UK’s Illegal Migration Bill on its way to becoming law

London: In a victory for the Rishi Sunak government, the UK House of Lords passed the Illegal Migration Bill, a law that will make it the Home Secretary’s “duty” to remove illegal migrants from the UK and significantly change existing protections for asylum seekers.

By decreasing access to routes to asylum, the Bill seeks to deter illegal migration to the country – especially via small boats crossing the English Channel. The United Nations’ (UN) refugee and human rights heads criticized the legislation.

The Bill was passed this week after successfully seeing off challenges from Conservative MPs and a cross-party group of peers (i e, members of the House of Lords). Members of Parliament had overturned several suggestions from the House of Lords including a (shortened) time limit of three days on the detention of unaccompanied minors and prohibitions on sending LGBT migrants to 10 countries (mostly in Africa).

The new Bill would also permit the government to detain children for up to eight days, and that too only if they applied for bail. The UK government will hope that the Bill will bolster its attempts to stop illegal channel crossings.

‘Stop the boats’- was one of Sunak’s five declared priorities in January this year. Some 45% of asylum applications in 2022 were from those who crossed the English Channel to reach the UK.

A plan to remove refugees to Rwanda was declared illegal by the UK Court of Appeal, although the government plans to appeal the decision in the country’s Supreme Court. (The Hindu)

Image courtesy of Twitter@RishiSunak

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