In March 2023, the so-called “Illegal Migration Bill” was introduced to Parliament, with the aim of stopping people from crossing the Channel in small boats. The Bill sets out a plan that will mean anyone who arrives irregularly into the UK will have their asylum claim deemed “inadmissible” – the Home Office won’t even consider the claim. They could be detained indefinitely and then removed either to their own country or a “safe third country” if that’s not possible. The Illegal Migration Act 2023 has now been published, after receiving Royal Assent on 20 July 2023.
According to some estimations, in the first three years of the legislation coming into effect between 225,347 and 257,101 people will have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible. This includes between 39,500 and 45,066 children. At the end of the third year, between 161,147 and 192,670 people will have had their asylum claims deemed inadmissible but not have been removed. They will be unable to have their asylum claims processed, unable to work and will be reliant on Home Office support and accommodation indefinitely. In total, between £8.7bn and £9.6bn will have been spent on detaining and accommodating people impacted by the bill in the first three years of its operation. The bill will do nothing to expand safe routes available to people who are trying to reach the UK.
United Nations human rights chief Volker Turk commented that the bill's passage raises “very serious legal concerns” and sets “a worrying precedent for dismantling asylum-related obligations” that other countries may follow.
It is likely that the Home Office will publish further guidance on the Illegal Migration Act 2023. Make sure to check out the Immigration news section on your website to be up to date.