The Government has billed the Home Secretary’s new immigration plan as the “biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades”.
The Home Office said “fairness” and a genuine need for refuge are at the heart of the proposals, as well as measures to tackle people smugglers and to “remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be there”.
Here are some of the proposed measures we know about so far:
– For the first time, people deemed to have arrived in the UK “illegally” will no longer have the same entitlements as those who come to the country by legal routes. This will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses and their status in the UK if that claim is successful.
– Access to benefits and family reunion rights could be limited while the appeals and judicial process will be reformed to “speed up” removals for those whose claims are refused.
– The Home Secretary will be able to offer protection to vulnerable people in “immediate danger and at risk in their home country”.
– The system will be made “much harder for people to be granted refugee status based on unsubstantiated claims” and will include “rigorous age assessments” to stop adult migrants pretending to be children.
– Tougher laws will be introduced to “withhold protection and remove dangerous criminals, even when they improperly claim to be victims of modern slavery”.
– Life sentences will be brought in as a maximum penalty for people smugglers.
– Harsher sentences will be imposed on people trying to enter the country illegally.
– Foreign criminals who breach deportation orders and return to the UK could be jailed for up to five years instead of the current six months.
– A new one-stop legal process is proposed so asylum, human rights claims and any other protection matters are made and considered together ahead of appeal hearings.