Protecting people seeking refuge in Scotland

Summit discusses collective effort to mitigate UK Government’s Illegal Migration Bill.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley Anne Somerville and Migration Minister Emma Roddick today met partners to voice their opposition to the ‘repugnant’ UK Government Illegal Migration Bill and to find ways to reduce its harmful impact.

The event in Edinburgh to discuss the proposed Bill brought together key partners including the Scottish Refugee Council, JustRight Scotland and local authorities, to discuss ways the Scottish Government can protect people from the Bill’s worst effects, within its devolved powers and budget.

It was also an opportunity to speak to people with lived experience of the current system to feed into policy and help begin a collective effort to support the people who will be directly affected by the UK Government’s proposals.

Ms Roddick said:

“We are absolutely clear in our opposition to the UK Government’s repugnant Illegal Migration Bill, which violates human rights obligations and will push some of society’s most vulnerable people deeper into exploitation and destitution.

“Today’s summit was a valuable opportunity for all attendees to voice their opposition to the Bill and to hear from those with lived experience. The powerful testimony that we have heard from a trafficking survivor who was subject to commercial sexual exploitation, starkly sets out the real-life impact of the Bill if enacted. 

“The Scottish Government has repeatedly raised concerns that the UK Government’s proposals will not achieve the changes desperately needed to make our asylum and immigration systems humane, dignified and fit for purpose.

“Scottish Ministers and wider civic society are united in their stance that this Bill has no place in Scotland and we will continue to work with stakeholders to develop reasonable mitigations against the impacts of the Bill.”


The Scottish Government is considering the feedback from today’s summit and will continue to work with stakeholders to develop reasonable and impactful mitigations in both the immediate and longer term.

Scottish Ministers will continue to push the UK Government to reconsider its harmful approach and will raise the matter directly with the Home Secretary at the next Inter-Ministerial Group on Safety, Security and Migration.

Ms Roddick also committed to sharing key messages from the event with the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee.



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