MEMBERS of a group campaigning to end evictions in Scotland have mounted a demonstration in Edinburgh over the UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, claiming it would see the criminalisation of asylum seekers.

The No Evictions Network said the Bill would see people seeking asylum sent to offshore processing centres and would make it harder for families to be reunited.

They said it would also contravene the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is recognised world-wide.

A spokesperson for the group said: “If Scotland truly welcomes migrants as ‘New Scots’ we urge the Scottish Government to stand up against the UK Government's discriminating anti-immigration Bill that promotes hate crime.

“Specifically, we want the Scottish Government to clearly state that no Scottish islands or army barracks will be used to accommodate asylum seekers and that they fight for a kind, fair and effective immigration system.

“While we welcome the Scottish Government extending voting rights to those refugees who have ‘leave to remain’, we urge the Scottish Government to extend this further to allow those with LTR to be able to stand as Scottish Government candidates.”

Their protest came as Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel highlighting that the Bill, in its current form, has the “potential for severe and long-lasting impacts on some of the most vulnerable people arriving at our shores. The current Afghanistan crisis just highlights even further the flaws”.

Robison argued the Bill has the potential to endanger Scotland’s reputation as a place of welcome and sanctuary as she called for greater engagement with Scottish Ministers on amendments that will be needed.

She added: “The Scottish Government has set out detailed proposals for how a more tailored approach for Scotland could be delivered.

“It is regrettable that the UK Government has failed to engage on these proposals and that the Nationality and Borders Bill takes an approach which does not align with Scotland’s values or needs, or those of the international community.”