Priti Patel has defended her revision of asylum seekers rules against allegations that they are “inhuman” when she confirmed that Britain will send migrants overseas for processing.
The government has billed the Home Secretary’s new immigration plan as “the biggest overhaul of the UK asylum system in decades”.
The Home Office said “fairness” and a real need for refuge are at the heart of the proposals, as well as measures to combat people smugglers and “make it easier to remove people from Britain who have no right to be there”.
Here are some of the suggested actions we know about so far:
Leading charities, including the British Red Cross, have criticized the proposed changes to judge applicants on arrival, not just on merit.
The charity said it will create an “unfair two-tier asylum system” before Ms Patel sets out the full details of the reforms and is due to speak in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.
The Interior Minister defended the plans as necessary to cope with the “terrible trade” in people smuggling and to repair the “broken” asylum system.
She confirmed that offers of processing asylum seekers could be obtained for foreign nations and said the government would “consider all options”.
“As part of this consultation, we will raise all options for cooperation with third countries and countries like Denmark that are already examining such options, and we will continue to examine bilateral options for the return and removal of people who have come to the UK illegally “She told Sky News.
It was assumed that Ms Patel would not elaborate on the nations with which she would like to conclude contracts for asylum processing centers on Wednesday, but Gibraltar firmly refused to accommodate a site after a proposal made last week, as was the case at the Isle of Man was the case.
The Home Office argued that “fairness” and a real need for refuge are at the heart of the new proposals, which include measures to combat people smugglers and “make it easier for people who are not entitled to be present to be removed from Britain”.
And the department said that “for the first time”, “whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on the progress of their asylum application and their status in the UK if that application is successful”.
But British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson said, “We shouldn’t judge how worthy of asylum anyone is to come here.
“The proposals effectively create an unfair two-tier system in which a person’s case and support are judged on how they entered the country, not on their protection needs. That’s inhuman. “
Ms. Patel insisted that she would work with the Red Cross and other organizations to create “safe and legal avenues”.
“What is inhuman is that people can be smuggled through illegal migration, and we want to stop that,” she told BBC Breakfast.
“We are going to create safe and legal ways for people to come to the UK safely, so that they can also be relocated to the UK. This is a fundamental change that we want to make.”
Last year, about 8,500 people came to the UK by crossing the canal in small boats and the majority applied for asylum, the Home Office said. An estimated 800 have made the crossing so far this year.
Access to benefits and family reunification rights could be restricted while the appeals process and judicial process are reformed to speed up removals for those whose claims are denied.
The measures, which are likely to be brought under a law on state borders, will also include “much more difficult for people to obtain refugee status on unsubstantiated claims” and “strict age ratings” to discourage adult migrants from posing as children.
Stricter laws are being put in place to “deny protection and remove dangerous criminals, even if they wrongly claim to be victims of modern slavery,” the Home Office said.
People smugglers will face life sentences, those attempting to enter the country illegally will face tougher crimes and foreign criminals who violate deportation orders and return to the UK could face up to five years instead of the current six months.
A new legal process from a single source is also proposed so that asylum, human rights claims and other protection issues are brought together and examined before the appeal negotiations.
Labor Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said he feared the changes would not reduce the number of people making “dangerous crossings” into the UK.
“There is clearly a need for action to speed up processes and prevent criminal gangs from profiting from dangerous transitions,” he said.
“We fear, however, that these plans will do next to nothing to encourage people to make dangerous crossings and risk disenfranchising desperate people such as victims of human trafficking.”
Enver Solomon, director general of the Refugee Council, accused the government of “wrongly distinguishing between deserved and undeserved refugees by choosing to protect those fleeing war and terror based on how they travel to Britain” , claiming the plans may undermine the country’s traditions of protecting people “regardless of how they found their way to our shores”.
Freedom from Torture’s Kolbassia Haoussou warned of the suggestion that most of the people the charity helps could be “criminalized”, adding, “These unreal proposals make it clear that this government is not serious about improving lives and to create a fair asylum system. ”