”. 

Speaking in late March during a parliamentary discussion on the nationality and borders laws, Stephen Kinnock, shadow minister for immigration, explained the measure experienced been “introduced towards the backdrop of an asylum and immigration technique that is merely not suit for purpose”. 

“A Ukrainian particular person who had introduced their elderly dad and mom to our place in the early days of the war would have been criminalised under the bill,” he additional.

The federal government argues the laws will fulfil the electorate’s motivation to “take back control” of the UK’s borders subsequent Brexit. The prolonged ping-pong involving the Commons and Lords which accompanied the scheme’s passage demonstrates the strength of feeling across both equally Houses.

In a assertion defending the nationality and borders legislation, a Household Place of work spokesperson suggests it “will deal with our damaged asylum process, aiding those in legitimate want whilst tackling men and women-smuggling gangs”.

 

Take a look at the Dods Political Intelligence site listed here.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

Get the inside of monitor on what MPs and Peers are conversing about. Signal up to The House’s early morning electronic mail for the latest perception and response from Parliamentarians, coverage-makers and organisations.