In 2021, the UK Government introduced the Nationality and Borders Bill to parliament. This followed a consultation on the Home Office ‘New Plan for Immigration’ earlier this year.
The bill could have a major effect on the way this country responds to those in need of sanctuary. It seeks to introduce new policies which differentiate between the way asylum seekers are treated depending on how they reach the UK, among others.
Key points of the bill include:
- Making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission
- Creating a ‘two-tier’ asylum system, so that the route via which someone arrives in the UK will determine the way a claim for asylum is processed. People arriving in the UK via an ‘irregular’ route (e.g. a channel crossing) will be sent back to a ‘safe’ country they passed through on their way to the UK, or granted only temporary permission to stay in the UK, with limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits.
- Increasing the punishment for people smugglers and gangs who facilitate entry to the UK
- Introducing “reception centres” for asylum seekers and those whose claims have been rejected, providing “simple, safe and secure accommodation” while claims and returns are being processed
- Streamlining and integrating the legal and asylum claim processes
Campaign on the Nationality and Borders Bill
Many Church leaders and Christian organisations have expressed concern about these proposals. Many of the measures risk creating more injustices in the system which will increase the trauma and pain experienced by asylum seekers attempting to reach safety in the UK.
Download our new campaign pack, which helps you Prepare, Pray, Participate and Persuade around the bill.
What have Churches said about the bill?
In February 2022, more than 1000 faith leaders from across the UK wrote to the Prime Minister, calling for urgent changes to the Nationality and Borders Bill.
JPIT’s denominations have joined Together With Refugees, a coalition of charities, faith groups and international development groups who believe in standing up for people’s ability to seek safety in the UK no matter how they came here.
Throughout the bill, we’ll be campaigning to try and change the proposed legislation so that it better reflects the dignity and value of people who come to the UK to seek sanctuary.
Stages of the bill
The Bill passed into the House of Lords in December 2021. It is now at Report Stage, which is where the Bill is scrutinised and amendments suggested.
Join our mailing list
JPIT are hosting an online gathering of local individuals and groups who would like to campaign on the Nationality and Borders Bill. Sign up to be included in our email update list, and to be sent details of online briefings during the Bill’s time in parliament.