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Law Centre NI briefing on the Illegal Migration Bill

Law Centre NI has published a briefing on the Illegal Migration Bill. As described by the UN Refugee Agency, this Bill extinguishes the right to seek refugee protection.  It will result in a cohort of people living in Northern Ireland who have no prospect of ever being granted permission to stay. It will have devastating consequences for individuals seeking protection and for their families. The Bill will also have adverse implications on communities and wider society in Northern Ireland.

The Bill treads on devolved competencies, encroaching on devolved powers especially in relation to the care of unaccompanied asylum seeker children and victims of survivors of modern slavery.  Further, the Bill is likely to:

  • Breach the UK’s international obligations under the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, Convention against Trafficking, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the Windsor Framework;
  • Undermine a number of strategic priorities for the Northern Ireland Executive including the Modern Slavery Strategy for Northern Ireland, Together: Building United Communities, the Racial Equality Strategy and the forthcoming Refugee Integration Strategy;
  • Bypass Northern Ireland’s regulatory and accountability structures that safeguard children;
  • Result in an unwelcome expansion of the detention estate in Northern Ireland;
  • Impact on the operation of the land border;
  • Lead to rise in destitution and exploitation;
  • Place impossible demands on community and voluntary sector support services that are already struggling to meet needs;
  • Undermine established principles of the rule of law, including the right of access to a court.

We ask parliamentarians to reject this Bill in its entirety and call for safe and legal routes for people seeking sanctuary in the UK.    

Read the full briefing here.