Rishi Sunak vows to stop seeking asylum from small boats
  • By Mary Jackson & Simon Jones
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

Under new laws expected to be announced next week, anyone arriving in the UK by small boat will be barred from claiming asylum.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said ministers would have a duty to stop and quickly remove those coming to the UK through that route.

The Prime Minister has already said that “stopping the boats” is one of his five priorities.

The British Red Cross called the plans “very concerning”.

Ms Braverman is expected to introduce the new legislation on Tuesday.

Currently, asylum seekers have the right to remain in the country to have their case heard. Under the new law, small boat arrivals will be barred from seeking asylum in the UK and barred from removal and permanent return to Rwanda or a “safe third country”.

He is expected to travel to Paris on Friday for the UK-France summit. The meeting with President Emmanuel Macron will be the first UK-France summit since 2018.

The two politicians are expected to discuss the small boats crisis.

Mr Sunak has promised to “stop the boats once and for all” – a promise he made twice in his first major speech of 2023.

“Illegal immigration is not fair on the British taxpayer, it is not fair on those who come here legally, and it is not fair to allow criminal gangs to continue their immoral trade. I am determined to keep my promise to stop the boats,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

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And speaking sunday sun Ms Braverman said “the only route to the UK would be a safe and legal one”.

There are still many questions about how this new plan will work.

The Home Office says there are several “safe and legal” routes into the UK. However, it is only available to British nationals in certain countries such as Afghanistan and Ukraine or Hong Kong.

Other asylum pathways only accept a limited number of refugees according to precise criteria.

The announcement comes just days after leaked WhatsApp messages from Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson’s Partygate inquiry dominated the news agenda.

The British Red Cross said the plans would do little to stop people risking their lives to seek safety.

Another charity that provides treatment for asylum seekers, Freedom from Torture, has called them “victimized and dysfunctional”.

The government’s commitment is not direct. No migrants have been sent to Rwanda and plans to do so are currently on hold. There is also no withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Last year, the government announced an agreement with Rwanda to send asylum seekers on a single route.

However, the plan is yet to be implemented after facing strong opposition and legal interventions from campaigners.

Opponents argued that Rwanda was not a safe place and the project violated human rights laws.

Under the scheme, asylum seekers can be granted refugee status to stay in Rwanda or seek asylum in a “safe third country”.

The government says it is discouraging others from crossing the English Channel, but there is no evidence that has ever happened.

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This is the highest number since the government began collecting these figures in 2018.

The latest Home Office figures show 2,950 migrants have already crossed the Channel this year.

Asylum seekers come to the UK from countries as diverse as Albania, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Most of those arriving by boat claim asylum on arrival in the UK and if their case is accepted, they can apply to stay in the UK.

However, asylum claims made on or after 28 June 2022 may be rejected if the applicant has ties to a “safe third country” such as EU countries.

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