In July 2021, the government introduced the Nationality and Borders Bill following its “new plan for immigration” consultation earlier that year.

We at the Evangelical Alliance were engaged from the very beginning, producing a written submission to the consultation and select committees, through to meeting with MPs and Peers as the bill passed through parliament.

Read our consultation submission here.

The Nationality and Borders Act received royal assent on 22 April 2022. The act:

  • introduces a two-tier asylum system, meaning those men, women and children that enter the UK through irregular routes like small boats, lorries or plane are less protected in law;
  • increases maximum penalty for illegally” entering the UK or overstaying a visa to four years in prison;
  • places an additional requirement on those seeking asylum to show good cause for entering unlawfully;
  • introduces penalties for late submission of evidence and shortens the appeal process;
  • creates accommodation centres where those seeking asylum and failed applicants are processed, where a decision is then made which country to remove them to; and
  • grants the home secretary powers to declare an asylum claim inadmissible if the individual has travelled through another country and failed to seek asylum there.

Our view

We are deeply disappointed and believe this is a missed opportunity by the government to establish an asylum and refugee system centred on the dignity of all people.

We believe there is little commitment to create new safe and legal routes which is essential for reducing dangerous crossings on the English Channel, routes that are so desperately needed for Christians fleeing persecution from North Africa and the Middle East. Also, the act fails to place a statutory duty on local authorities to improve access to public services, work or suitable accommodation, leaving thousands destitute in communities across the UK.

For many, the process to gain refugee status takes too long and is a retraumatising experience; these concerns are reinforced by the Nationality and Borders Act.

Here’s how you can continue to support those seeking asylum

As evangelicals, we have a biblical mandate to welcome the stranger into our nation and communities.

While the law places greater restrictions on those seeking asylum, there are Christian organisations across the UK doing incredible work to equip the church in how they support those seeking asylum to better integrate into local communities. Please consider joining Welcome Churches Network or the Sanctuary Foundation.

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