India Set to Join UK's List of Safe States, Closing Asylum Options for Illegal Migrants

The United Kingdom government has unveiled plans to include India in an expanded list of safe states, aiming to streamline the process of repatriating illegal Indian migrants and preclude their eligibility for asylum in the UK.

The draft legislation, presented in the House of Commons on Wednesday, outlines India and Georgia as proposed additions to the list. The UK Home Office emphasizes that this move aims to fortify the country's immigration system and curb the misuse of unfounded protection claims.

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated, "We must stop people making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK from fundamentally safe countries." She added that expanding the list would expedite the removal of individuals with no legal right to stay, reinforcing the message that illegal entry won't lead to permission to remain. This aligns with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's commitment to "stop the boats" carrying migrants who illegally arrive on UK shores.

The Home Office notes a surge in small boat arrivals from India and Georgia over the past year. The designation of these countries as safe implies that individuals arriving illegally from these nations won't have their claims admitted into the UK asylum system.

The list of safe states already includes Switzerland, Albania, the European Union (EU), and European Economic Area (EEA) states. Inclusion in this list, known legislatively as Section 80AA, requires the Home Secretary to assess a country's eligibility based on the absence of persecution risk to its nationals and compliance with the UK's Human Rights Convention obligations.

"The Home Office has rigorously assessed India and Georgia and determined that both meet these criteria," states the Home Office.

The proposed legislation will undergo parliamentary scrutiny, with debates scheduled in both Houses of Parliament before coming into effect. This initiative falls under the broader scope of the Illegal Migration Act 2023, designed to address the challenge of illegal immigration by facilitating the detention and swift return of those who enter the UK illegally.

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