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Welsh and Scottish governments demand urgent talks with Home Office on UK asylum policy

The Welsh and Scottish governments have demanded urgent talks with the Home Office about the UK’s asylum policy. They have expressed significant concerns with the Nationality and Borders Bill. Also asked for discussions to help prevent further loss.

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt and Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison have written to the Home Department. They also raised significant concerns with the National Transfer Scheme for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and issues around asylum dispersal.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have written to each other asking for talks to help stop further loss of life in the English Channel. Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robison and Welsh minister for social justice Jane Hutt also raised the issue of the Nationality and Borders Bill in their letter.

The International Organization for Migration says 166 people have been recorded as dead or missing since 2014, including 27 in the last month after making the journey.

The letter states: “The UK Government must reconsider its hostile environment strategy and, vitally, develop sufficient safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to claim asylum from outside the UK, negating the need for perilous journeys and disrupting the business model of people smugglers.”

Both governments argue that current Home Office policies aimed at minimizing loss of life in the Channel are unhelpful. The letter calls on ministers to rethink their hostile environment strategy. And they have to develop safe routes for asylum-seekers seeking refuge in Britain.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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