04 Oct ‘Firm and fair’ asylum system will keep out those who arrive by ‘illegal routes’ – Patel | UK News
The home secretary will promise an asylum system that is “firm and fair” when she speaks at the Conservative Party conference later.
Priti Patel will present a system that would see the government routinely denying asylum to migrants who cross the English Channel on boats or via other “illegal routes”.
This would include migrants who pay criminal gangs or smugglers to help them reach the UK but “legal routes” would be created for those at risk of harm, she has promised.
Ms Patel told The Sunday Times: “Currently, everybody that comes to our country and makes an asylum claim, they are treated the same, irrespective of the route through which they have entered our country – and that simply isn’t right.”
It comes after the government was widely criticised after reports emerged that it had considered housing asylum seekers on disused oil rigs, banishing them to camps in Moldova or Papua New Guinea, or building floating walls in the sea to keep them out.
Ms Patel will speak to the Conservative Party conference later and will commit to the “biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades”.
She will say: “Under Conservative leadership, the United Kingdom has and always will provide sanctuary when the lights are being switched off on people’s liberties.”
Ms Patel will say: “From the expulsion of Ugandan Asians from a repressive regime, to proudly resettling more Syrian refugees than any other EU country, to supporting campaigners fleeing political persecution in Hong Kong.”
Resettled refugees are those who came to a new country as part of a specific scheme run by that country. But most refugees arrive in the EU as asylum seekers, not as part of a scheme.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Germany is the only European country that takes enough refugees to rank among the top 10 refugee host countries.
Ms Patel’s new system will stop people who make “endless legal claims to remain” in the UK and it will “expedite the removal of those who have no claim for protection”.
“I will take every necessary step to fix this broken system, amounting to the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades,” Ms Patel will say.
“We will continue to hunt down the criminal gangs who traffic people into our country.
“I will continue to use the full force of our outstanding National Crime Agency and intelligence agencies to go after them.
“We will make more immediate returns of those who come here illegally and break our rules, every single week.
“And we will explore all practical measures and options to deter illegal migration.”
Government figures show there were 34,354 asylum applications in the UK in the year ending September 2019 – 22% more than the previous year and the highest number since the year ending June 2016.