Refugee Council takes Home Office apart for peddling falsehoods

The Refugee Council alleges that the Home Office tried to ‘rubbish its report last night’.


The Refugee Council has taken the Home Office apart for pushing falsehoods, after it tried to rubbish a report produced by the organisation which showed that the majority of those who cross the Channel on small boats would be granted asylum in the UK because they are fleeing war and persecution.

The report, titled ‘The Truth about Channel Crossings’, found that at least 60% of all those who made the dangerous Channel crossing to the UK in small boats last year will be recognised as refugees through the asylum process.

The analysis, based on Home Office data, finds that 25,119 of the 45,746 men, women and children who made the journey in 2022 would be allowed to stay in the UK as refugees.

The Refugee Council said: “At the same time the numbers of people starting new lives in the UK under formal resettlement programmes such as family reunion have fallen dramatically – suggesting that more people seeking refugee status are taking the dangerous Channel journey.

“The report reveals that most of those crossing the Channel are people fleeing war-torn or oppressive countries where no safe and formal routes such as refugee visas exist for making an asylum claim in the UK.  This is in contrast to those escaping the war in Ukraine, where more than 200,000 visas have been issued under a UK refugee scheme.”

Around 40% of those on the small boats in 2022 came from just five countries – all of which have major problems with conflict and oppression and have asylum grant rates over 80 or 90 per cent. Those countries include Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea and Sudan.

After the publication of the report, the Refugee Council alleges that the Home Office tried to ‘rubbish the report last night’.

In a thread posted on Twitter, the organisation says that the Home Office claimed the report was based on flawed data before attributing claims to the council which were not true.

It tweeted: “They (Home Office) claimed we’d got our sums wrong and that we were using figures in the wrong way. They contacted journalists to say so.

“They claimed our estimate of the number of children on boats last year – almost 20pc of all those on the vessels – was wrong. Later on though they accepted that in fact we were right and they had got the figures wrong (by 14 percentage points in fact)….

“They also told journalists we were being unfair to compare family reunion figures for 2019 with 2022. We had to point out that their minister Robert Jenrick had done exactly that *in a written answer in Parliament* a few days ago….

“They accepted that they’d been unfair to try to rubbish us over that.

“But they also tried to get us to compare different figures over the number of people resettled from Afghanistan. They didn’t like it that the number since 2021 on one scheme is……four.”

The Refugee Council also said that the Home Office failed to refute the main findings of the report, namely that ‘most of the people on the boats are people with very strong claims to refugee status, people in need of safety and security and that the ‘government’s plan to detain and deport these refugees was inhumane, unworkable and would cost millions of pounds’.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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