Home Office ‘covering up’ its own study of why refugees come to the UK

Refugees on a boat

source: The Guardian
published: 20 November 2021

The Home Office is covering up its own research into why refugees and asylum seekers travel to the UK because ministers “know their arguments don’t stand up,” charities claim.

Officials are refusing to release its evidence on whether so-called “pull factors” play a part in asylum seekers making journeys to the UK.

On Thursday deputy prime minister Dominic Raab talked about “reducing the pull factor” in an attempt to justify the government’s controversial plans for asylum processing centres in Albania. Home Office minister Chris Philp has claimed that accepting asylum seekers who have travelled through Europe “creates a pull factor where migrants are incentivised to undertake dangerous and illegal journeys”.

Yet when the Home Office was asked for evidence to support its claims, it refused. A freedom of information response dated 28 October says the material could not be disclosed because it was “likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice and the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation”.

Sophie McCann, advocacy officer at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) UK accused ministers of knowing their arguments were ill-founded. McCann said: “Ministers are covering up evidence that is central to their case for the need to target refugees and asylum seekers with inhumane ‘deterrence’ measures.

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