THE UK Government’s Illegal Migration Bill could leave 200,000 people, including 40,000 children, locked up or forced into destitution, the Refugee Council has said in a new report.

Using government data and the numbers of asylum seekers the Home Office said it hopes to deport from the UK, the charity has projected how many people are likely to either be forcibly removed or left in limbo in the first three years of the new legislation.

This would cost the taxpayer around £9 billion.

The bill aims to stop people claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorised means, although it has been denounced by the UN's refugee agency as an effective "asylum ban".

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The House of Commons voted for the bill earlier this month by 312 to 250 - majority 62 - as it passed its second reading.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the legislation is needed as people arriving in the UK after crossing the Channel have "overwhelmed our asylum system", before adding there has been "too much" immigration in recent years.

Glasgow councillor Roza Salih, who came to Scotland as a refugee, said the research was yet more proof of how cruel the legislation was.

She told The Nationl: "This is not the country I want to see where children like me who came to this country as a refugee be denied a better life here.

"This is a cruel legislation that creates inequality and treat innocent children as criminals.

"We need a compassionate immigration system and detention is not a place for children."

Salih co-founded the Glasgow Girls which campaigned to stop the UK Border Agency carrying out dawn raids and detaining and then deporting children. 

The National:

Under the new rules, people seeking asylum can be detained for 28 days without the right to access a lawyer or apply for bail. Terrorism suspects can only be detained for 14 days.

The Refugee Council worked on the basis that the government deports the 30,000 asylum seekers they say they hope to remove to Rwanda. So far no removals have taken place as the policy is still being probed by the courts.

Even if the Home Office does remove 30,000 people to Rwanda, the Refugee Council estimates that between 161,147 and 192,670 people could be left in limbo. There are currently only 3000 spaces in immigration detention.

If the majority who remain in the UK are accommodated in hotels, 1493 hotels will be needed. There are currently 51,000 asylum seekers in 395 hotels.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said: “This draconian legislation stains our country’s reputation for fairness in the face of adversity. All the evidence shows that the vast majority of those who come here by so-called irregular routes are refugees escaping bombs and bullets, violence and persecution.

“This bill rubbishes the very best of British values. It does not reflect the country we are in 2023. It is not who we are.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not recognise the figures used in this report. The aim of the illegal migration bill is to act as a deterrent and significantly reduce illegal migration when it comes into force.

“The UK has a proud history of supporting those in need through our safe and legal routes, offering protection to almost half a million men, women and children. While we are committed to ensuring there are routes to safety for vulnerable people across the globe, we must grip the rise in illegal migration and stop the boats.”