Boris Johnson’s government is tightening asylum rules to counter the influx of asylum seekers. This year, more than 10,500 asylum seekers have entered the UK as of today, mostly by crossing the channel from France. This figure is higher than the number of migrants for the whole of last year. This is why Home Secretary Priti Patel is trying to prevent refugees from entering the country in any way possible.
Punishment for Illegal Refugees
The total number of asylum seekers who arrived in the UK by boat this year exceeded 10,500, namely 2,000 more than the 8,417 asylum seekers who entered the country in 2020. The UK government wants to tighten asylum rules in response to the influx of refugees. The new asylum law stipulates that refugees who come to the UK through illegal routes will have lower salaries in the long run. They may even be sentenced up to four years in prison with lower social benefits or disenfranchisement.
Possibility of Accommodating Asylum Seekers Outside the UK
There is presently a debate about the proposal to keep asylum seekers in camps abroad while their case is being processed, similar to the decision made by Denmark. This will make it more difficult to get asylum in the UK. The government has been trying for years to prevent the influx of refugees into the country. Now the Home Office is targeting the asylum system.
Expert Opinions on Immigration and Asylum Under Strict British Laws
According to immigration and asylum experts, the strict plans by the UK government are unlikely to have a positive deterrent effect. They believe that the new asylum law will lead to more bureaucracy and huge costs. They say it is more expensive for the government to imprison asylum seekers than provide them with social services.
Human Rights Activists Angry over New UK Government Decisions
The government’s new decisions has angered human rights activists and refugee campaigners who have described these proposals as barbaric and cruel. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also expressed frustration, saying that the right to asylum is universal and that it does not matter how a refugee enters a country. Polls also show that the majority of British citizens want support for asylum seekers. There is considerable resistance to this law by Boris Johnson’s government.
French-British Agreement on Asylum Seekers
The French government recently doubled the number of police patrolling its shores as part of an agreement with the UK to prevent asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from crossing the channel. A deal was agreed to by Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin according to which the UK will pay France £54 million to help increase police patrols in its shores. The government hopes to dissuade migrants from using the channel crossing by fundamentally amending asylum laws.
Disappearance of Asylum Seekers from their Place of Residence
When asylum seekers arrive in the UK, they are quarantined in a hotel for 10 days. About 10,000 hotel beds across the UK are currently reserved for this purpose. Hundreds of asylum seekers arriving in the UK in small boats via the channel have disappeared without showing up at their hotels. According to British sources, the UK government held emergency meetings to discuss the special tracking system for monitoring the movement of asylum seekers following their arrival in the UK from France by boat.
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that about 55 asylum seekers were accommodated in a hotel in central London, where they could travel as they wished, and their rooms were equipped with Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Meanwhile, the Home Office revealed in December 2020 that at least 37,302 asylum seekers had disappeared in the country over the past three decades. A Home Office spokesman at the time said many of these people had probably left the country. He stressed that London has a dedicated national team to track down fugitives, working with police, and other government departments and commercial companies, to track down fugitives and report them to the Home Office.
UK Government Support for the Nationality and Borders Bill
Following the release of the report, Home Secretary Priti Patel praised a bill called Nationality and Borders Bill, which was designed to tackle UK’s flawed asylum system. The bill, passed in the House of Commons, allows border guards to turn back boats crossing the channel from France, resorting to force if necessary.
France-UK Dispute over How to Deal with the Refugee Crisis
French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly rejected London’s proposals to form a joint naval force to stop migrant boats and returning them to France. Paris emphasises that maritime law requires French patrol vessels to stop asylum seekers’ boats only if they have requested assistance or are in need of rescue operations. London, however, claims that maritime law seeks to prevent asylum seekers from entering British waters illegally.
Defective British Immigration System
The chairman of the Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet, expressed concern about the figures released by the Home Office on immigrants, saying that the British immigration system was flawed. Andy Hewett, Head of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said “We’re gravely concerned to learn the Home Office is planning to resume evictions of refugees in the middle of a global pandemic. This puts refugees at risk of homelessness, and increased risk of contracting Covid-19. It also increases the risk of transmission of the virus in the community.”
The Conservative government of PM Boris Johnson, and Home Secretary Priti Patel, have stepped up anti-immigration policies by easing Covid-19 restrictions and begun deporting thousands of illegal immigrants. The move has drawn criticism from human rights organisations and activists, who have called the government’s decisions “inhumane” and called on the UK government to reconsider. These decisions can lead to the displacement and homelessness of large numbers of immigrants and put them at risk of death.