18 July 2023

British Red Cross response to the Illegal Migration Bill, passed by the House of Lords

Responding to the news that the Illegal Migration Bill has been passed by the House of Lords, Alex Fraser, the British Red Cross’s UK director for refugee support and restoring family links, said:

“This is a dark day that will cause a wave of fear and uncertainty for people seeking protection from violence and persecution.

“Ultimately, this law makes it impossible for the vast majority of men, women and children to claim asylum in the UK. It will leave many people, from places like Sudan and Syria, in detention, destitution and permanent limbo.

“The UK must uphold the right to claim asylum and create more safe routes so fewer people fall into the hands of smugglers.

"It must also tackle the immense backlog of existing asylum applications with more than 172,000 people waiting for their claim to be processed. Fixing the backlog would solve many of the problems we’re seeing in the asylum system today.

“We would like to assure those affected by this development that Red Cross teams will still be there to provide support in the UK and around the world.”



Safe routes are currently very limited, so most people have no choice but to take dangerous ones. This law will penalise them just for how they arrive, rather than their need for protection.

For further information

Contact: daniellemendel@redcross.org.uk or press@redcross.org.uk / 0207 877 7557

People with lived experience of the asylum system speak out

The VOICES Network is a group of experts by experience on migration and displacement, supported by, but independent from the British Red Cross.

Ambassadors from the Network speak out on issues that matter to them, amplifying people with lived experience to bring about positive change to minds, policy and practice.

Responding to the news that the Illegal Migration Bill passed today, Joshua Chima, Samantha, Onica and other ambassadors spoke on behalf of the VOICES Network. They said:

“The Bill risks endangering lives, increasing human trafficking, and having diverse negative impacts on health and integration.

“We urge the Government to commit to ethical values by reconsidering this policy, strengthening legal routes, improving the efficiency of the asylum process and upholding cultural diversity.”