Parliamentary briefing: Illegal Migration Bill – committee stage

Ahead of the committee stage of the Illegal Migration Bill, which begins on 27 March, we are briefing MPs on our concerns about the bill relating to non-compliance with international law, access to justice and workability.
The white cliffs of Dover on the south coast of England during a storm.

This briefing outlines our views on the bill ahead of the committee stage, which begins on 27 March.

The bill aims to deal with migrants who have entered the UK via irregular means by:

  • removing them back to their home country or a ‘safe’ third country such as Rwanda
  • block them from accessing modern slavery protections
  • only hearing human rights claims after removal

Our view

We have concerns about the bill across three different areas.

Non-compliance with international law

We have recognised that the bill is likely to be incompatible with the:

  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • United Nations Refugee Convention
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Adhering to the rule of law means abiding by the UK’s international commitments as well as the obligations placed upon it by domestic law.

In its current form, the bill is likely to be incompatible with our obligations under international law.

The current bill could do significant damage to our international reputation – in particular to our attractiveness as a destination for international business and investment.

Access to justice

The bill’s overall effect is likely to bar access to justice for asylum seekers who arrive by unofficial routes.

It inverts a fundamental principle of British justice by preventing individuals from accessing certain legal protections, bringing any sort of appeal or relying on British courts to enforce their legal rights, no matter the merits of their case.

Those covered by this removal of legal rights of due process include people who have been trafficked into the UK and children (both accompanied and unaccompanied).

They will be disqualified from modern slavery protections and will be subject to detention and swift removal.


We are seriously concerned that the provisions in the bill will ultimately be unworkable and incapable of being implemented in practice.

This is due to it being reliant on a number of factors which cannot be controlled via legislation and which have so far proved to be problematic.