Nationality and Borders Bill (an update)

This article sets out the background to the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Since March 2022, the Bill has ping ponged between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, but has now been passed into law.

The Lords sought, unsuccessfully, to remove or amend some of the more controversial aspects of the Bill;

  • The Lords supported lifting the ban on the right of asylum seekers to work while awaiting the outcome of their application.  The Commons rejected this.
  • The Lords sought to introduce an amendment to ensure that the new law would be compatible with the 1951 Refugee Convention.  The Commons removed this.
  • The Lords objected to the introduction of a two-tier system for those arriving in the country.  The Commons insisted this be retained. 

There are very few official routes to arrive when seeking asylum. It will become a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally.  Those arriving outside of the limited official routes may also be denied the opportunity to claim asylum, or may only obtain temporary protection, and will face regular reviews for deportation.

Liberal Democrat Lord Paddick said he was "appalled" and "disgusted" by the bill, while Labour former shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti accused the Commons of giving "two fingers" to the Lords.

With the Bill now passed without significant amendment, the Home Office plan to deport refugees to Rwanda may be followed through.  However the Government is already facing legal challenge on this, and have recently scrapped their ‘pushback’ policy regarding Channel migrants shortly before it was due to be challenged in the High Court.

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