Five panellists pictured, Emily Crowley from STAR, Jon Featonby from the Red Cross, Sophie Morbey from Oxfam, Walter from the voices Network and Alexa Netty from SolidariTee

28 May 2021

In case you missed it, in March the government proposed a series of unfair changes to the UK’s asylum system entitled the New Plan for Immigration.

In an open consultation, the public was invited to give feedback on the proposals. The UN Refugee Agency has called the plan ‘discriminatory’ and warned it would abandon the UK’s commitment under the UN Refugee Convention – a global treaty protecting the rights of refugees, co-drafted and first signed by the UK more than 50 years ago.

Together, we took action

We’re proud to say, as a network, we mobilised:

  • 40 people to attend our webinar explaining the plan and supporting them to complete the consultation, held in collaboration with SolidariTee and the British Red Cross
  • 1,000 people to access our recording of the webinar
  • 194 people to access our guide on filling in the consultation

Thank you to all our STARs and supporters for taking a stand against the plan. Together we made our voices heard and showed up for refugees. The results are currently being analysed before being made public.

The consultation was not offered in good faith or fit for purpose. It did not prioritise the lived experiences of people seeking asylum. It was inaccessible and confusing to fill out, and it closed in an unusually short time-frame. That’s why, along with 200 other organisations, we added our name to an open letter stating publicly that the consultation was a sham.

It’s not over yet

On 11 May, the New Plan for Immigration was announced as the Sovereign Borders Bill in the Queen’s Speech. We expect the Sovereign Borders Bill to:

  • be published in parliament in June 2020
  • be debated in parliament in July 2020
  • progress through parliament between September 2021 and January 2022
  • become law in February 2022

When a bill goes through parliament, it goes through several different stages of debate and amendment before it becomes law. We will stand against the Sovereign Borders Bill as we stood against the New Plan for Immigration. At every possible stage, we will work together as a national network to fight against this cruel and unfair plan.

As we await further developments, we need your help to keep fighting. If you’re graduating this year, make sure you sign up to stay informed and stay part of our movement making the UK a more welcoming place for refugees.

Why we’re fighting

Alongside us, numerous organisations have pointed out the flaws and risks inherent in these proposed changes to our asylum system.

STAR’s key concerns are how the Sovereign Borders Bill would mean that:

  • A cruel two-tier system that discriminates against people based on how they enter the UK would be created.
  • Instead of being allowed to live in the community, people seeking asylum would be housed in ‘reception centres’.
  • People seeking asylum who have arrived by irregular means – such as by crossing the channel in a boat – would become ‘inadmissible’ to the UK’s asylum system and returned to another ‘safe’ third country.
  • More people would be forced to take dangerous journeys to reunite with their loved ones, because of plans to limit family reunion rights for those who enter the UK irregularly.

If, like us, you’re determined to stop this from becoming our reality, make sure you’re on our mailing list so you never miss an opportunity to stand up for refugees.

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