Asylum News

Rwanda Bill update (20th March 2024)

The House of Lords inflicted seven defeats on the Prime Minister’s Rwanda deportation bill on Wednesday.

The legislation is an attempt to strengthen the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to the East African country. Having seen previous planned flights cancelled due to a Supreme Court ruling that the plan could breach human rights law, the bill declares Rwanda to be a ‘safe third country’.

The plan is designed to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel, and is integral to Rishi Sunak’s ‘stop the boats’ campaign.

The bill will return to the House of Commons after Easter, entering what is known as the ‘ping pong’ phase – in which the bill is passed between the House of Lords and the House of Commons until the final wording is agreed. Delays are likely to prevent the Prime Minister from fulfilling his ambition to see flights to Kigali take off by spring.

You can read more about the Rwanda scheme here.

Illegal Migration Act: Rwanda Bill (4th March 2024)

This article in BBC news reports that the government has had five defeats in the House of Lords over the bill to revive its proposed Rwanda deportation scheme. The bill will continue its passage through the Lords on Wednesday 13th March.

Housing update (7th February 2024)

This article in The Guardian reports that the Home Office has withdrawn draft legislation that would have removed housing protections for asylum seekers.

The proposed policy intended to relax regulations for landlords accommodating asylum seekers in houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), meaning landlords would no longer have to register with their local authority. The suggested change would allow landlords to accommodate asylum seekers for two years without an HMO licence, which is required for any landlord renting a property to more than one household. Under the proposed legislation, those not seeking asylum would still have been protected by this safeguarding measure.

The government suggested that the proposed legislation would increase the number of properties available to asylum seekers, however, having been met with controversy, the Home Office withdrew the legislation hours before a High Court hearing. Following the decision, anyone living in an HMO will continue to be entitled to the same protection.