The UK government’s new Illegal Migration Bill fails to consider the “safety and wellbeing” of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, Rainbow Migration, a charity which provides practical and emotional support for LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum, has warned.

The new legislation was announced as a way of tackling small boat crossings in the Channel, which Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, has acknowledged has a 50% chance of being incompatible with human convention rights.

It will allow illegal arrivals to be detained without bail or judicial review for 28 days until they can be removed.

Parliament will also determine an annual cap on the number of refugees the UK will resettle via “safe and legal routes”.

Rainbow Migration highlighted that the bill proposes sending people who have fled life-threatening situations to countries where LGBTQ+ people are not able to safely be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

READ MORE: Luke Pollard MP urges UK government to protect LGBTQ+ asylum seekers

It highlighted that Nigeria is a country deemed safe to send asylum seekers to by the UK government, though its own statistics show that up to 50 people were granted asylum here from the country on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

Furthermore, Joel, a gay activist from Nigeria, told Metro that a law passed in 2014 “prohibits same-sex marriage and ruthlessly punishes LGBT+ people in Nigeria. In addition to prohibiting same-sex marriage, the law legitimised oppression and was used by authorities to justify persecution.”

Joel added that “citizens can carry out ‘jungle justice’ without repercussions” and that “lynching and murder of LGBT+ people is a common occurrence”.

Another country that LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum in the UK could be sent to is Rwanda, which the government has acknowledged could result in “discrimination and intolerance”.

A report published by the Home Office on 9 May 2022 said that there is a “lack of reporting of crimes” against LGBTQ+ people in the country, which is the result of “stigma and fear of harassment” resulting in “limited information on how police respond to and protect” the community.

It also stated that some LGBTQ+ people have even faced arrest because of “deviant behaviour” or being a “public nuisance”.

“LGBTIQ+ persons have also reported some societal discrimination and abuse, including discrimination in employment, eviction, ostracism from family and threats of violence,” the document also highlighted.

LGBTQ+ people are at risk of ‘serious harm’ in detention centres

As well as these issues, Rainbow Migration noted that the Illegal Migration Bill “greatly extends the powers to hold people in immigration detention” and restricts the ability to challenge this.

The charity explained that this will result in an increase in the number of people locked away, including LGBTQ+ people who have been proven to be at greater risk of harm in detention centres.

READ MORE: LGBTQ+ people at risk of ‘serious harm’ in immigration detention, study finds

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director at Rainbow Migration said: “By introducing this heartless and cruel bill, this government is sending a message that it doesn’t care about the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQI+ people seeking protection here. We have already received calls from LGBTQI+ people expressing distress about the potential impact of the bill on their lives, telling us they feel ‘unwelcome’ here.”

Rainbow Migration is now urging the UK government to stop the bill from becoming law and instead work on developing an asylum system with a “focus on creating a compassionate and caring asylum system that treats people with kindness.”