SCOTLAND'S Social Justice Secretary has called on MSPs to reject the Nationality and Borders Bill ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament.  

Shona Robison has raised concerns over the bill's cross over with devolved areas as it could impinge on Scottish ministers’ competency to make decisions on who is a victim of human trafficking, while also affecting the devolved matter of provision of care for children. 

The bill would create a National Age Assessment Board, which would be empowered to scrutinise and determine the age of asylum seekers and refugees, with decisions on age being binding on devolved authorities. To make these decisions the board would be allowed to use “scientific techniques” to determine age.  

READ MORE: UK Nationality and Borders Bill poses ‘biggest threat to refugee rights seen for decades’

The Scottish Government guidance has advised against this on child welfare and unreliability grounds. 

The National: Robison has slammed the bill for legislating on devolved mattersRobison has slammed the bill for legislating on devolved matters

A legislative consent memorandum laid by the Scottish Government on February 1 recommended consent be withheld on clauses relating to age assessment of asylum seekers and human trafficking. 

Commenting on the bill, Robison said: “The Scottish Government condemns the regressive Nationality and Borders Bill, which is fundamentally at odds with the UK’s international obligations under the Refugee Convention.

"The bill will significantly change UK asylum and immigration law and will negatively impact people, communities and the provision of services. 

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“The UK’s asylum and immigration systems are in desperate need of reform but these changes will not achieve the change that is needed. Instead, the bill will jeopardise the human rights of people for years to come

“For the UK Government to simply state that asylum is a reserved matter ignores the complexity of the reforms proposed. It also ignores the legitimate role of devolved nations in the functioning of the UK’s refugee protection system, and the implications for our services and communities. 

“I am calling on MSPs to unite against the bill in general, and also in particular the two provisions which will impact on devolved areas. We must send a message that the Parliament is opposed to the clear damage that will be caused by this bill.”