The Liberal Democrats have announced today that they will move more than 9,000 members of staff out of the Home Office, under the party’s plans to strip the discredited department of responsibility for immigration and asylum.
Highlighting the Windrush Scandal, the Hostile Environment and the large number of rulings against the Home Office in courts and tribunals, the Liberal Democrats argue that the department is “not fit for purpose” and warned "the Conservatives' chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens."
The party’s manifesto commits to stripping the Home Office of responsibility for policy making in relation to work visas, international students and asylum – and handing it to the Departments for Business, Education and International Development respectively.
The Liberal Democrats said that their plans for a “fair, effective immigration system” also include establishing a new arms-length, non-political agency to take over processing visa and asylum applications.
This new agency would be given the staff, training and resources to process applications quickly and fairly, with a focus on getting decisions right first-time and therefore saving time and expense on appeals.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:
“Scandal after scandal has proved that the Home Office is not fit for purpose.
“Decades of hostile policies from Labour and Conservative Home Secretaries have created an immigration system that no one trusts, and that fails to respect people’s dignity. Thousands of people are wrongly refused visas or asylum, causing huge amounts of misery and wasting taxpayers’ money.
"Now the Conservatives' chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens. That's why Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit so we can build a brighter future, with a fair, effective immigration system that treats everyone with dignity and respect.
“We will hand policy-making over to Departments that aren’t infected by the Home Office’s toxic culture, and that far better understand the needs of our economy, our universities, and seekers of sanctuary. And we’ll set up a new agency to decide cases fairly and get them right first time, free from interference by populist politicians.”