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Red Cross research reveals ‘huge outpouring of solidarity’ with refugees ahead of crucial week for asylum reforms

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British Red Cross
Date de publication

New research from the British Red Cross has revealed a renewed support for refugees following the conflict in Ukraine.

Polling commissioned by the charity shows the UK public are in favour of welcoming refugees from Ukraine and around the world. Since the turn of the year there has been a substantial decline in people thinking the UK has accepted too many refugees, and an increase in sympathy for those seeking asylum in the UK.

The results come in what is a crucial week in the legislative calendar with the government's Nationality and Borders Bill back in the House of Commons.

Among the findings are:

  • 74% of UK public agree they have sympathy towards refugees and asylum seekers in the UK (up from 59% in December)

  • 71% of the UK public agree that situations like the Ukraine crisis highlight why we need safe routes, such as resettlement schemes, to be in place before conflicts happen

  • 62% of UK population agree that the UK should welcome refugees fleeing war or persecution from across the world with the same percentage thinking the UK has a moral duty to welcome its share of the world's refugees

  • A substantial decline in those who say the UK has accepted too many refugees (down from 40% to 29% between December 2021 and March 2022).

Jon Featonby, Policy and Advocacy Manager at the British Red Cross, said:

"The Ukraine crisis has shown just how complicated it is to seek safety in the UK. The huge outpouring of solidarity for Ukrainian refugees has demonstrated how out of step this legislation and our complicated asylum process is with the views of the British public.

"This polling also shows the increase in understanding of the British public of what it is to flee, the tough decisions you have to make, and why safe and legal options might not always be available to you.

"People understand now more than ever how hard it is for refugees, and the Nationality and Borders Bill, to be voted on within days, will make things much harder. If it passes as it is then anyone fleeing conflict, including people from Ukraine, who become desperate enough to enter the UK without the correct permission could be sent for processing "off-shore" or defined as 'group 2 refugees' without the same rights to reunite with family and at greater risk of destitution and homelessness.

"In this moment of crisis, we want to see the Bill change course to better reflect our society's values and views on how we'd want to be treated if this were happening to us. We believe every refugee matters. No matter how they arrived in the UK, everyone who seeks asylum here should be treated with dignity and get a fair hearing."

The charity's new polling comes at a critical time when the conflict in Ukraine has resulted in 3 million refugees and MPs are set to start voting on the bill during the so-called "ping pong" stage as it bounces between the House of Commons and House of Lords. If passed in its current form, it will have far-reaching consequences for people seeking safety in the UK including criminalising refugees who arrive in the country without the proper paperwork.

The charity also found:

  • 68% of the UK public agree there need to be more safe ways for people fleeing from Ukraine to find safety in the UK

  • 81% of the UK public agree it is understandable that people fleeing war would make desperate journeys to reach safety

  • 81% of the UK public agree it is understandable that people fleeing war would try to join their family if they have any in the UK

  • 65% of the UK public think the UK should have a safe route in the form of a resettlement scheme always open for when people need to flee war or persecution

  • 77% of the UK public say if they were forced to flee a conflict, they would want there to be a safe route already available for them to reach a safe country

  • Only 35% of the UK public thought 10,000 people is too many for the UK to commit to resettling in one year

  • 75% of the UK public agree that if they were forced to flee a conflict they would take any route they could to find safety for themselves and their family.

The public can show support with the British Red Cross for a more compassionate and kinder asylum system in the UK by signing the Every Refugee Matters pledge - everyrefugeematters.redcross.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About the polling

Online survey of 4,007 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ carried out by Opinium for the British Red Cross between 4 March and 8 March 2022. December wave: Online survey of 4,002 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ carried out by Opinium for the British Red Cross between 30 November to 3 December 2021.

Guide to the next parliamentary stage of the Nationality and Borders Bill

The Nationality and Borders Bill is now in its final parliamentary stages. The bill has been considered in both the House of Commons and House of Lords. It is now entering what is known as "ping-pong". At this point, only certain aspects of the bill are debated and voted on. This begins with the House of Commons considering any changes made in the House of Lords. The Commons can agree to those changes, refuse them, or offer alternatives. If the Commons refuses the amendments or offers alternatives, then they go back to the Lords. The Lords can then accept the decision in the commons, agree the alternatives, propose their own alternative or insist on their original amendment.

The bill then goes back to the Commons. The bill will "ping-pong" like this until both the House of Commons and House of Lords agree.

Theoretically, there is no limit to how many times the bill can go back and forth between the two Chambers, or how long it can go on for. The government may look to agree compromises to end ping-pong. For most bills, the bill may return to the House of Lords two or three times before agreements are reached. The current parliamentary session is also due to end in early May, and the bill will need to become law before then.

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross is the largest independent provider of support to refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. Last year, the charity worked with around 29,000 people at all stages of the asylum process.

For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives. www.redcross.org.uk