Home Secretary Priti Patel promised major reform of the “broken” British immigration system when she revealed plans for an “all-digital border” within five years.
In a keynote address on Monday, Ms. Patel vowed to create a system that works for the “law abiding majority” and against those who want to “abuse our hospitality and our generous spirit”.
It also introduced the US Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which requires visitors to the UK to obtain electronic authorization prior to travel.
This would make the border safer as automatic controls allow the government to “count people in and out of the country” to get a “far clearer picture of who is here and whether they should be,” she said, adding : “And we will act when they are not.”
ETAs are required of those without a visa or immigrant status – although they are not needed by Irish citizens – and ministers promise that the system will be operational by the end of 2025.
Speaking to a conference organized by think tanks Bright Blue and British Future, Ms. Patel said, “When asked,” What’s next for immigration? “Is the answer a major reform of the system.
“Anything else would not be fair, would not protect our country and would not meet the demands of the British people I serve.
“They want a new system that works for the law abiding majority and against those who hope to abuse our hospitality and generosity.
“One that greets those most in need of refuge and hits dangerous criminals on the door.
“One that attracts top talent from all over the world.
“Our immigration system is broken and we will fix it.”
She promised to remove the “layers of adhesive tape” that she claimed had been placed on the system since the 1970s when she described the “broken system” as “unwieldy,” the cost of which “dropped to 1 this year A billion pounds have risen ”.
The plans would restrict illegal entry into the country to crack down on people smugglers, Ms. Patel said, adding, “We are following these gangs” and reiterating her plans “to meet the full force of the law with tougher penalties”.
When asked how the changes would affect migration figures, she said it would not rely on the “old language” of the targets, but insisted that the reforms are about greater system accuracy and ” crucial “simplification go.
The speech comes after the government outlined plans in the Queen’s speech earlier this month to tighten laws to deny refugee status to asylum seekers who crossed a safe country prior to arriving in the UK.
The proposal was condemned by the United Nations Refugee Agency and charities, who said it was a betrayal of Britain’s historical tradition of sheltering people fleeing persecution.
Ms. Patel insisted that the country still wanted to help those fleeing persecution and oppression, but said, “The concept of open borders is” flawed, “adding,” It is an indisputable fact that immigration is in everyone Respect has an enrichment and continues to enrich the sense of the word, our nation, immeasurably. “
After the speech, Refugee Council Director General Enver Solomon said, “The protection of refugees is and always should be a great British asset,” while Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, described the plans as “doomed” and claimed they did could “lead” to. traumatized “refugees are” punished.
Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrats’ interior affairs spokesman, warned the plans could be “harmful” and cause problems for employers hiring from overseas.
He also highlighted concerns previously expressed about the “staggering” cost of border security technology failures after a Home Office plan to upgrade computer systems was delayed by three years.
In March, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) announced that delays in digital services under the Border Program (DSAB) have cost taxpayers £ 173 million to date and that Border Force staff must use outdated technology to decide who is admitted to the UK.