NACCOM’s response to the Government’s New Plan for Immigration, which was launched on 24th March 2021.
“The proposals announced today as part of the New Plan for Immigration lays bare the Government’s contempt for the principle of asylum. People fleeing violence and war have the right to seek protection here. This is a precious right that the UK has upheld for 70 years; we must continue to uphold it.
People who need protection face unimaginable choices in fleeing harm with their families – safe routes are often beyond their reach. A person’s right to claim asylum in the UK can never be conditional on how they arrive here.
Temporary protection condemns people to live in limbo, with the ever-present threat of removal, preventing them from rebuilding their lives. We must treat people seeking asylum as human beings with a right to live in safety and dignity. The impact on those who aren’t afforded these basic human rights can be devastating, as our colleague Sam recently shared:
For me, experiencing [asylum] destitution especially has been really humiliating. I was left without financial support in a new city that I was displaced to. I did not know anybody and I was left without financial support…I had to beg strangers for coins so that I could buy a packet of sanitary towels. Women become vulnerable and they are at risk of exploitation but also sexual abuse. I have seen women suffer a lot [during the asylum process].
We need an immigration system that celebrates the principle of asylum, does not penalise men, women or children seeking protection for doing so, and enables people to live with dignity, safety, and the ability to rebuild their lives.
Today, the NACCOM network stands with the majority of people in the UK to defend people’s right to asylum. Britain has an opportunity to turn towards the global community, not away from it as this New Plan for Immigration would do. We must lean into this most humble responsibility – to protect people who have nowhere else to turn. We can and must do better.”
NACCOM works with our members to evidence the scale and impact of destitution in the UK asylum system. We know from recent data* gathered from our members that with support and advice, a large proportion of people who have been refused asylum are eventually granted leave to remain; the latest Home Office figures show that 44% of asylum appeals are allowed, while of the 427 people who were appeal rights exhausted and moved on from NACCOM members in2019/20, 53% secured refugee protection or were able to re-enter the asylum support system. To make decisions about their next steps and engage with services, people need – at the very minimum – a roof over their head.
*Taken from NACCOM’s membership survey 2019-2020.