Refugees unwelcome?

IssueApril - May 2022
News by David Polden

On 22 March, the house of commons voted down seven of the house of lord’s amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill on its return to the commons.

In other words, MPs have reconfirmed that it will be a criminal offence to arrive in the UK without official entry clearance.

Under the bill, you can be imprisoned for up to four years if you enter the UK unofficially – for example, in a small boat across the Channel.

This will also apply to Ukrainians entering the UK through unofficial routes, the government has admitted.

Asylum-seekers will, once again, be deprived of the right to work.

The Ukranian refugee crisis has put the UK’s treatment of refugees in question. While hardly welcoming Ukranian refugees with visa-free entry like most European countries, the UK has eased the entry of Ukranians with close relatives in the UK and Ukranians sponsored by hosts.

Unlike other asylum seekers, they are not being accommodated in old military barracks and are allowed to work.

The question arises, then, why aren’t other asylum seekers here allowed to work?

MPs also confirmed on 22 March that asylum-seekers can be held overseas to have their asylum claims processed.

In addition, the bill allows people to be deprived of British citizenship without notification if their presence is not considered conducive to the public good and if the government believes they can claim citizenship elsewhere.

Pushed back

Home secretary Priti Patel’s plan to ‘push back’ refugees trying to cross the Channel in small boats seems to have stalled, with the Royal Lifeboat Institution refusing to act as border guards.

PCS, the union to which many Border Force staff belong, has threatened industrial action if the plan is put into effect. It has also joined a legal action brought by Care4Calais against the policy. There are also legal actions by two other charities.