2022 Assembly


UK News: Serious Concerns around the UK’s Nationality and Borders Bill continue to be raised


The conversation around the new Nationality and Borders Bill continues to highlight the very serious concerns that the introduction of the bill will “create more people in this country who are vulnerable to exploitation” and “undermine” Britain’s ability to prosecute traffickers, the UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner said in an interview with the Independent 29.12.21.

Dame Sara Thornton said that “ministers are too often viewing modern slavery and human trafficking through an “immigration lens”, which is the “entire opposite approach” to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, a series of laws designed to combat slavery in the UK.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which passed through the House of Commons earlier this month and is due to be scrutinised by the Lords in January, will tackle illegal immigration and the “underlying pull factors into the UK’s asylum system”, according to Ms Patel.
It contains a series of changes to modern slavery support – provided under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – which the home secretary claims will prevent people from being able to “frustrate immigration action”.
Currently, any individual whom NRM decision-makers assess to have a “reasonable” likelihood of having been a modern slavery victim is entitled to a 45-day “reflection period”, during which they are offered housing, financial support and counselling, and will not be removed from the UK. A “conclusive” decision is later made on their case. But the bill would disqualify victims who have been sentenced to prison for more than 12 months anywhere in the world from accessing NRM support, and limit the timeframe in which non-British survivors can disclose that they have suffered abuse.
It would also see refugees who arrive in Britain via unauthorised routes, such as via small boat in the Channel, denied an automatic right to asylum and instead regularly reassessed for removal to safe countries they passed through, and given reduced rights in the UK in the meantime. Dame Sara said the latter change, which would likely see many people unable to work or claim state benefits, would “create more people in this country who are very vulnerable, and vulnerable to exploitation”