UKLGIG’s response to government’s New Plan for Immigration

UKLGIG’s response to government’s New Plan for Immigration

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On 24th March 2021 the government announced changes to the asylum system, which include proposals such as:

  • Housing people in reception centres, potentially overseas, while their asylum claim is being processed
  • Moving those refused asylum through a fast-tracked appeals process and curtailing the right to challenge decisions
  • Requiring all evidence to be submitted at the beginning of the asylum process, telling judges to give “minimal weight” to evidence raised later and requiring a higher standard of proof for these
  • “Clarifying” what qualifies as a “well-founded fear of persecution” and making it “much harder” for people to be granted refugee status based on “unsubstantiated” claims.

 

Responding to the government’s proposals, Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), said:

“It’s already hard for LGBTQI+ people who are fleeing persecution to get safety in the UK, and these harsh proposals will make it even harder. Many of them will have been hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity for a long time, and this government is asking them to overcome a lifetime of discrimination and fear to disclose that they are LGBTQI+ to a complete stranger immediately on arrival in a new country and expecting them to provide evidence at the same time.”

“Imagine how hard it must be to try to prove your sexual orientation or gender identity, especially if you have been forced to hide it. People are already being incorrectly refused protection because the Home Office is setting the bar too high for LGBTQI+ asylum claims, and they are going to raise it even higher.”

“Forcing people seeking asylum into reception centres will be tantamount to torture for LGBTQI+ people put there. They will be bullied, harassed and assaulted, when they should be allowed to live in our communities and connect safely with other LGBTQI+ people. Keeping people in such a dangerous environment will force them into the closet for their own protection. That doesn’t help when you have to ‘prove’ you are LGBTQI+ in order for the government to allow you to stay here. This essentially amounts to a double punishment for LGBTQI+ people seeking safety.”

“These proposed changes create a cruel system. They strip processes and procedures out of the asylum system that any decent society would want to see, and reduce the ability of people to challenge decisions that could see them returned to a country where they would be harmed. This government should focus on creating a kind and compassionate asylum system, rather than on causing further distress to people who are only looking for a place to live in safety and dignity.”

Working with PIRC, NEON and other organisations who support LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum, UKLGIG have produced a messaging guide on communicating issues around LGBTQI+ asylum

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Author: Philip

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