The UK Government has opened a 6 week consultation on the ‘New Plan for Immigration’ proposals, which will end on 6th May 2021. They are inviting individual contributions, and collective responses from organisations.
We are encouraging everyone who is able to respond to the consultation. Here you can find a ‘how to’ guide to get started.
Where can I find the consultation?
You can find the consultation here:
You have until 6th May at 11:59pm to fill out the consultation.
Why are the government doing this consultation?
The government have a statutory obligation to consult on some areas of their proposals, including on family reunion rights. The consultation also seeks to gauge opinion on the proposals made by the Home Office as they seek to reform the asylum system. Responses made here may be taken into consideration as policy is developed.
What does the consultation look like?
The Consultation includes multiple choice and freeform questions. These cover the eight main areas of the proposals.
You will have to sign up to fill out the consultation. This means you can return to the questions at a time which suits you. Personal information is only gathered for the purposes of setting up the account, and won’t be shared with the Home Office or anyone else.
None of the core questions are compulsory to complete and questions can be skipped – you can answer as many questions as you would like.
What will the consultation ask me?
The consultation covers the main areas of the New Plan for Immigration proposals:
(i) Protecting those fleeing persecution, oppression and tyranny;
(ii) Ending anomalies, and delivering fairness in British Nationality Law;
(iii) Reforming the asylum system;
(iv) Streamlining asylum claims and appeals;
(v) Supporting victims of modern slavery;
(vi) Disrupting criminal networks behind people smuggling;
(vii) Enforcing removals, including foreign national offenders
Some questions will be multiple choice, including asking how strongly you agree or disagree with the proposals, and how effective you think proposals are. There is also the chance to fill out your own free-text response for some questions.
Most of the questions refer to the New Plan for Immigration policy proposals. Some of the questions also refer to separate information sheets on other policies, provided as part of the consultation. It will be helpful for you to read this information before completing the consultation.
What if I don’t know anything about immigration policy?
You don’t need to be an expert in immigration policy to fill out the consultation! All you need to bring is your own experience, and your understanding of what makes a fair and safe asylum system.
You don’t have to fill out every question, and you might choose to only select areas you think are most relevant to you.
It is powerful and relevant to bring your own experience – of the asylum system, of living in the UK, of your connections with refugees and asylum seekers. We would encourage you to include these in your response.
The consultation offers an important opportunity to raise concerns about the current system and the proposals, and suggest productive ways forward.
My church works with asylum seekers and refugees. Which bits might be most relevant to me?
Every section of the consultation contains detailed proposals which affect different groups. If you work with asylum seekers and refugees and want to address these proposals, you might find the following sections of the consultation most relevant:
Chapter 1: Overview of the current system (Questions 1-3)
Here there is a chance to offer things the government should consider as part of their plans to reform the asylum system. This is a chance to include evidence from your context, and any objectives you consider the government to be missing in the creation systems to deal with asylum and illegal migration.
Chapter 2: Protecting those fleeing persecution, oppression and tyranny (Questions 4-7)
These questions offer a chance to give feedback on the proposals for continuing safe and legal routes into the UK for refugees. This includes suggestions for future resettlement schemes.
Questions 8 – 14: Family reunion for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
This section offers a chance to make suggestions about resettlement for vulnerable asylum-seeking children and family reunification. This includes future policy proposals around adult and children asylum seekers in the EU and outside of the EU.
Chapter 4: Disrupting criminal networks and reforming the asylum system (Questions 19 – 25)
Here you can comment on the proposals for differentiation between asylum seekers who come via regular and irregular routes. This includes practical considerations around the impact and effectiveness of these proposals. This is a good opportunity to express views about the impact of the proposals on the wellbeing and treatment of asylum claimants.
Chapter 5: Streamlining Asylum Claims and Appeals (Questions 26 – 30)
These questions present the chance to address the ‘good faith’ requirement and ‘one-stop process’, and the impact and effectiveness of these proposals. They offer the chance to comment on the impact of these proposals on the wellbeing of asylum seekers during the claim process.
Chapter 7: Disrupting criminal networks behind people smuggling (specifically Question 33 and 37)
These questions address tougher criminal offences for those who attempt to illegally enter the UK and people smugglers. This presents a chance to address the criminalisation of asylum seekers who come via irregular routes.
Public Sector Equality Duty (Question 42 – 45)
These questions address the potential for the policies outlined to have a disproportionate impact on individuals protected by the equalities act. This is a chance to address the potential for discrimination, and potentially raise the Windrush Lessons Learned review.
Why is it helpful to respond to the consultation?
The proposals seek to change the way people seeking asylum in the UK are treated. These proposals will alter the everyday experience of people who have come to the UK fleeing persecution and conflict, whether via a regular or irregular route. They have the potential to foster human flourishing, or hinder it. Taking the opportunity to share the importance of creating a system which promotes human dignity and fosters flourishing is an important witness of our belief in the inherent worth of all people, as created by God.
What are the churches saying about the consultation?