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Government expands list of safe countries allowing more removals

The Government will add India and Georgia to a list of safe states to speed up process of returning people who have travelled from either country illegally.

Draft legislation laid in Parliament today (Wednesday 8 November) will strengthen the immigration system and help prevent abuse, including by people making unfounded protection claims. This marks another next step in the delivery of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 and Government’s plan to stop the boats.

Indian and Georgian small boat arrivals have increased over the last year despite individuals not being at obvious risk of persecution. Deeming these countries safe will mean that if an individual arrives illegally from either one, we will not admit their claim to the UK asylum system.

Other countries deemed safe by the UK include Albania and Switzerland, plus the EU and EEA states.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, said:

We must stop people making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK from fundamentally safe countries.

Expanding this list will allow us to more swiftly remove people with no right to be here and sends a clear message that if you come here illegally, you cannot stay.


We remain committed to delivering the measures in our Illegal Migration Act, which will play a part in the fight against illegal migration.

A country can only be added to the safe states list (known legislatively as Section 80AA), if the Home Secretary is satisfied that there is, in general, no serious risk of persecution of its nationals, and; removal of nationals to that country cannot go against the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Convention. The Home Office has rigorously assessed India and Georgia and determined that both meet these criteria.

Today’s measures sit within the Illegal Migration Act 2023, which aims to stop the boats by changing the law so that people who come to the UK illegally can be detained and then swiftly returned to a safe third country or their home country. Further measures, including the duty to remove, will be rolled out in the coming months.

The Government remains determined to stop the boats and deter people from making dangerous journeys to the UK. The Act is one important part of our collective effort to break the cycle, end exploitation by gangs and prevent further loss of life. This issue is being tackled on all fronts, including working upstream with international partners, clamping down on the criminal gangs with stepped-up enforcement, and working with the French to prevent more crossings.

The designation of countries under Section 80AA is subject to the draft affirmative procedure. This means scrutiny will take place in the usual way via debates in both Houses of Parliament before the measure comes into force.

The regulations allow for India and Georgia to be added to the list of countries deemed safe under Section 80AA of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (as amended by section 59 of the Illegal Migration Act 2023). Parliament will set debate times in due course. 


Adding these countries to the list will mean that anyone who has travelled from India or Georgia that tries to make an asylum claim will be unable to.

Today’s draft legislation adding India and Georgia to the Section 80AA list will be made pursuant to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The ability to do this has been put in place through the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

Following Parliamentary scrutiny and approval, the Illegal Migration Act received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023. We now have the legislative framework needed to put into action our plans to tackle illegal migration and fulfil the Prime Minister’s pledge to introduce laws to stop the boats.

The Act will ensure people do not risk their lives by making lethal and unnecessary journeys across the Channel. The new legislation makes it unambiguously clear that if you travel here illegally, you will not be able to remain and build a life in the UK.

Link:, dated November 8, 2023 12:00 am

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