Kent Law Clinic Solicitor Sheona York and Immigration Caseworker Richard Warren, have responded to a Home Office open consultation on the ‘New Plan for Immigration’ with a comprehensive submission that sets out what they believe to be the “real ills, or mischiefs, which underlie Britain’s ‘broken’ asylum system”.
Sheona and Richard opted to send a 30-page document instead of completing the Home Office’s online questionnaire on the Gov.UK website because – as they explain in their preamble within their submission – they “take issue with the assumptions on which the Plan appears to be based.”
Their submission presents what they believe “to be the real ills, or mischiefs, which underlie Britain’s ‘broken’ asylum system, and propose some reforms directed against those real ills.”
The Home Office ‘New Plan for Immigration‘ has three objectives:
- To increase the fairness and efficacy of our system so that we can better protect and support those in genuine need of asylum
- To deter illegal entry into the UK, thereby breaking the business model of criminal trafficking networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger
- To remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be here
In their submission responding to the Plan, Sheona and Richard argue that:
- the proposals rest on “a distorted understanding of our obligations under the Refugee Convention”
- the Plan “ignores the real problem with the asylum system, and consequently attacks the wrong targets”
- The proposed ‘one-stop’ process is not new and has been ‘ruptured’ by the Home Office itself
- There are legal problems in the asylum system
- Enforcement as a solution is flawed
- Although better access to legal advice is an excellent idea, the Plan needs to go further to address bureaucratic problems and issues with judicial and administrative resources
The submission also addresses trafficking referrals, and misuse and misunderstanding of criminal and civil liability. It concludes with a presentation of statistics that challenges “unsubstantiated claims” made within the Plan.
Sheona York is a specialist in immigration law. She has research expertise on issues arising from recent and current UK immigration policies such as the aim to reduce net migration, to discourage unlawful migrants through the ‘hostile environment’ and to deport foreign criminals. Her main legal issues of interest are removability and statelessness, fresh claims for asylum and the effects on families of the narrowing interpretation of article 8 ECHR.
Richard Warren is an Immigration Caseworker and Research Associate at Kent Law Clinic. He is an accredited IAAS Level 2 Senior Immigration Caseworker with more than 10 years’ experience representing asylum seekers, refugees and migrants at all stages of the asylum/immigration process. He works closely with local NGOs and refugee charities and contributes to academic and public debate on immigration issues.
Kent Law Clinic has provided legal advice and representation in immigration, asylum and nationality law for more than 20 years. The team support people living in Kent who have no access to legal aid and who cannot afford a solicitor. Law Clinic students work on clients’ cases as part of their law degrees and Law Clinic staff publish academic research and conference papers based on their casework experience.