Statement on UK's Illegal Migration Bill
The bill would also make it impossible for victims of modern slavery to access support. However, the UK Government’s own data shows no abuse or misuse of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is fully aligned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)’s position that the UK’s “Illegal Migration Bill” raises serious human rights and legal concerns.
In its current form, the bill seeks to deny those arriving in the UK irregularly the right to access asylum procedures. While States have a sovereign right to manage mobility in their territories, this should be done in compliance with international and regional law obligations and conventions, and in full respect of the human rights of people on the move.
Detention is a measure of last resort, and IOM advocates for more humane alternatives and enhanced reception conditions that prioritize protection and safety.
Migration governance cannot rely on an enforcement-only approach. IOM firmly believes that expanding safe and legal pathways to migration, including for family reunification, is urgently needed to save lives and undermine the smuggling business model.
The bill would also make it impossible for victims of modern slavery to access support since it entails their removal from the UK. Victims have a right to a period of recovery and protection needs that must be addressed.
The UK Government’s own data shows no abuse or misuse of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the official system through which victims of modern slavery and trafficking are identified. Public statements suggesting otherwise are inaccurate. IOM advocates for a shorter waiting time in the NRM, which is currently the biggest challenge, and as our analysis shows it is disproportionately affecting women who wait nearly twice as long as men for a decision to be made on their case.
For information, please contact Abir Soleiman firstname.lastname@example.org.
IOM UK's briefings provide analysis of the publicly available UK National Referral Mechanism (NRM) data on potential victims of modern slavery and are regularly published here.