Today saw the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, which set out the Government’s agenda for the next session.
As anticipated, a bill containing a number of the proposals set out in the New Plan for Immigration was unveiled – legislation that has previously been referred to as the Sovereign Borders Bill.
These proposals pave the way for sweeping changes to the way the UK fulfils its international obligation to those seeking asylum, most notably by proposing differential treatment according to the way a refugee arrived in the UK. You can read more about these changes here.
Responding to the proposals outlined in today’s Queen’s Speech, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:
“Providing protection for people uprooted by war and conflict and in need of safety, regardless of how they manage to reach our shores, is a hugely important part of who we are as a nation. We have a long tradition of providing protection for people who have gone on to become proud British citizens, contributing as doctors, nurses and entrepreneurs to our communities.
“Through its new immigration bill, this government is seeking to undermine this vital commitment by unjustly differentiating between refugees based on how they arrived here. This is a cruel and unfair approach that slams the door in the face of people who could be in urgent need of our protection.
“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN Convention on refugees this year, we urge this government to support all those in need of protection and immediately expand safe routes for many more refugees.”