India to make it to UK’s safe states list

The government in the United Kingdom has announced it will add India to the list of safe states to speed up the process of returning people who have travelled from either country illegally.

UK to add India to its safe states list. Photo Courtesy:PIB

Apart from India, the UK plans to add Georgia to the same list.

“Draft legislation laid in Parliament today (Wednesday 8 November) will strengthen the immigration system and help prevent abuse, including by people making unfounded protection claims,” read a statement issued by the UK Home Office.

This marks another next step in the delivery of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 and Government’s plan to stop the boats.

“Indian and Georgian small boat arrivals have increased over the last year despite individuals not being at obvious risk of persecution. Deeming these countries safe will mean that if an individual arrives illegally from either one, we will not admit their claim to the UK asylum system,” the statement said.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, said: “We must stop people making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK from fundamentally safe countries.”

“Expanding this list will allow us to more swiftly remove people with no right to be here and sends a clear message that if you come here illegally, you cannot stay,” Suella Braverman said.

“We remain committed to delivering the measures in our Illegal Migration Act, which will play a part in the fight against illegal migration,” she said.

How can a country be added to the list?

A country can only be added to the safe states list (known legislatively as Section 80AA), if the Home Secretary is satisfied that there is, in general, no serious risk of persecution of its nationals, and; removal of nationals to that country cannot go against the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Convention, read the Home Office issued statement.

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

Why is this step crucial for India?

The regulations allow for India and Georgia to be added to the list of countries deemed safe under Section 80AA of the Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended by section 59 of the Illegal Migration Act 2023). Parliament will set debate times in due course.

Adding these countries to the list will mean that anyone who has travelled from India or Georgia and who is trying to make an asylum claim will be unable to.

Today’s draft legislation adding India and Georgia to the Section 80AA list will be made pursuant to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The ability to do this has been put in place through the Illegal Migration Act 2023.