Landmark Borders Bill to enter parliament

Priti Patel warns social media companies to protect  children’s safety

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Those who enter the UK illegally will find it harder to stay under fundamental reforms in the Nationality and Borders Bill. Labour however have said the Bill underscores the Conservative’s broken record on migration.

The “fair but firm” New Plan for Immigration, first published in March 2021, set out the most radical changes to the broken asylum system in decades, the government said in a statement on July 6.

“For too long, our broken asylum system has lined the pockets of the vile criminal gangs who cheat the system. This isn’t fair to the vulnerable people who need protection or the British public who pay for it. It’s time to act,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel.

“This legislation delivers on what the British people have voted for time and time again – for the UK to take full control of its borders. It paves the way for a fair but firm system that will break the business model of the gangs that facilitate dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK while speeding up the removal of those with no right to be here,” she added.

The new system will also free up space in Britain’s courts, the government said.

“All too often judges are asked to review cases that have already been rejected on multiple occasions and stand zero chance of being overturned. These clog the system at taxpayers’ expense, delay the removal of people who have no legal right to be in the country, and cause misery to those with legitimate claims awaiting resolution,” said Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland.

“The bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission to be here, sending a clear message to migrants thinking about making the dangerous and illegal journey,” he added.

Labour however said the Borders Bill underscored that the asylum system in Britain is broken.

“The Conservatives have finally admitted that their 11-years in power has resulted in a broken asylum system – the responsibility lies on their shoulders,” said Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary

“Yet despite these failings, the measures being proposed in this Bill do not deal with the chaos they have created. They don’t deal with the fact that the time taken to process claims has rocketed or desperate people are still falling victim to criminal gangs. Instead, they will reduce support for victims of human trafficking, potentially break international law, and there are still no effective, meaningful proposals to deal with the increasing number of people risking their lives crossing the Channel,” he added.

Other measures among the wide range of changes to overhaul the system include:

  • Making every effort to remove those who enter the UK illegally having travelled through a safe country in which they could and should have claimed asylum; only where this is not possible, those who have successful 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 also have limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits
  • Making it easier to remove someone to a safe country while their asylum claim is processed
  • Increasing the punishment for people smugglers who facilitate illegal entry to the UK, who will face up to life imprisonment
  • Giving the Home Secretary power to control visa availability for countries refusing to take back their own citizens
  • Overhauling the immigration and legal system to make it fairer with faster access to justice to help prevent the need for last-minute legal claims
  • A new and expanded one-stop process to ensure that asylum, human rights claims and any other protection matters are made and considered together
  • Changing how someone’s age is assessed to protect children from being wrongly moved into the adult asylum system and stop illegal entrants falsely claiming to be children

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.