Wednesday, July 6

The Government of Boris Johnson will block visas to countries that do not accept the deportation of their emigrants


The United Kingdom will block the issuance of visas to visitors from countries that do not accept the return of their emigrants. In the bill announced on Tuesday, Priti Patel and future Home Affairs ministers would gain the power to suspend or delay visa processing for nationals of those countries that do not “cooperate with the UK Government in expelling citizens. who need permits to enter or stay in the UK but do not have them. ”

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The provisions of the draft nationality and borders law also allow the Interior Ministry to impose additional financial requirements on visa applications – that is, to raise fees – if governments do not cooperate in the return.

The proposal is reminiscent of US law, which allows government officials to withdraw the visa of citizens from countries that refuse to accept the return of migrants in an irregular situation. It is understood that, for example, countries like Iraq, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan are reluctant to cooperate with the UK in these cases.

This is one of the many changes that the British Government proposes to include in the project, described by Patel as “the biggest reform of the UK asylum system in decades”. The bill includes measures such as:

  • Asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK irregularly will no longer have the same rights as those who did so legally. Even if their asylum application is accepted, they will be granted refugee status temporarily and face the possibility of indefinitely deportation.
  • Asylum seekers may be expelled from the United Kingdom while their application or appeal is pending a response, which opens the possibility of studying the files while the applicant for protection is abroad.
  • The rights of access to aid and family reunification could be limited to those citizens whose entry into the country is considered irregular.
  • Judicial processes and appeals will be reformed in order to speed up the expulsion of those whose applications are rejected.
  • The Interior Minister may offer protection to vulnerable people “in immediate danger and at risk in their own countries” in exceptional circumstances. It is believed that this mechanism will only be applied to help a small number of people.
  • The system will make it “much more difficult for people to receive refugee status with unfounded claims” and will include “rigorous assessments” to prevent adult migrants from pretending to be minors. The Government considers the use of osseometric tests to determine his age.
  • Life imprisonment will be incorporated as the maximum penalty for human traffickers.
  • Migrants in an irregular situation who violate their deportation orders and return to the UK could be imprisoned for up to five years, instead of the six months currently set out in the regulations.
  • A new comprehensive legal process will be proposed so that asylum applications and petitions on human rights and any other protection demands are considered together before the appeal hearings.

“Legislative vandalism”

Activists have dubbed the bill an “anti-refugee law” and have pointed out that the regulations will penalize those who need more help. Analysis of Home Office data by the Refugee Council suggests that 9,000 people who would be accepted as refugees under current rules – who fled war or persecution according to official records – may not receive asylum in the UK for your route of entry into the country.

The organization’s director general Enver Solomon has said that these people had to take “extraordinary measures to escape oppression” and had managed to become “law-abiding citizens, following the rules and paying their taxes like proud Britons.” .

Steve Valdez-Symonds, a refugee and director of the migrant rights program at Amnesty International UK, has labeled the bill “legislative vandalism” that “could fatally corrode the right to asylum.” Valdez-Symonds considers that Patel has incurred a “disgraceful breach of duty.” “This reckless and deeply unfair project will only bring shame to Britain’s international reputation,” he added.

For her part, Sonya Sceats, CEO of Freedom from Torture, believes that the plans are “full of cruelty” and are “an offense to the supportive people of this country, who want a kinder and fairer approach to refugees.”

More than 250 organizations – including the Refugee Council, the British Red Cross, Freedom from Torture, Refugee Action and Asylum Matters – have come together to form the Together with Refugees coalition to demand a more effective, just and humane approach to UK asylum system.

Translation by Ignacio Rial-Schies.





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