The Government has announced ground-breaking new laws to stop the small boats crossing the English Channel and to end illegal entry as a route to asylum in the UK.
The Illegal Migration Bill will remove the incentive for people to risk their lives through these dangerous and unnecessary journeys and pull the rug from under the criminal gangs profiting from this misery once and for all.
People who arrive in the UK illegally will instead be detained and swiftly removed to their home country if safe, or another safe third country, such as Rwanda, where they will be supported to rebuild their lives.
Migrants may be detained for 28 days with no recourse for bail or judicial review, and then for as long as there is a reasonable prospect of removal.
Anyone illegally entering the UK will be prevented from accessing the UK’s world-leading modern slavery support or abusing these laws to block their removal. Rachel led efforts to get the Government to review its modern slavery laws and has been successful in securing this measure in the new Bill. Any other challenges or human rights claims can also only be heard after removal, remotely.
By ending illegal immigration as a route to asylum, stopping the boats and taking back control of our borders the Bill will ensure the UK can better support people coming through fair, safe and legal routes.
The UK is a compassionate country, and welcomes refugees from the around the world, but under this Bill, Parliament will set an annual cap on the number of refugees settled via safe and legal routes, taking into account local authority capacity for housing, public services and the support communities rightly expect.
The annual number settled via safe and legal routes will be kept under review, and if there is a humanitarian crisis within the world that requires a response, then the UK will step up and offer sanctuary to those in need, as we have done for tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Afghans.
These new laws form part of the action the Government is taking to stop small boat crossings and illegal migration as a whole.
- an agreement with Albania that recognises their status as a safe country
- a new dedicated unit to speed up the processing of Albanian cases - since the announcement in December we have returned over 3000 illegal migrants, including over 500 Albanians
- ending the legacy backlog of asylum claims by the end of 2023 - we have already doubled decision makers and we will double the number again and we are changing the system to make it more productive
- reducing the use of hotels, with the government currently spending £6.2 million a day, by moving asylum seekers to cheaper alternative accommodation
- established the Small Boats Operational Command in December, enabling us from January to protect the resources of our Immigration Enforcement teams - as a direct result of this change, we have been able to significantly increase the numbers of immigration enforcement visits undertaken, deliver a 50% uplift in enforcement visits per month and have seen a corresponding increase in arrests
- doubling the funding for Operation Invigor, which brings together the NCA, Home Office Intelligence and UK policing to disrupt organised crime groups who are smuggling people from source countries to the beaches of northern France
- our joint work with France saw nearly 33,000 Channel crossings prevented in 2022, compared to just over 23,000 in 2021 - since the UK-France Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC) was established in July 2020, 59 organised criminal groups involved in small boats crossings
- clamping down on people smugglers, with over 350 arrests made since the Nationality and Borders Act became law
- welcoming current collaboration with the French to tackle illegal migration, which includes agreeing further action at the UK/FR Leaders’ Summit
“The Prime Minister promised he would bring forward new laws to stop the boats, and he’s delivered.
“The message is clear: if you’ve come here illegally then you will be removed.
“The most compassionate thing we can do is to stop the boats, prevent people from drowning in the Channel and smash the people smuggling gangs.
“It is not bigoted to want to control our borders. We have the sovereign right to decide who can or cannot enter our country. Our friends around the world do just that including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. I’m pretty sure they are not viewed as bigoted countries!
“I look forward to voting for these ground-breaking laws and to deliver on the promise I made to my constituents that I would back tough measures to tackle illegal migration and to stop the boats.”