More migrants have arrived on the Kent coast by boat, just one day after Priti Patel announced a new crackdown on the cross-Channel people trafficking trade.
The Home Secretary announced yesterday that illegal migrants ‘should and could’ make claims in the European countries they pass through on their way to Britain, rather than the UK itself.
Ms Patel warned the current asylum system is ‘collapsing’ because of the strain placed on it by people smugglers and dangerous Channel crossings as she set out a new plan to slash the privileges of those who come to the UK via an unauthorised route.
However, barely hours after her statement to the Commons – which sparked warnings of a spike in crossings before the new system comes in – dozens of migrants were intercepted near Dover, while another five landed on a beach at Dungeness.
Dozens more migrants have arrived on the Kent coast by boat, just one day after Priti Patel announced a new crackdown on the cross-Channel people trafficking trade
Around 35 people were brought into Dover Marina on the back of the Alert cutter shortly after 11am, which also towed the large grey rigid hulled inflatable boat they had attempted to make the dangerous journey in
Meanwhile, a few short miles up the coast, Kent Police were called to help locate and detain another small group in Lydd
The Home Secretary announced yesterday that illegal migrants ‘should and could’ make claims in the European countries they pass through on their way to Britain, rather than the UK itself
No right to settle under Priti Patel’s asylum blitz
- Migrants who arrive in the UK illegally will no longer have the right to permanently settle here even if they have a strong asylum claim.
- Anyone who arrives illegally having passed through a ‘safe country’ will be deemed ‘inadmissible’ to the UK asylum system.
- The Government will seek the ‘rapid removal’ of ‘inadmissible cases’ back to the country they travelled to the UK from.
- Those who cannot be returned to a safe country will be granted ‘temporary protection status’ for 30 months, with only limited access to benefits and limited family reunion rights.
- The Government’s asylum estate will be expanded with the creation of new reception centres to provide accommodation while claims are processed.
- Action to improve age assessment measures to safeguard against adults claiming to be children.
- A new ‘one-stop’ process for claims which will require people to spell out all protection-related issues in one go to prevent last-minute legal bids to thwart removal of failed asylum seekers.
- Maximum sentence for people smugglers raised to life, and to five years for foreign criminals who return to the UK in breach of a deportation order.
- New humanitarian routes for the ‘vulnerable’ in ‘immediate danger’.
Around 35 people were brought into Dover Marina on the back of the Alert cutter shortly after 11am, which also towed the large grey rigid hulled inflatable boat they had attempted to make the dangerous journey in.
The migrants, who appeared to mainly be Vietnamese, wore orange lifejackets, disposable face masks and beanie hats to keep warm.
One woman was spotted among the group being escorted up the gangway for processing by Immigration Enforcement officers.
Meanwhile, a few short miles up the coast, Kent Police were called to help locate and detain another small group in Lydd.
Ms Patel made her policy announcement yesterday as 67 migrants arrived in three separate incidents, with French authorities also preventing three attempted crossings earlier that night involving an estimated 114 people.
Much of the Home Secretary’s crackdown will be contingent on securing agreement with other countries, particularly France, raising questions about how effectively the measures could be introduced while some illegal migrants will still be able to remain in the UK for potentially as long as 30 months.
The proposed changes will mean anyone arriving illegally who has passed through a ‘safe country’ will be considered ‘inadmissible’ to the UK’s asylum system.
The Government will seek the ‘rapid removal of inadmissible cases’ to the safe country they travelled from or to another safe third country.
Meanwhile, Border Force will be given new powers to stop and redirect small boats and those on board away from the UK if they are suspected of trying to enter the country illegally. But this proposal will require agreement from the receiving port or country.
In a bid to further deter people smugglers, the maximum sentence for such activity will be raised to life.
The Government will also expand its asylum estate with the creation of new reception centres which will provide basic accommodation while cases are processed.
This means the use of hotels to accommodate new arrivals who entered the UK illegally will end.
A map shows the points along the coast where migrants have landed in the UK over the past year after crossing from France
Ms Patel said the ‘most significant overhaul of our asylum system in decades’ is necessary to ‘protect lives because we cannot carry on as we are with people dying in the hands of gangsters and smugglers’.
She said people who arrive in the UK illegally having travelled through France and Germany are ‘not seeking refuge from persecution’ but rather ‘you are choosing the UK as your preferred destination’.
Ms Patel said her new plan to toughen up the system will mark a ‘step change in our approach’ to asylum which will ‘deter illegal entry and the criminals that endanger life by enabling it’.
However, the unveiling of the plan immediately prompted concerns of a potential spike in the number of attempted Channel crossings before the crackdown is implemented.
The Immigration Services Union (ISU), which represents Border Force staff, said announcing changes to immigration rules ‘inevitably’ causes a ‘surge’.
ISU spokeswoman Lucy Moreton told MailOnline: ‘It is equally inevitable that the criminals who drive irregular migration such as the small boat migration will use this as a reason to drive up both demand for and the cost of the crossings.’
Another well-placed source said: ‘I don’t think the proposed measures will stop people from crossing. In fact, I think even announcing them will cause even more crossings.’
The latest official Home Office figures mean 1,056 migrants have made the 21-mile journey so far this year.
And 525 have made arrived in March on 27 boats – which is almost three times the 187 who arrived in 13 boats in the same month last year.
The busy week has included a record breaking day for 2021 when 183 migrants were intercepted on Monday in six incidents.
But today could be the last day of crossings for a while as poor conditions at sea are expected.
In 2020 a record 8,410 migrants arrived by small boat – dwarfing 2019’s total of just 1,850.