Worrying plans to hold people seeking asylum in processing centres abroad, offshore from the UK, have been shared by the Home Office, as reported in The Times (external link to full article) today. It is expected Home Secretary Priti Patel will publish details next week of plans for changes to the asylum and immigration system in the upcoming ‘Sovereign Borders Bill’. We expect it will include a consultation on changing the law so that people seeking asylum can be sent to processing centres in other countries.
The recent announcement of offshore centres come alongside plans to build “reception centres” to act as initial accommodation for people seeking asylum.
Sarah Teather Director of JRS UK said: “Sending those seeking asylum in the UK abroad for processing abroad is a cruel and inhumane proposal from the government. It is designed to add further barriers stopping the most vulnerable from being able to seek sanctuary in the UK and in practice would be devastating for hundreds of people in need.
“Clear evidence from Australia shows that offshore detention of this kind has a horrifying impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of those who have had no choice but to make treacherous journeys to safety. Those forced to flee their homes due to violence and persecution have already experienced months, sometimes years of trauma on their perilous journeys to the UK, where they are banned from working, renting accommodation and often forced in to destitution; they must be met with the dignity and compassion they deserve.”