Refugee Action sent out a questionnaire for people to send to their candidates for the general election.  Not all candidates will have been sent one, and not all had chance fill it in with the detailed thought needed, so we have answered the questions with Lib Dem agreed policy on the important issues raised by Refugee Action.

Our responses are in italics.


Protecting rights:

What will you do to make sure the asylum system is compassionate, fair and effective?

Liberal Democrats believe that those seeking asylum should be treated humanely, with compassion and respect.

  • The asylum system should be improved so that it properly upholds obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and at the same time minimizes potential for abuse.
  • Liberal Democrats will review and reform all aspects of current asylum rules and operations that offend basic measures of fairness and justice.
  • In particular we would seek to change the culture of disbelief that affects all people applying for asylum. The Home Office is not fit for purpose and needs radical reform.
  • The political influence must be taken out of decision making.


  • We will end the practice of the “hostile environment” approach, which includes everything from multiple expensive and inhumane immigration detention centres to making civil society the frontline of immigration control, resulting in mistakes and unfairness on an industrial scale.


Safe and legal routes:

What will you do to expand, and extend the commitment to, refugee resettlement?

Liberal Democrats will:

  • Offer safe and legal routes to the UK for at least 10,000 refugees each year by expanding the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, both to help a greater number of people from that region and to cover other conflict zones such as Myanmar;
  • Provide an effective mechanism to implement in full Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 that commits the UK to welcoming unaccompanied refugee children; this scheme to be expanded to welcome 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children over a period of 10 years;
  • Speed up processes for taking unaccompanied children with established family links in the UK;
  • Participate in EU search and rescue operations and tackle criminal people-smuggling


Liberal Democrats will:

  • Provide free basic English lessons to any seeker of sanctuary.
  • We would start these lessons at the earliest opportunity, so that people would be able to integrate and work in the UK as soon as possible.
  • Also they would then be able to engage, participate and contribute fully to the local community and British society, as so many express the strong desire to do;

Right to work:

Will you support reform of the rules to restore the right to work for people seeking asylum?

Liberal Democrats will:

  • Grant all asylum seekers the right to work, if they wish, 3 months after applying for asylum. The new unit would be required to assist the asylum seeker to exercise this option, through facilitating access to training and to accreditation through relevant qualifications;
  • Require asylum seekers able to work to do so 6 months after applying for asylum.
  • Safeguards will be in place to ensure that no one is compelled to work who is unable to do so. It would give them dignity, ability to use their skills and to find a job more easily when given the right to remain.