An issue I am often contacted about by Crawley residents is people entering the UK illegally. I have continued to call on Government to take more robust action in this regard and welcome new plans to address this directly.
The UK has over 109,000 outstanding asylum cases. Almost 73 per cent of these claims have been in the asylum system for over a year and 62 per cent of UK asylum claims were made by those entering illegally – for example by small boats, lorries or without visas.
This system is not fair on hard-working British taxpayers nor the people genuinely in need of sanctuary in this country. The only beneficiaries are people smugglers who make their money in the trafficking of other human beings. Such an abhorrent practice needs to come to an end.
The New Plan for Immigration will increase the fairness and efficacy of the immigration system so that this country can better protect and support those in genuine need of refuge. Government will continue safe and legal routes, and the Home Secretary will have the ability to grant a humanitarian route to vulnerable individuals in immediate danger and at risk in their home country.
The new proposals will discourage asylum claims via illegal routes, as other nations such as Australia succeeded in doing. By deterring illegal entry into the UK, we can break the ‘business model’ of people smuggling networks and protect the lives of those they endanger.
For the first time, whether a person enters the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses. The Government will also introduce a robust approach to age assessment, safeguarding against adults claiming to be children; as well as increasing the maximum sentence for illegally entering, and introducing life sentences for those facilitating illegal entry.
The plan will also make it easier for those with no right to be in the UK to be removed; in one recent case a man convicted of gang rape has tied up the legal system with four judicial reviews and has still not been deported.
The introduction of a ‘one-stop’ process to require all rights-based claims to be brought and considered together in a single assessment upfront will tackle the practice of making multiple and sequential claims and appeals. The Home Office have stated that the vast majority of last-minute claims designed to prevent removal are subsequently found by the courts to have no merit.
What is needed is a plan based on fairness. Access to the asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers.
The New Plan for Immigration is currently under consultation. For further information and to tell the Home Office what you think of the proposals, please visit: www.newplanforimmigration.com.
Henry Smith MP