Call for Evidence
Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in the UK
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 14 that “everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”. The Refugee Convention built on this with the establishment of a regime of international refugee protection, and was ratified by the UK in 1954. The Convention defines a refugee as a person outside their country of nationality or habitual residence, due to well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, and unable or unwilling to return to that country for fear of persecution.
Asylum seekers often come from countries affected by violence, conflict, and human rights abuses, and a portion of those who leave come to the UK. In 2022, the number of new asylum applications rose to 63,089, from 48,540 in the previous year. As of June 2022, there were 122,213 asylum claims pending an initial decision, out of which 89,231 cases had been pending an initial decision for more than 6 months. Most asylum claims in the UK are successful – in 2021, the estimated overall grant rate where a final outcome has been reached was 77%.
The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 made significant amendments to the legislative framework for the asylum system. Changes include the introduction of new powers to remove asylum seekers, the creation of a two-tier system for asylum claims, and the inadmissibility of claims by persons with a connection to safe third States. The Government has also sought through the UK Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership to send certain asylum seekers to Rwanda to make claims for asylum in Rwanda.
Terms of Reference
The Joint Committee on Human Rights is looking into the rights of asylum seekers in the UK, with a view to identifying human rights concerns. To inform its work, the Committee invites submissions of no more than 1,500 words from interested groups and individuals. The deadline for submissions is 15th December. We would welcome evidence covering the following questions:
“Safe and legal routes”
1. Is it compatible with the UK’s human rights obligations to deny asylum to those who do not use what the Government calls “safe and legal routes”?
2. What “safe and legal routes” currently exist for asylum seekers in the UK? Should new routes be introduced?
Relocation of asylum seekers
3. Is the policy of relocating asylum seekers to third countries consistent with the UK’s human rights obligations?
4. Are the rules on detention and processing, and the treatment of detained asylum seekers, consistent with the UK’s human rights obligations?
5. Is the electronic tagging of asylum seekers a necessary and proportionate interference with their human rights?
Legal aid, accommodation, and subsistence
6. Is the support available to asylum seekers under the legal aid, accommodation, and subsistence rules compliant with the UK’s human rights obligations?
Right to work
7. How do the rules on right to work impact on the human rights of asylum seekers?
8. Is the UK’s legal framework for tackling modern slavery and human trafficking effective, and is it compatible with our human rights obligations? Are there changes that should be made?
9. Is there any evidence that modern slavery laws are being abused by people “gaming” the system?
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
10. To what extent has the enactment of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 had an impact on the human rights of asylum seekers?
Important information about making a submission
Written evidence must address the questions as set out above, but please note that submissions do not have to address every point. In addition to calling for written evidence from people wishing to respond to the questions set out above, the Committee has also set up an online survey to hear wider views. Guidance on giving evidence to a select committee of the House of Commons is available here.
In line with the general practice of select committees the Joint Committee on Human Rights is not able to take up individual cases. If you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament.
The Committee will decide whether to accept a submission and whether to publish it on its website. All written evidence will be considered by the Committee, whether or not it is published. If your submission is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online and will be available permanently for anyone to view. It can’t be changed or removed. If you have included your name or any personal information in your submission, that will normally be published too. Please consider carefully how much personal information you need to share. If you include personal information about other people in your submission, the Committee may decide not to publish it. Your contact details will never be published.
If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission confidentially (meaning it won't be published), please say so the start of your evidence, and tell us why. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee.
If your evidence raises any safeguarding concerns about you or other people, then the Committee has a responsibility to raise these with the appropriate safeguarding authority. If you have immediate safeguarding concerns about yourself or someone else or specific allegations of illegal practices, you should contact the Police on 999.
We can’t publish submissions that mention ongoing legal cases – contact us if you are not sure what this means for you.
We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting and the following organisations may be able to offer support or further information:
Asylum Aid - free legal aid advice and representation to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.
Call 020 7354 9631
British Red Cross - support to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK including emergency assistance to those who are destitute, and family reunion and resettlement services.
Call 0808 196 3651
London Destitution Service – Refugee Council - support for asylum seekers or rejected asylum seekers who are destitute, and support to vulnerable and homeless asylum seekers who have lost contact with their asylum application and have no legal representation.
Migrant Help – free 24/7 helpline providing independent advice and support to asylum
seekers in the UK in your own language.
Call 0808 8010 503
Samaritans - for everyone, 24 hours a day, every day.
Call 116 123
 Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
 Home Office. How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? Last updated September 2022.
 Home Office, Nationality and Borders Bill: Factsheet Safe and Legal Routes. December 2021.
This call for written evidence has now closed.Go back to Human Rights of Asylum Seekers in the UK Inquiry