The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has announced the biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades as she launches the New Plan for Immigration today.
This plan will mark a step change, setting out how the Government will tackle illegal immigration now that we have taken back control of our borders, ended free movement and introduced a new points-based immigration system.
At the heart of our New Plan for Immigration is the principle of fairness. Access to the UK’s asylum system will be based on genuine need of refuge, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. The current system is collapsing under the pressures of what are in effect illegal routes to asylum, facilitated by criminals smuggling people into the UK and often resulting in the loss of life.
The New Plan for Immigration Plan has three main objectives:
1. Firstly, to increase the fairness and efficacy of our system so that we can better protect and support those in genuine need of refuge.
2. Secondly, to deter illegal entry into the UK, thereby breaking the business model of people smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger.
3. Thirdly, to remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be here.
For the first time, whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses, and on their status in the UK if that claim is successful.
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.
Only where this is not possible, those who have successful claims having entered illegally will receive a new temporary protection status rather than an automatic right to settle and will be regularly reassessed for removal from the UK. People entering illegally will also have limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits.
For people who have their cases considered, but refused, we will seek their rapid removal from the UK. The appeals and judicial process will also be reformed to speed up that removal process.
The Government will continue to resettle refugees in need of protection through our already generous refugee routes and we will expand the global reach of our efforts – working with international organisations to provide a safe and legal route to the UK for people fleeing persecution in their home countries, enabling them to start new lives in the UK.
This refined approach will also prioritise persecuted minorities and emerging international crises: resettling refugees who are at urgent risk more quickly.
The Home Secretary will also have the ability to provide humanitarian routes to protection to vulnerable individuals in immediate danger and at risk in their home country.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“Under our New Plan for Immigration, if people arrive illegally, they will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally, and it will be harder for them to stay.
“If, like over 60% of illegal arrivals, they have travelled through a safe country like France to get here, they will not have immediate entry into the asylum system - which is what happens today.
“And we will stop the most unscrupulous abusing the system by posing as children, by introducing tougher, more accurate age assessments.
“Profiteering from illegal migration to Britain will no longer be worth the risk, with new maximum life sentences for people smugglers.
“I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people smugglers, they are also undeniably fair.”
Last year, 8,500 people arrived into the UK by crossing the Channel in a small boat, and the majority of these claimed asylum.
The current system rewards these people while some of the most vulnerable, including women and children, never make it to the UK.
Through the measures in this package, we are determined to bring lasting change to the system so that it is fair to everyone.