What Does the Illegal Migration Bill Mean for Modern Slavery?
Following the publication of the Illegal Migration Bill, EachOther summarises developments in the Bill and what it could mean for victims of modern slavery in the UK.
On 13 March, the Bill passed its first vote in parliament, with a majority of 63 votes. While the vote was taking place, chants of “refugees are welcome here” could be heard from parliament square.
Following the publication of the Bill, Sunak took to Twitter to share a post that read: “If you come to the UK illegally, you can’t claim asylum, you can’t benefit from our modern slavery protections, you can’t make spurious human rights claims, you can’t stay.”
The post, which has now received over 17,000 replies, received backlash for multiple reasons: its tone-deaf approach, claiming that invoking protections under the Human Rights Act is disingenuous, and for being the first time the prime minister has forwardly stated that he will deny vulnerable people protection from the modern slavery system. A system that was created to identify people who are being trafficked and forced into slavery.
Human rights lawyer Shoaib M Khan responded to the prime minister’s tweet, saying: “So, the best way for a modern slaver to ensure their actions are never investigated is to force their victim to enter the UK illegally.”
The Home Office are not only under scrutiny for the potential treatment of people if the Bill passes but they are also under scrutiny for alleged exploitation of asylum seekers.
In February, Open Democracy revealed that the Home Office has allegedly paid asylum seekers £1 an hour to carry out more than a million hours of work in the past five years. The government not only stands accused of turning away victims of modern slavery, but is also facing questions of labour exploitation themselves. Documents seen by Open Democracy showed detainees in immigration centres run by Home Office contractors are allegedly working hundreds of thousands of hours a year for measly pay.
The Bill seeks to deter people from coming to the UK ‘unlawfully’ – in other words, those arriving on small boats across the Channel and not through official routes. ‘Official routes’ is a process where someone is able to seek refuge in the UK because they are from a country the UK has a visa scheme with, eg Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
The legislation has two main components: the threat of removal, either to the country you were born in or another ‘safe country’. One of those countries is Rwanda, following the signing of a £120m migration partnership scheme with the Rwandan government.
The second way the Bill intends to deter people crossing the Channel is by denying them access to the asylum system or lawful immigration status. The same would apply to anyone who enters outside normal immigration laws. This means that no one arriving in the UK on small boats would be allowed to enter the UK again.
There are no official schemes available for people coming from Syria, Sudan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq or Yemen. The Refugee Council said that for Albanian nationals, things are more complex, with claims more likely to be successful for women or children.
Nimco Ali OBE, a former advisor to the Home Office who was a child refugee from Somaliland, said the home secretary was: “the wrong person not just for the Conservative party but for the country”. Ali stated that the government’s failure to widen routes open to Ukrainians to other refugees seem “painful” and “racist”.
Some experts have pointed out that the Bill as a piece of legislation is flawed – in that it does does not outline the steps for it to be implemented. Colin Yeo from the immigration advice website Free Movement explained: “Clause 2 imposes duty on the home secretary to remove asylum seekers and others who enter the UK in breach of normal immigration laws. The fundamental problem with the legislation is that it does nothing to assist the home secretary in actually implementing that duty. It is wishful thinking in legislative form.”
The government wishes to proceed despite it ‘not’ being compatible with ECHR Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the minister in charge of a Bill to make a statement before second reading to say the Bill is compatible with the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights, or that they are unable to make such a statement, but the government wishes parliament to proceed with the Bill.
Home secretary Suella Braverman has now confirmed to parliament that unaccompanied children will be exempt from detention and removal from UK under the bill. Braverman stated during the Bill’s second reading: “[The Bill] will not be applied to detain and remove unaccompanied asylum-seeking children”. … See MoreSee Less
Homes for Ukraine – Online Event Are you be able to offer help and accommodation? After a year of war, there are still many people who would like to come to the UK and need our help. St John Of God (SJOG) Homes for Ukraine is an official provider of this government scheme and will be offering guidance about hosting at an online event in partnership with Caritas Diocese of Plymouth on 22 March 2023.
Timeline photosA #Prayer for the third Sunday in #Lent.
