IN the past week I have seen more change and more awareness raised regarding the egregious state of the Home Office’s asylum and immigration system and their bureaucratic visa application process than in 30 years of my work with refugees.

I welcome every inch of ground we are able to claw back which aligns us to the Refugee Convention. We ­remain, however, at very grave risk of seeing the appalling, and appallingly drafted Nationality and Borders Bill being passed into law any day now.

This bill, which has had 19 ­amendments added after defeats for the Government in the Lords, would, according to UNHCR, take us out of the Refugee Convention.

The UK was a signatory of the ­original convention in 1951 and cites its proud tradition of ­welcoming ­refugees so often now from the ­dispatch box that it sounds like the empty platitude it has become.

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Yes, it is extraordinary the ­welcome and warmth people in Scotland have brought to welcoming those ­seeking sanctuary after their lives and ­livelihoods were destroyed and they suffered persecution.

Time and again I have lived through the incredible will and energy brought when people are in need – Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan – bringing large scale demonstrations and protests in Scotland but also great heartedness which has endured.

Across all 32 local authorities refugees have been welcomed and together communities have done the work of integrating one another into each other’s lives. Scots learn Arabic, Afghans learn Scots, Eritreans learn Gaelic. And those who do a lot of the ­initial work are often members of the ­diaspora – New Scots themselves to use the term refugees and migrants in Scotland have said they prefer.

All of this has been produced both despite and because of the cruel, ­incompetent, broken Home Office system. I know for a fact that there are many civil servants in the Home Office who would want to make the visa system work well as a route to ­humanitarian protection and ­settlement, and even to citizenship.

They cannot within the present ways in which the Home Office operates. The Home Office loses court case after court case, appeal after appeal because its staff and resources are now designed to make money from visa applications not to ensure the UK remains proud of its tradition of welcoming refugees.

IN short, the Home Office visa and asylum system is no longer fit for ­purposes. So every change that has come this week has been welcome and has only come because those of who have been campaigning for change have ­campaigned even harder, right across the country, and have been joined by tenacious MPs from Scotland and communities all across all four ­nations. But its not enough.

The changes will still be ­chaotic ­because civil servants are not ­empowered by the culture in the Home Office to pivot from a ­hostile environment to a hospitable ­environment over night. It will take time, will and more than the hollowed out resources of the Home Office and also the FCDO can presently muster.

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The whistleblower report from Raphael Marshall after Kabul was a shocking indictment of the visa processes and immigration ­decision ­making but also an alarm bell for what has now, sadly happened. ­Another war; not Afghanistan, not Syria, nor Tigray – this time, though those ­persist, but Ukraine. And we are not ready. And we cannot welcome.

If the National and Borders Bill is passed into law without the amendments agreed in the Lords, the well trained, well instructed and highly competent culture of refusal and ­hostility which tips over into bureaucratising xenophobia in the Home Office will become even more hostile and xenophobic.

This is what the Home Office has worked to become good at, mandated through our broken electoral system. It must be reversed and I for one am just grateful that the awfulness of what we have all experienced in the system for decades is now ­thoroughly, awfully exposed.

The first step to change is to ­reverse or scrap the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Glasgow University and Unesco Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts