Amendments to the List of Safe States

22 Nov 2023, 23 mins ago

On 8 November 2023, it was announced that Georgia and India will be added to the UK’s list of Safe States in support of the implementation of the Illegal Migration Act. This blog outlines the effect that this amendment is intended to produce and explains the UK Government’s rationale behind these changes.

The list of Safe States can only be added to where the Home Secretary is satisfied that there is no serious risk of persecution in a particular country for its nationals. By adding a country to the list and subsequently removing nationals of that country from the UK, the Home Secretary is confirming that she is satisfied that an individual’s removal will not breach the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Convention and associated legislation. In the view of the Home Secretary, India and Georgia now satisfy these criteria.

The Home Office has taken the view that there has been an increase in “small boats” arriving from India and Georgia “despite individuals not being at obvious risk of persecution” – this amendment will, in essence, remove the necessity for the Home Secretary to conduct a “thorough” assessment of individual cases.

It is intended that individuals arriving in the UK illegally from either Georgia or India will have their asylum claims struck out as inadmissible as part of this amendment.

These amendments are being made as part of the Home Secretary’s crackdown on immigration to the UK and fall within the wider rubric of the Illegal Migration Act 2023. The UK Government’s position is that these changes to the UK immigration system will reduce the number of people making dangerous and illegal journeys to enter the UK from countries that are deemed safe, and to help tackle the issue of illegal migration. With the expansion of the list the UK Government hopes to strengthen the immigration system and prevent abuse of the system. Whether these amendments will have the desired consequences remains to be seen.

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