The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has announced new plans to change the asylum seeker rules in Britain at the Conservative Party conference being held in Manchester.
May has said that the new policy will be aimed at offering asylum to those whom have been affected by war and oppression, rather than those wealthy and healthy enough to reach Britain.
In her speech, May said: “The system is geared towards helping those most able to access it, and sometimes manipulate it, for their own ends – those who are young enough, fit enough, and hace the resources to get into Britain. But that means support is too often denied to the most vulnerable and those most in need of our help.”
More specifically, May has said she wants far fewer asylum claims by those already living in Britain. “So, wherever possible,” said May, “I want to offer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. I want us to work to reduce the asylum claims made in Britain, and as we do so increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions.”
May goes on to state that the government intends to expand the “safe return reviews” to send back any asylum seekers whose home country has “improved”.
May also targeted those using student visas to remain in Britain. Speaking on those who use student visas, May said: “We welcome students coming to study. But the fact is, too many of them are not returning home as soon as their visa runs out. If they have a graduate job, that is fine. If not, they must return home. So I don’t care what the university lobbyists say: the rules must be enforced.”
However, May’s speech has been heavily criticised by the Refugee Council, a charity that supports refugees in Britain. The charity called the speech “chilling”.
The Refugee Council’s Chief Executive, Maurice Wren, wrote on the charity’s website: “The Home Secretary’s clear intention to close Britain’s border to refugees fleeing for their lives in thoroughly chilling, as is her bitter attack on the fundamental principle enshrined in international law that people fleeing presecution should be able to claim asylum in Britain.
“Instead of seeking to close the door on refugees reaching Britain by creating the idea that they are somehow unworthy of our help, the Home Secretary should focus her efforts on reforming Britain’s asylum system so it treats people with the dignity and respect they so desperately need.”
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