Serious concerns over new proposals

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The new Asylum and Immigration Bill currently before parliament contains proposals that will have far-reaching implications for asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. The speed with which the bill is moving through parliament is unprecedented and it is leaving little time for serious debate or significant amendment.

Asylum is fast becoming one of the most legislated-upon areas of British law. Since 1993 the United Kingdom parliament has passed 4 major pieces of legislation relating to asylum. The current bill, presented to Parliament in November 2003, will make a grand total of five pieces of major legislation.

Such is the speed with which new regulations are introduced that asylum seekers are often unsure of how laws and policy affect them. The speed of the process also means that the concerns of the agencies who work with asylum seekers are not taken into account in the drafting of new legislation. Consultation on the present bill lasted only three weeks. Ten days lat

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