Asylum Seekers: Unwelcome Return

While the numbers of asylum seekers entering Britain are hitting record levels, and the government is pledged to cut asylum applications significantly, there is concern about a new European Union policy which could lead to the forced deportation of those who have arrived from Afghanistan. They are already the third largest national asylum-seeking group here.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Rosemary Sales

Reader in Social Policy, Middlesex University

Brad K. Blitz

Professor of International Politics and Policy in the Department of Education, Practice and Society, UCL Institute of Education

The plan for return to Afghanistan announced by the European Union in December raises the spectre of the mass deportation of Afghan asylum seekers from Europe. While it focuses on voluntary return, it states explicitly that those who do not choose to return could be forcibly removed.

By pressurising Afghans to make choices under such conditions, European governments are undermining the principles on which asylum policies have been built. More importantly, the Afghan model sets a worrying precedent for new waves of refugees and asylum seekers, including the expected increased flows of Iraqis, who are the largest group of asylum seekers in Britain.

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