Government setting out plans to make it harder for asylum seekers and refugees to stay in UK

Government setting out plans to make it harder for asylum seekers and refugees to stay in UK

The government is establishing plans to make it more difficult for asylum seekers to stay in the UK if they came in illegally.

If the plans are approved, those seeking protection as refugees would be assessed on the basis of how they arrived in the UK.

Campaigners say the proposals would create a system that is “unfair”, as it would not be addressing people smuggling.

However, Home Secretary Priti Patel maintains that the new system will be “fairer” and will tackle criminal gangs.

Under the proposed plans, asylum seekers who enter the UK illegally will no longer be granted the same entitlements as those who arrive legally.

Patel told Radio 4’s Today Programme that the asylum system is “broken” and illegal immigration to the UK is “putting lives at risk and fuelling criminality”.

She claimed the new plans will provide “safe and legal routes” for those wishing to settle in the UK.

“We want to have end-to-end reform to make sure our system is functional,” she stressed.

She added: “What is inhumane is allowing people to be smuggled through illegal migration because people are being found dead in the back of lorries and drowning in the channel.”

Patel told Radio 4 that refugees should be seeking asylum in the first EU country they arrive in, instead of using it as a “springboard” to access the UK.

The Home Office said: “We will make every effort to remove those who enter the UK illegally having travelled through a safe country in which they could and should have claimed asylum.”

However, campaigners and members of the public have voiced their concerns about the plans, in which asylum seekers will be housed in ‘reception centres’ while they await a decision on refugee status.

According to the Home Office, last year about 8,500 people arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats, with the majority claiming asylum. It’s estimated that around 800 have made the crossing this year.

There were just over 35,000 claims for asylum made in the UK during the year ending March 2020. Iran, Albania and Iraq provided the majority of applicants.

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