How the Nationality and Borders Bill will affect women refugees and asylum seekers

Charities and organisations working with women refugees and asylum seekers have warned the bill is ‘harmful and discriminatory’ to women in particular. Lauren Crosby Medlicott reports

Monday 24 January 2022 21:30
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<p>Home secretary Priti Patel watches as a refugee has her fingerprints taken after arriving from Afghanistan on an evacuation flight</p>

Home secretary Priti Patel watches as a refugee has her fingerprints taken after arriving from Afghanistan on an evacuation flight

If we had claimed asylum under the Nationality and Borders Bill after travelling through so many countries to get here, we would have been put in detention and not granted asylum in the UK,” Anna*, an eastern European woman who travelled with her family to the UK in 2007, tells The Independent.

In July 2021, Priti Patel stood in the House of Commons among hundreds of MPs to introduce the future “cornerstone of the government’s New Plan for Immigration”. In the following months, the public was told that the Nationality and Borders Bill would transform immigration in the UK and tackle “underlying pull factors into the UK’s asylum system” – solving the problem of “mass migration” due to open borders. It’s the government’s attempt to make the system fairer and more effective, break the model of trafficking, and remove people in the UK who have no right to be here.

The bill quietly made its way through the House of Commons, securing the votes of Conservative MPs at each reading before it was passed to the House of Lords. At the start of January, members of the Lords debated the bill in its second reading, passing it through to the Committee and Report stages ahead of the third and final reading.

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