We are facing a UK General Election on 12 December 2019. Elections are an opportunity to change the narrative; we want all candidates and parties to commit to a new approach to refugee protection.
This is a time of unprecedented forced displacement across the world, much of it stemming from human rights abuses, grinding poverty and climate injustices. To help someone in their time of need should be a source of pride for us all. At Scottish Refugee Council, we want this election to be about positive and real change.
There should be safe and legal routes for people to claim asylum in the UK, including; a system of humanitarian visas so that people can apply for asylum from overseas; separated children in the UK should be allowed to sponsor their parents or siblings to join them; and existing safe routes must be safeguarded.
Nobody should be criminalised for claiming asylum. We call for an end to immigration detention; and no criminalisation of people who have entered the country irregularly.
The asylum system is a vital public service. We call for fundamental reform to the asylum system, including allowing people to claim asylum in Scotland and in other parts of the UK outside of Croydon; ensuring that people have access to, understand, and can exercise their rights; and investment in the system to ensure that its decisions are good-quality, fair and just.
No-one should be made destitute as a consequence of seeking refugee protection in the UK. To eradicate destitution, parties should commit to:
People should be housed in suitable, safe and functioning accommodation which is not outsourced to private companies like Serco or Mears Group.
The asylum dispersal system must be radically overhauled to ensure that it works for all – ensuring that welcoming communities have resources available and feel informed, and that newcomers feel safe and welcomed.
The two-tier approach between refugee resettlement and asylum must end. Everyone seeking refugee protection deserves statutory support, not just those who have been resettled here.
People should be able to rebuild their lives without an arbitrary review of their safety after 5 years.
Our policy team has created a basic guide to who is able to vote in a general election and how people can register to vote. You can download the guide here.