God of the wild moorland and the comfortable living room; present beside the warm hearth and on the rain-sodden road: in you, we see the worth of each fragile, human life and recognise a planet supporting us, and entrusted to us.
In a world of violence and discrimination, exploitation and suffering, and on this planet where the lives of those who are poorest are the most precarious, do not let us sit back in judgment.
Instead, inspire us to get up, walk further and give more so that peace and security might prosper, and the fruit of the Earth grow well for the good of all; through Christ our Lord we pray.
Timeline photosToday we stay and pray for the news that spending on libraries has fallen by 17% despite in-person visits increasing by 68% since the pandemic. God, we pray that libraries would not be under more pressure, and these spaces for learning and community would be financially protected.
On the eve of the Funeral of Chris Parry, the young Truro-born volunteer recently killed in Ukraine, the people of Cornwall and members of the Ukrainian community will unite in a Vigil of prayer for p…
Lent is a season of repentance and renewal. We turn away from our sinfulness and recommit ourselves to following Jesus. See our Lent Prayer & Reflections here bit.ly/3XPqLrH #acnuk #resources #getinvolved #lent #easter #lessonplans #activitypacks #schools … See MoreSee Less
For people who live in extreme poverty, life seems to be a permanently locked door.
God never changes, but God creates change. The call to repent that repeats throughout scripture is also a declaration that things don’t have to be the way they are. What seems closed can be opened when we open ourselves to God. The Holy Spirit can make a way through even the bleakest wilderness.
This is a belief that we can take into Lent. Through our prayers, we can be a part of opening a door for someone trapped in extreme poverty. However you choose to observe Lent, we pray that it will be a spiritually rich time for you. Let us join together in praying for this season. … See MoreSee Less
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Timeline photos𝗔 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗧𝘂𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗮 God, we pray for those who are facing unimaginable hardships and sorrow at this time.
We remember before you the injured and trapped, waiting for help as rescuers struggle to reach them.
We pray for those who have been bereaved, and who are facing life without those they loved.
We think of those who have lost everything, and do not know what to do or where to turn.
We pray for the rescuers, desperate to help and risking their own lives to do so.
God of all comfort, we pray that you will draw near to the broken-hearted, that you will strengthen the hands of those who do good, and that those who are in the midst of this terrible trial will find relief and restoration.
We ask that your people in Turkey and Syria will know your presence with them, and will be strengthened to endure and to witness to your love and grace; and that your people throughout the world will be moved to prayer and to active compassion. — Photo credit: Shigeki Tao/Reuters A collapsed hotel in south Turkey … See MoreSee Less
Generous God, fill our hearts, inspire our souls, and challenge our minds as we navigate the paradoxes of life, that we may love you in the heights and depths of our being, and so learn how to love our neighbours as ourselves with wisdom, grace and compassion. May our love be humble yet courageous, sensitive not presumptuous, and kind and generous in all things; even as you gave your all in Jesus Christ, and outpour your life through the Holy Spirit, through whose presence we pray. Amen.
God of the shadows sharing our pain and our tears and our struggle draining the cup of what it is to be human – we watch with you.
God of the night sharing our fears and our prayers and our restlessness measuring the road between living and dying – we watch with you.
God of the dawn sharing the questions we never dare ask you, yearning in us for the light of your glory – we watch with you.
Heavy stone rubble from the Abbey on the table at our service of prayers for healing tonight. We remembered the dead, the dying and every person & community hurt by the disastrous earthquake along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Today, we mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Genocide is a deep wound in the heart of humanity – one that we must not turn aside from when called to look upon it. Days like today are vital. They are days for weeping, for remembering, and for declaring ‘never again’.
These events did not happen that long ago. Survivors of the Holocaust still walk among us, as do those from atrocities in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. They call us to remember – and to live lives of light.
Hatred and prejudice have not gone away. They must be resisted daily. There are people all over the world being persecuted, oppressed and killed simply for who they are. We will never be silent about such acts. We will never stop striving to build a better world for all.
‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Romans 12:21)
May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within. May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire, so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it. And may light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in the window of a house, bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm. And may the blessing of the rain be on you, may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines, and sometimes a star. And may the blessing of the earth be on you, soft under your feet as you pass along the roads, soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day; and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it. May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God. And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.