India and Georgia could soon be in the safe states list if the UK Home Office draft legislation to stop migrant boats passes in the parliament, reiterating the UK government's commitment to restrict illegal immigrants. Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Britain's attempts to strengthen its pledge to restrict illegal immigrants went a step further with the proposal of adding India and Georgia to the safe states list.

On November 8, the UK Home Office announced the draft legislation procedure of adding India and Georgia to the safe states list, preventing anyone unlawfully coming from these two countries from seeking asylum in Britain.

According to Section 80AA of the UK law, the Home Secretary can add a country to the safe states list if there is "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", revealed the UK government.

After rigorous assessment, the UK Home Office has concluded that both India and Georgia meet the criteria to be on the list.

This is in line with the newly passed Illegal Migration Act 2023 which aims to stop migrant boats from landing in the UK. As per the Act, Britain can detain illegal immigrants and deport them to their home country or any other safe third-world country.

At present, the safe states list includes countries like Albania and Switzerland along with EU and European Economic Area (EEA) states.

The draft legislation to initiate the addition of India and Georgia to the safe states list was tabled in the House of Commons on November 8 where the UK government underlined that this would strengthen the UK immigration system, preventing unnecessary protection claims from asylum seekers.

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman said expanding the safe states list will allow the UK government "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 must stop people making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK from fundamentally safe countries," the Home Secretary added.

The Home Office justified including India and Georgia in the safe states list as small boats coming from these two countries have increased over the last year, despite people from there not being at risk of persecution.

The Home Office said: "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. The Home Office has rigorously assessed India and Georgia and determined that both meet these criteria."

As per the UK parliamentary procedure, both the Houses will scrutinise and debate the proposal before adding the countries to the list.

The Home Office has made it clear that it's determined to stop the boats and prevent taking risky journeys to reach Britain and the Illegal Migration Act is a crucial part of it as it prevents gangs from entering the country and 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 Home Office said.

The legislation to expand the safe states list will be pursued under the UK's Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, as instructed in the Illegal Migration Act 2023.

Earlier in March the UK government reported a ten-fold rise in illegal immigrants coming from India on small boats. In 2022, 45,755 illegal immigrants of 25 to 40 years of age came to the UK in Indian boats. Most of these people are Albanian and Afghanistanis followed by Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian people. Some boats also had Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis.

Meanwhile, a BBC report from June revealed that 300 people entered the UK in 2022 using migrant boats from Georgia with 31 entering in the first three months of the year.