Labour Party 2024 and The Asylum Seekers plans for 2024

What Can UK Asylum Seekers Expect In 2024 Under New Labour Government?

As the 2024 Labour Government's Asylum approach is set to be unveiled, expect Asylum law changes, with Rwanda partnership already a confirmed dismissal.

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During their time in government, the Conservative Party changed the legal landscape for those seeking protection in the UK to an unprecedented degree, from the introduction of the hostile environment policy under Theresa May to the more recent controversial Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda. Yet the need to provide safety and protection to some of the most vulnerable people in the world has not diminished. Arguably, asylum law has been one of the most controversial issues that has been discussed in the run up to the recent election, and therefore, it must be considered as to how the new Labour government will treat asylum seekers now that they have been confirmed as the new government.

Current Position 

Since the introduction of Nationality and Borders Act 2022, the Illegal Migration Act 2023 and the Safety of Rwanda Act 2024, the future of those seeking protection in the UK has never been so bleak. The vast majority of adult asylum claims are now inadmissible under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, primarily due to the fact that anyone who travels to the UK through a safe third country, will no longer have their asylum claim considered. If fully implemented, the Illegal Migration Act 2023 would expand these criteria to include anyone who has arrived in the UK ‘illegally’, meaning without a pre-approved visa. Following the recent introduction of the Safety of Rwanda Act 2024, those who met the inadmissibility criteria were liable to be removed to Rwanda. This law does not only apply to prospective arrivals but applies retrospectively to anyone who has claimed asylum in the UK from 1 January 2022, thus creating further difficulty for those who are still waiting to have their claim heard. Many claimants across the country have already received a ‘Notice of Intent’, notifying them of the Home Office’s intention to treat their claim as inadmissible and that they may face removal to Rwanda. However, since the announcement of the general election, it is not clear how such notices will be actioned, if at all, leaving many vulnerable individuals even more uncertain about the future of their legal status in the UK.



Labour's Proposed Changes

The Labour Party made five key pledges in the run up to election:

  1. To scrap the Rwanda Scheme
  2. To strengthen UK borders by creating a new Border Security Commander
  3. To ‘smash’ the criminal gangs that are responsible for trafficking and smuggling of individuals into the UK, by hiring more specialist investigators and intelligence agents and reforming resettlement routes.
  4. To form new agreements with France and other countries for returns.
  5. To clear the asylum backlog through hiring more immigration caseworkers.


How Will This Affect Asylum Seekers In 2024?

On their first day in government, the new Labour government scrapped the Rwanda scheme demonstrating a strong commitment to upholding their pledges and taking a humanitarian approach to the treatment of asylum seekers. While it should be noted that there has been no date set to repeal the Rwanda Act, the declaration that the scheme has been scrapped will allow the asylum-seeking community to breath a sign of relief, even if only temporarily. The UK government no longer has a policy in place that allows them to contract-out their obligations for protecting the human rights of individuals who come to the UK, as it did under the Rwanda scheme. Thus, demonstrating a clear respect for those who seek protection in the UK and for human rights law.

While the new government has pledged to clear the asylum backlog, it is not clear how they intend to do this. There has been no suggestion that the inadmissibility rules will be changed and therefore a risk that many claims may still be declared inadmissible.

Furthermore, it is unclear if and when the government will be able to secure new returns agreements with France and other countries. It is crucial to note this, as under the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 and Part 11 of the Immigration Rules, if removal to a safe third country cannot be affected within a reasonable time frame, then the individual’s claim should be considered. Therefore, until there are clear signs of a successful returns agreements with one or more of the proposed countries, there are legal grounds for the government to consider otherwise inadmissible claims.

Labour has also promised to reform resettlement routes for those seeking protection in the UK. Many asylum seekers have no choice but to pursue a dangerous route to the UK and there is a clear demand for safer routes for those seeking protection. It is not clear how the government intends to implement such reform, however the introduction of safe routes for asylum seekers will be the only sure way to prevent the harm and loss of life that has been experienced by those travelling to the UK.  



The future for asylum seekers in the UK remains uncertain, however the declaration that the Rwanda scheme has been scrapped, the promise to reform resettlement routes and to clear the asylum backlog, provides greater hope for those seeking protection in the UK. A humanitarian approach is the only way to ensure individuals fleeing persecution and conflict have the opportunity to seek protection without further endangering their lives.



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Should you have any questions or require further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Together, let us navigate this new political era with confidence.

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