Refugees and Asylum

Page updated:

Major revision October 2021

(See also Migration chapter)

Principles

RA100 The Green Party seeks not only to provide asylum to those forced from their homes but to work towards a world in which no one has to flee their home.

RA101 The Green Party acknowledges the right to claim asylum, in any country, as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The party’s policy will be underpinned by the international treaties signed by the UK, not least the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees as amended by the 1967 Protocol. We thus acknowledge the principle of non-refoulement, that is, that refugees should not be returned to any country where their life or freedom would be in danger (UN Convention art. 33), and we affirm that the right of the asylum seeker to claim protection takes precedence over any right of the state to exclude aliens, other than those guilty of war crimes, genocide, or other serious crime.

RA102 The Green Party will extend the applicable definition of a refugee to include those forced to leave their homes by reason of “external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order” (Convention of the Organisation of African Unity 1969), and affirms that global heating and environmental catastrophe are included under the term “events seriously disturbing public order”.

RA103 Humanitarian Protection will be given to those who meet the above criteria but do not fall within the definition of a refugee as given in the UN Convention, and to all those persecuted on the grounds of any characteristic protected in this country under the Equality Act 2010, such as LGBT people.

RA104 Anyone found to have been trafficked to “modern slavery” in the UK will be offered protection. This will be determined by an independent agency.

Objectives

RA200 To establish a system of asylum and humanitarian protection (hereafter protection) which treats the applicant fairly and humanely and without discrimination.

RA201 To build a world in which no one needs to seek asylum. Many Green Party policies aim to address the underlying conditions that lead people to seek protection.

General Aims

RA300 To collaborate in government with other countries to develop an international treaty to protect the rights of those forced to flee their homes as a result of the Climate Emergency.

RA301 To seek with other countries to expand the definition of a refugee, as found in the UN Convention, to include those persecuted on the grounds of any characteristic protected in this country under the Equality Act 2010, such as LGBT people.

RA302 To work with other countries to establish safe routes by which those fleeing persecution, war, or climate disaster may arrive in the country of their choice to make their case. In the interim, we will commit to accepting at least 10,000 refugees annually under the UN Resettlement Programme, in addition to giving protection to those seeking asylum. Community sponsorship will provide an additional route to protection in this country.

RA303 To make efforts to remove the effects of colonisation and past human rights abuses, accepting that these are contributory factors in forcing people to flee their homes.

Particular Aims

Administrative

RA400 The functions of the Home Office will be divided between a Department of the Interior and a Department of Migration, which, among other duties, will handle all applications for protection.

RA401 The Department of Migration will work closely with Local Government to promote the welfare of those seeking protection. It will not contract out any part of the application process or the support of those seeking protection.

RA402 The Department of Migration will house all those seeking protection in the UK within the UK and within the community.

RA403 The Department of Migration will deploy no physical or administrative barriers to prevent or deter those wishing to enter the UK to claim protection.

RA404 The Department of Migration will announce its intent to establish, in consultation with other countries, a system whereby it will be possible for those requiring it to obtain at UK embassies abroad, or online, a visa for the sole purpose of entering the UK to make a claim for asylum or protection, and to remain until  their case is decided.

RA405 Penalties imposed on commercial carriers for transporting undocumented migrants will be abolished.

RA406 A statutory duty will be placed upon the Department of Migration to consult widely, including with groups representing refugees, with charities supporting asylum-seekers, and with refugees and asylum seekers themselves, to monitor and develop the application and support systems.

RA407 The Department of Migration will work with the Department of Education and the government information service to disseminate knowledge of the situations from which those seeking asylum and resettling refugees are fleeing, and the need for and moral obligation of asylum and humanitarian protection.

Process

RA500 Claims will treated as admissible regardless of the route by which the applicants have arrived.

RA501 A neutral approach will be adopted when interviewing applicants: i.e. interviews will not be conducted from the perspective of disbelieving the applicant, and what the applicant says will be believed in the absence of contrary evidence. The object will be to establish the reasonable likelihood that the applicant requires protection. No applicant will be discriminated against in any way. All interviews will be recorded. The recording will be carried out as a video for safeguarding purposes, and the applicant will be provided with a copy of what is said, and of the video if they have the necessary equipment. Applicants will be given the opportunity to add to, or correct, anything said in their interview.

