Priti Patel promises overhaul of asylum seeker rules

Article by our Solicitor Keerum Akhtar 24.03.021
Yet again, Priti Patel claims the headlines with her plans to “crack” down on asylum.
Whilst a fair asylum process,  more reasonable then the one we currently have is welcomed the information projected is not in touch with the reality that many asylum seekers  face.
As practitioners  who have battled the asylum system along with many colleagues for the best part of  20 years, we  have heard countless stories of the tribulations faced by those that claimed asylum in third countries.
The UK accounts for just 1% of the world’s refugees. By March 2020, there were 35,099 new asylum claims made in the UK. Not the millions, that right wing tabloids would have people believe.
Most, want to be productive and contribute to society whether that is through work or a further education.  Prior to this pandemic, there were many places, areas such as Birmingham, Manchester, London, with thriving restaurants, and retail outlets, by self-employed  migrants, who have  made positive contributions to society and the economy.
Abuse of any system is a hazard, but how does the Home Secretary propose to scrutinize and ensure that this does not infringe with basic human rights and breach our own obligations.
The Home Secretary plans to take a harder line on the people smuggling operations and criminal gang networks, seeming to ignore that many people who enter through clandestine methods, are potentially victims of human trafficking themselves.  Therefore, how do we ensure that the victim of the network, the person who needs asylum is still  able to access it.
The statement about those claiming asylum in third countries,  again, neglecting that there are many that do claim in third  countries but then say that our European counterparts do not offer a robust or  humanitarian system like that offered in the UK. We have all seen the images of the Calais jungle, and we have heard many stories of people claiming asylum in a third country, not given any access to housing support, or being forced to sleep under a bridge in the city whilst their claim is being decided.
Rather than focus on the same rhetoric and blame the asylum seeker, perhaps  the system in  third countries should also be scrutinized to see why they are not offering the same standards as the UK to those seeking asylum, and why they are not operating stricter checkpoints. The problem is not the individual it is a whole system which includes all governments who are party to the Convention to fulfil their own obligations.
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