The Home Office today issued a consultation paper aimed at consolidating immigration and asylum procedures. ‘Simplifying Immigration Law: An Initial Consultation’ is the first step in the government’s plans to reform the immigration system, culminating in new primary legislation to be introduced in 2008.
In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We welcome government plans to consolidate the system, and we intend to fully contribute to the consultation process.
“However, there is one simple and vital element missing from the government’s plans: any mention of providing protection to people who’ve fled from human rights abuses.
“We’ve no argument with a fast and fair system, but one that is fast and unfair would be disastrous for people who could be sent back to face torture or death if the wrong decision is made on their asylum claim.
“No one would argue with the fact that we need a more efficient process – refugees themselves despair of how inefficient the current one is. But reform does not just mean tighter controls and faster throughput. We recognised the need for secure borders, but it is very important that our doors remain open to refugees looking for a place of safety.”