New plan for immigration
The government’s proposals for the new plan for immigration were announced in March 2021.
The home secretary announced that the new plan will aim to:
- increase the fairness and efficacy of the system so that the UK can better protect and support those in genuine need of asylum
- deter illegal entry into the UK, thereby breaking the business model of criminal trafficking networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger
- remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be here
The key points of the home secretary’s proposals were:
- the government will establish a 'good faith' requirement for legal representatives
- the government will establish a fast-track appeals process and streamlined appeals system, tackling ‘meritless’ claims and appeals. All claims must be made ‘up front’, although it was not made clear how this would function. This ‘one-stop process’ is intended to speed up removals. More information can be found in the full statement
- refugees who come to the UK’s official resettlement programme will get indefinite leave to remain once they arrive
- those who arrive ‘illegally’ and successfully claim asylum will receive a new ‘temporary protection status’ rather than the right to settle. They will also have limited family reunion rights and reduced access to benefits
- members of the Windrush generation will find it easier to achieve citizenship as the British Nationality Act will be amended
- maximum life sentences will be introduced for people smugglers
In May 2021 the government published a legal migration and border control strategy statement for the new plan for immigration. The strategy statement discusses:
- the EU settlement scheme
- a global business mobility route
- an unsponsored work route
- digitising the border
- simplification of the immigration rules
Most notable, is the new ‘global business mobility’ visa which would incorporate the intra-company transferees and overseas business representative routes, UK trade commitments, and "provisions to accommodate important export related secondments".
The proposed changes to the asylum system would undermine access to justice and the rule of law.
The proposals are not supported by evidence or detail – the plan does not provide any rationale or information on how the proposals could realistically operate in practice.
Any changes should be well-evidenced, coherent, and take a trauma-informed approach, reflecting the experiences of people seeking asylum in the UK.
The suggestion of 'good faith' requirements for lawyers working in asylum would undermine trust in the justice system, as solicitors are already bound by the highest ethical and professional standards.
We strongly oppose any implication that our members do not practice in good faith already, a claim which is damaging not only to the profession but to the vulnerable clients it might deter from seeking advice.
A so-called ‘one-stop process’ would be impracticable, unrealistic, and a barrier to accessing justice for many people; it does not account for the fact that many claimants will have suffered great trauma, nor that evidence often comes to light at later stages in the process.
Our views are outlined in more detail in our full response to the consultation.
What we’re doing
If you’re a Law Society member and would like to stay informed of our work on the new plan for immigration, email Grace Toller.