Conservative Refugee Chaos

28 Sep 2023
Refugee girl behind fence.

The Runnymede Liberal Democrats are appalled at the hypocrisy of the Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. He has stood behind the Government's failed approach to dealing with refugees. The number of unresolved cases has risen from 40,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 170,000 currently.

The Liberal Democrats believe that refugees claims for asylum should be processed more quickly, so that those whose claims are rejected are repatriated sooner.  Those who’s asylum is approved can then receive work permits, allowing them to find jobs, pay taxes and not be a burden on society.    

We believe the UK has a proud history of welcoming newcomers – whether people seeking to build their lives here, or refugees fleeing war and persecution. People from all over the world have greatly enriched our economy, our culture and our communities.

But our immigration system has been broken by the Conservatives. Their damaging new rules mean British employers can’t recruit the people they need and families are separated by unfair, complex visa requirements. Their dysfunction has made the asylum backlog soar. Public confidence in the system is shattered. The Home Office is not fit for purpose.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives have closed down safe and legal routes to sanctuary, leaving desperate people to make perilous attempts to cross the Channel in small boats – often in the hands of criminal smugglers and traffickers.

Liberal Democrats are fighting for a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.

In particular, we will:

  • Scrap the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment and invest instead in officers, training and technology to tackle smuggling, trafficking and modern slavery.
  • Transfer powers over work visas, overseas students and asylum from the Home Office to other departments, and establish a new, arms-length unit to process applications quickly and correctly.
  • Scrap the Conservatives’ Illegal Migration Act and provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees, helping to prevent dangerous Channel crossings.
  • Tackle the asylum backlog by establishing a dedicated unit outside the Home Office to improve the speed and quality of asylum decision-making, introducing a service standard of three months for all but the most complex asylum claims to be processed, and speeding up returns of those without a right to stay.
  • Lift the ban on asylum seekers working if they have been waiting for a decision for more than three months, enabling them to support themselves, integrate in their communities and contribute through taxation.

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