Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The UK announced plans to start denying asylum to illegal migrants who cross the Channel as part of efforts to curb illegal migration.
The number of arrivals in the UK exceeded 45,000 last year, with approximately 90% of illegal migrants applying for asylum, according to Reuters reporting on Tuesday.
New rules would prevent anyone arriving illegally from seeking asylum and allow the UK to deport them to third countries, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak noted in an article in The Sun on Tuesday.
“Those arriving on small boats aren’t directly fleeing a war-torn country or facing an imminent threat to life… instead, they have travelled through safe, European countries before crossing the Channel,” he pointed out.
“The fact that they can do so is unfair on those who come here legally and enough is enough… this new law will send a clear signal that if you come to this country illegally, you will be swiftly removed,” Sunak stressed.
According to Home Office statistics, the UK has granted asylum or other forms of humanitarian protection to nearly two thirds of illegal migrants.
The Refugee Council, an organisation that works with asylum seekers, has warned that the move would result in deportation of refugees and be in violation of UN rules.
According to YouGov market research company, roughly 87% of citizens were critical of the government’s handling of migration at the end of 2022. Migration control was one of the most important issues for voters last year, after the economy and healthcare.
The number of asylum applications in the UK reached nearly 75,000 last year, a 20-year high, but is still below EU average. In contrast, more than 240,000 applications were submitted in Germany last year.
Activists and opposition parties have criticised the plan, expressing doubt that it would be more effective than previous schemes aimed at curbing illegal migration.
Later this week, Sunak is to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss ways to step up cooperation in the fight against human trafficking across the Channel.
According to Sunak’s previous announcements, the UK is prepared to create additional legal routes for asylum seekers after it tackles illegal migration.