Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Government expands list of safe countries allowing more removals [November 2023]

The press release issued by the Home Office on 8 November 2023.

India and Georgia to be added to the UK’s ‘safe states’ list in a key step in delivery of the Illegal Migration Act.

The Government will add India and Georgia to a list of safe states to speed up process of returning people who have travelled from either country illegally.

Draft legislation laid in Parliament today (Wednesday 8 November) will strengthen the immigration system and help prevent abuse, including by people making unfounded protection claims. This marks another next step in the delivery of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 and Government’s plan to stop the boats.

Indian and Georgian small boat arrivals have increased over the last year despite individuals not being at obvious risk of persecution. Deeming these countries safe will mean that if an individual arrives illegally from either one, we will not admit their claim to the UK asylum system.

Other countries deemed safe by the UK include Albania and Switzerland, plus the EU and EEA states.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, said:

We must stop people making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK from fundamentally safe countries.

Expanding this list will allow us to more swiftly remove people with no right to be here and sends a clear message that if you come here illegally, you cannot stay.

We remain committed to delivering the measures in our Illegal Migration Act, which will play a part in the fight against illegal migration.

A country can only be added to the safe states list (known legislatively as Section 80AA), if the Home Secretary is satisfied that there is, in general, no serious risk of persecution of its nationals, and; removal of nationals to that country cannot go against the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Convention. The Home Office has rigorously assessed India and Georgia and determined that both meet these criteria.

Today’s measures sit within the Illegal Migration Act 2023, which aims to stop the boats by changing the law so that people who come to the UK illegally can be detained and then swiftly returned to a safe third country or their home country. Further measures, including the duty to remove, will be rolled out in the coming months.

The Government remains determined to stop the boats and deter people from making dangerous journeys to the UK. The Act is one important part of our collective effort to break the cycle, end exploitation by gangs and prevent further loss of life. This issue is being tackled on all fronts, including working upstream with international partners, clamping down on the criminal gangs with stepped-up enforcement, and working with the French to prevent more crossings.