Home Secretary Priti Patel is revealing the “biggest overhaul of asylum rules in decades”, now that Britain is no longer part of the European Union.
There were 35,099 claims for asylum in the UK in the year ending March 2020, with most of those applicants coming from Iran, Albania and Iraq and Mrs Patel said the system was "overwhelmed."
🇬🇧 At the heart of 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗜𝗺𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 is a simple principle: Access to the UK’s asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers 👇🏽 https://t.co/4Ap8fSyN2U— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) March 22, 2021
She said the changes would make it harder for people to enter Britain illegally from a European Union country and then claim asylum.
Mrs Patel told the BBC: "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 percent 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.”
She said her proposals were based "on genuine need of refuge, not on the ability to pay people smugglers” and insisted Britain would not be turning away people who were genuinely in fear of their lives.
Giving Britain the right to control its borders and limit immigration was a key part of the Leave campaign at the 2016 Brexit referendum and Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP and the Brexit Party, has continued to heckle the Conservative government about its inability to tackle the issue.
"International law does not require asylum seekers to claim asylum in first safe country. This principle has been recognised in UK case law, and the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 provides a defence against prosecuting refugees for entering UK illegally".https://t.co/dNfKYehMoB— Shoaib M Khan (@ShoaibMKhan) March 24, 2021
Ms Patel also plans to introduce tougher age assessment tests "to stop adult migrants pretending to be children."
Dental tests can indicate the approximate age of a child, young person or adult and in 2018 doctors in Germany rejected a proposal by the government to introduce mandatory X-rays to determine the age of unaccompanied child migrants.
In 2005 a woman was shot dead at a party in south London by two teenage brothers - Timy and Diamond Babamuboni, who were later convicted of murder. At their sentencing hearing the judge was told the police believed they were considerably older than the ages on their Nigerian birth certificates but the pair had refused to submit to dental tests.
The government’s New Plan for Immigration has been criticised by groups representing refugees.
Priti Patel's latest asylum plans will push more people into dangerous journeys. Many fleeing persecution will be totally left out of resettlement routes.— JCWI (@JCWI_UK) March 24, 2021
Our explainer https://t.co/OrcRdFSdoU
Govt cannot be allowed to tear up refugee law + turn its back on vulnerable people. pic.twitter.com/3GqR3i485w
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "The proposals effectively create an unfair two-tiered system, whereby someone's case and the support they receive is judged on how they entered the country and not on their need for protection. This is inhumane."
The Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the proposals, if implemented, would do "next to nothing to stop people making dangerous crossings, and risk withdrawing support from desperate people, such as victims of human trafficking."