Members of Parliament, Peers Demand Britain Create Dedicated ‘Minister for Refugees’

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Claiming that Government policy is leaving refugees homeless and destitute, a group of MPs and peers have called on the UK to create a ministerial post with specific responsibility for refugees.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees complain that there’s a “two-tier system”, in which refugees brought to the UK via resettlement schemes are given more support than asylum seekers granted refugee status after breaking into the country illegally.

In the report, politicians slammed the 28-day cut-off period for withdrawing Government support after an asylum claim is granted, which the APPG argued leads to “stress and despair” amongst individuals trying to find housing.

But designated refugees brought to Britain with government-led programmes, such Syrians flown in under the Home Office’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, receive dedicated support.

MPs and peers argued that a dedicated minister would help level the playing field between the two groups, warning that migrants face homelessness and destitution as a result of the 28-day cut-off.

“Those refugees who have come through the asylum route will have faced the same persecution and violence as those who are resettled,” it said.

“That two refugees who could have fled from the same country, the same town, even the same neighbourhood could have such different experiences of what it means to be a refugee in the UK is unacceptable.”

Chairman of the APPG Thangam Debbonaire argued that it is a “costly missed opportunity” for Britain to fail to provide employment, skills training, and more comprehensive English classes to migrants who are granted asylum after entering the country illegally.

“These are often skilled professionals and, by definition, they all have strength and determination to offer,” the Labour MP argued.

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, added: “This report shows that government policies are letting down some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Refugees have much to give to our communities but are being prevented from doing so.

“Instead of being given support and opportunities to integrate, refugees who have fled unimaginable horrors are being left homeless and destitute. Whoever is in government after the election should ensure that for all refugees, no matter how they arrived in the UK, protection means protection.”

Denmark’s dedicated minister for immigration, Inger Støjberg, has taken a hard line to cut migration. The Danish minister slashed benefits for non-Danes, and took out adverts in foreign newspapers telling would-be migrants not to bother travelling to the Scandinavian country.


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