Refugee and asylum-seeking women in our London network share their responses to the government’s harmful new plan for immigration.

The deadline for submitting a personal response to the consultation is 11.45pm tonight (6 May 2021). It is so important that we all use our voices to amplify the concerns of women seeking asylum. We have produced a simple guide to support you to target your response to highlight why these plans are so dangerous for women. You can download the guide here.

Please help us to amplify these women’s responses – these are the women who know what needs to change in the asylum process because they have lived it.

‘O’ says:

“I have been here for 3 years trying to put my life together and having only temporary protection would not be helpful at all. It would be very bad for my mental health. How can I progress in my education and career if I have no access to resources?”

‘E’ says:

“I am so worried about the effects this plan will have on women. It will lead to mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. There are many women who have children and will be affected by this new immigration bill in the sense that, they will be stressed for their future and those of their kids. Many migrant women or asylum seekers or refugees have been abused in their home countries. So sending them back will put them in danger.

The government is a racist political body that doesn’t care about asylum seekers. It is treating asylum seekers as if they are not humans. Trying to bring back a fast track which was deemed inhumane is absolutely insane. Opening more detention centres, old army barracks or wanting to send asylum seekers to isolated islands is not fair especially during this covid crisis.

The government should instead figure out how they can create safer routes for people who need to claim asylum to enter the country. No one will choose to be locked in the back of a lorry or to take a boat to enter Britain if they have any other choice. It is very risky to take a lorry and seek asylum, you should not say that people who come on a lorry are not ‘genuine’ asylum seekers.

I don’t know if The Home Office are human anymore. They are bringing back inhumane policies, things that have been so hard won are being lost.”

‘C’ says:

“If you have a reason to be protected once under temporary protection, then that should be enough proof and reason to protect you for life. It is such a relief to know that you are protected for life and that you can start to make plans for the future without having to prove yourself over and over again. How can you make plans if you can’t see a future? You end up staying in the same place mentally.”

‘S’ says:

“They might as well be ending the asylum system completely.”

‘V’ says:

“It is very concerning for mental issues that women go through. I’ve been in this country 7 years. After you have tried to survive in your country, but have had to escape to find protection and security, after you’ve fled from torture, then you come here to live another kind of torture. A torture which is much more sophisticated, as it is not physical, but mental torture. The laws and the Home Office make it impossible to escape. You will never heal but you will always be punished, and threatened, and asked to go back. The waiting process makes your depression worse, you are stuck in a dark place. They don’t treat men and women who seek asylum as human beings. It will exacerbate mental health issues for women but especially single mothers and their children.”

‘P’ says:

“If the new bill goes through it will affect women more.”

‘D’ says:

“I’ve been to detention twice; I’m a single mother with 3 kids. My children give me hope, but if I can’t put in a fresh asylum claim, what can I do? I had a bad lawyer to start with –  I wanted certain information included in my case, but my lawyer chose to omit it, and as a direct result of this, my claim was rejected.”

‘M’ says:

“I am particularly worried about children if we can never get permanent settlement.

Children need to be able to feel safe, and part of society. They are our future. It is not fair to treat some children so differently because we had to seek asylum. I came here to find a safe place for me and my children. Also, it is actually bad for society if some children are always treated as outsiders. This is very destructive.

Also as a woman I needed time to make my case. They say you need evidence, but the problem is that even by trying to get evidence you make yourself unsafe. By reaching out to the people back home to ask for this, they know where you are, you feel vulnerable.  So this takes time, you need to feel safe first.”


Update: You can read Women for Refugee Women’s full response to the sham-consultation on this government’s proposed new plan for immigration here.