Rachel has today backed the Home Secretary’s plans for the biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades.

The New Plan for Immigration sets out how the Government will seek to control illegal immigration now the UK has taken back control of legal immigration by ending free movement and introducing a new points-based immigration system.

The current system is collapsing under the pressures of illegal routes to asylum, facilitated by criminals smuggling people into the UK and too often resulting in the loss of life. At the heart of the New Plan for Immigration is a simple principle: fairness. Access to the UK’s asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers.

The New Immigration Plan has three main objectives:

  1. Firstly, to increase the fairness and efficacy of our system so that we can better protect and support those in genuine need of refuge.
  2. Secondly, to deter illegal entry into the UK, thereby breaking the business model of people smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger.
  3. Thirdly, to remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be here.

For the first time, whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses, and on their status in the UK if that claim is successful. Those who prevail with claims having entered illegally will receive a new temporary protection status rather than an automatic right to settle and will be regularly reassessed for removal from the UK. People entering illegally will have limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits.

For people who have their cases considered, but refused, the Government will seek rapid removal to their country of origin and will also reform the appeals and judicial process to speed up removals.

Refugees in need of protection will continue to be resettled through work with international organisations that provide a safe and legal route to the UK for people fleeing persecution in their home countries. This refined approach will be more responsive to persecuted minorities and emerging international crises: resettling refugees who are at urgent risk more quickly.

The Home Secretary will also have the ability to grant humanitarian protection to vulnerable individuals in immediate danger and at risk in their home country.

In welcoming the plan, Rachel said:

“The overwhelming majority of my constituents voted for myself and the Government to overhaul the UK’s asylum system. The current system is no longer fit for purpose and we need a new fair but firm approach.

“Considering the number of emails I receive on this issue; I know how frustrated my constituents have been about small boats coming to the UK.

“The New Plan for Immigration will ensure that these perilous and illegal journeys to the UK via safe countries in which people should and could have claimed asylum are no longer worth the risk, whilst ensuring the world’s most vulnerable can still seek refuge.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“Under our New Plan for Immigration, if people arrive illegally, they will no longer have the same entitlements as those who arrive legally, and it will be harder for them to stay.

“If, like over 60 per cent of illegal arrivals, they have travelled through a safe country like France to get here, they will not have immediate entry into the asylum system – which is what happens today.

“And we will stop the most unscrupulous abusing the system by posing as children, by introducing tougher, more accurate age assessments.

“Profiteering from illegal migration to Britain will no longer be worth the risk, with new maximum life sentences for people smugglers.

“I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people smugglers, they are also undeniably fair.”