British PM Rishi Sunak unveils 5-step illegal immigration clampdown

British PM Rishi Sunak also announces plans for new legislation that will set an annual quota for refugees coming to the United Kingdom.

Updated - December 14, 2022 02:05 pm IST

Published - December 14, 2022 11:27 am IST - London

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak  addressing the MPs on illegal immigration as Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman (right) reacts at the House of Commons, in London, on December 13, 2022.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressing the MPs on illegal immigration as Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman (right) reacts at the House of Commons, in London, on December 13, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, set out a new five-step strategy to clamp down on illegal immigration, with a promise to end the government's backlog of asylum applications by the end of next year.

Hundreds of additional staff will be deployed to a new unit to monitor small boats crossing the English Channel as well as a dedicated unit to handle claims from Albanians – among the largest cohort of illegal migrants despite Albania being categorised as a safe country. The new plans also cover housing 10,000 asylum seekers waiting for their claims to be processed in less expensive accommodation than hotels.

Also read: Trade talks with India not conditional on illegal migration: U.K.

"It is unfair that people come here illegally. It is unfair on those with a genuine case for asylum when our capacity to help is taken up by people coming through, and from, countries that are perfectly safe," Mr. Sunak said in a statement in the House of Commons.

"It is not cruel or unkind to want to break the stranglehold of the criminal gangs who trade in human misery and who exploit our system and laws. Enough is enough. As currently constructed the global asylum framework has become obsolete,” he said.

Under the government's five-point agenda, which Mr. Sunak said had been devised by him and his Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, a new permanent unified Small Boats Operational Command will be set up to coordinate intelligence, interception, processing, and enforcement. It will involve more than 700 new staff and double the funding given to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) for tackling organised immigration crime in Europe.

The second step he set out involves freed up immigration officials being able to increase raids on illegal working by 50%. The third area of focus will be to counter the GBP 5.5 million daily bill for the use of hotels to house asylum seekers and make use of alternative sites such as disused holiday parks, former student halls, and surplus military sites.

The fourth area covers a doubling of asylum application caseworkers “radically re-engineering” the end-to-end process with shorter guidance, fewer interviews, less paperwork and introducing specialist case workers by nationality.

The fifth and final area highlighted by Mr. Sunak in Parliament is aimed at tackling the large numbers from a “safe, prosperous European country” of Albania, who make up a third of those arriving via small boats.

“The Prime Minister of Albania has himself said there is no reason why we cannot return Albanian asylum seekers immediately,” said Mr. Sunak.

New pact with Albania

"Last year Germany, France, Sweden all rejected almost 100% of Albanian asylum claims. Yet our rejection rate is just 45% That must not continue. So today I can announce a new agreement with Albania – and a new approach,” he said.

The agreement covers embedding UK Border Force officers in Tirana airport in Albania to combat organised crimes and a new dedicated unit for the country expediting cases within weeks, staffed by 400 new specialists.

"We must be able to control our borders to ensure that the only people who come here come through safe and legal routes. However well intended, our legal frameworks are being manipulated by people who exploit our courts to frustrate their removal for months or years on end,” said Mr. Sunak, also announcing plans for new legislation that will set an annual quota for refugees coming to the United Kingdom.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.