Petition Process all asylum seekers off-shore using foreign aid budget
The proposal to process asylum seekers abroad is a humanitarian one and could combat people smugglers. This should ensure the United Kingdom only receives certified refugees at the end of the process. This should be entirely funded out of the Foreign Aid budget.
This response was given on 19 August 2021
The Nationality and Borders Bill supports potential future processing of asylum claims outside the UK. Overseas development assistance is spent following international rules on what constitutes aid.
The Government is working closely with international partners to fix our broken asylum system. We are talking with a range of partners about how we could work together in the future. We are committed to comprehensive reform of our broken asylum system.
We recognise the challenge of illegal migration. Changes captured within clause 26 and Schedule 3 of the Nationality and Borders Bill support the future processing of asylum claims outside of the UK and in another country. This legislation will make it possible to remove someone to a safe third country whilst their asylum claim is being considered, without having to issue a certificate in every case if viable options with third countries are established.
People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach rather than making dangerous journeys to the UK. The processing of asylum claims overseas would send a clear message that those who reach the UK via dangerous and unnecessary journeys across Europe, facilitated by criminal smugglers, may be eligible to be transferred to another safe country not of their choosing.
Whilst people are dying making perilous journeys, we must fix the system to prevent abuse of the asylum system and the criminality associated with it.
We are committed to upholding our international obligations, including the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol. Therefore, we recognise there may be groups or individuals for whom asylum processing outside the UK may not be appropriate.
All UK overseas development assistance (ODA) is spent in line with the international rules on what constitutes aid set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Development Assistance Committee (DAC). This includes eligible costs associated with asylum. The UK works closely with the OECD DAC and other like-minded donors to ensure the aid rules keep pace with the new challenges that we face.
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