RA502 All applicants will be offered legal representation, and unaccompanied minors will be accompanied by a carer (see RA603) at their interview. All applicants will be given the opportunity to specify the gender of their interviewer.

RA503 Applicants will be interviewed in a language of their choosing, through an interpreter if requested or required.

RA504 Applications will be determined within a period of three months.

RA505 An applicant whose case is rejected will be granted the right to appeal to a tribunal or higher court as appropriate.

RA506 Applicants will be permitted to submit further evidence at any point, including after a finally rejected application. Such submissions may be made by post, or, at the applicant’s choice, in person.

RA507 Immigration detention will be abolished. An applicant who has been found not to need protection and who has exhausted all appeal rights and the six months’ grace provided for in RA607, and who then remains in the country, will be treated as a migrant not seeking asylum or protection.

RA508 There will be no requirement for any applicant, or any person whose case has been refused, to report regularly to the Department of Migration.

Support for applicants

RA600 Legal Aid will be provided to all applicants at all stages of the process, funded at a level such as to permit lawyers to undertake all work demanded by the particular case.

RA601 All applicants will be provided with accommodation and financial support, as required, from the date of their application. Financial support will be at the level of Universal Basic Income if it is in force, or at a similar level if not (adjusted if utilities and taxes are included with accommodation). Applicants will be able to access the same range of services as someone granted leave to remain.

RA602 Families seeking protection will be accommodated in a house or flat with exclusive use and without overcrowding. Single applicants may be accommodated in houses of multiple occupation but they will each have their own room. Characteristics of the individual will be used to determine the groupings within shared accommodation, and for safeguarding purposes LGBTQIA+ people will not be asked to share accommodation with others. Accommodation will not be provided in places not generally considered appropriate for civilian habitation (decommissioned prisons, military camps, ships etc.), nor in houses deemed unfit for human habitation, nor in accommodation designated exclusively for asylum seekers. Provision will depend on availability and expense, but the clustering of asylum seekers in particular areas will be avoided.

RA603 All individuals arriving in the UK and presenting as unaccompanied minors will be immediately placed in supportive care with a Local Authority, if they are not arriving to join their family, and given access to language support and education, regardless of evidence they may have in their possession. Age will be determined by independent medical assessment where there is uncertainty. For young adults who arrive in the UK up to the age of twenty but who commenced their journeys in their childhood, provision will be made to support them and to make up for lost opportunities.

RA604 All applicants will be provided with free access to all NHS facilities. That provision will remain as long as they are in the UK, even if their case is rejected. A dedicated mental health provision for those seeking protection will be established, and its services will be available to any applicant from the start of the process.

RA605 English language tuition by qualified teachers, leading to accepted certification, will be offered to all applicants at no cost.

RA606 All applicants of working age will be allowed to take up employment, with no restriction as to occupation.

RA607 Accommodation and support when an applicant has had their case rejected with all appeal rights exhausted will be continued for a further period of 6 months to allow them either to gather material for a further submission or to make preparations for their future.

RA608 No one will be left in destitution, no matter what the state of the relevant application.

Rights of those granted protection

RA700 Applicants whose case is accepted will be granted indefinite leave to remain. They will be eligible to apply for citizenship after a period of 5 years’ residency.

RA701 A settlement grant will be made to those granted protection to allow them to purchase essentials to establish a home. Assistance will be offered in the practical aspects of resettlement. They will be allowed to remain in their accommodation for up to six months.

RA702 Foreign qualifications of those granted protection will be assessed at no charge through the UK ENIC (National Information Centre for global qualifications and skills.)

RA703 The category “No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)” will be abolished.

RA704 Those granted leave to remain will have the right to bring members of their family to the UK who would normally live with them in  the country of origin, or would do so if it were permitted by law or custom. Assistance will be offered to those experiencing difficulties in applying abroad for family reunion visas.

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