Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to lay out plans for a consultation on changing legislation so migrants seeking asylum can be sent to processing centres in third countries. Officials are also said to be considering Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and other British islands.
The Government believes sending migrants to third countries for processing would be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), according to reports.
Last year saw plans for distant processing centres on Ascension Island and St Helena dismissed as being unrealistic by ministers.
Plans for an overhaul of the asylum and immigration system are expected to be published next week in a Government policy paper.
Other changes could involve people smugglers receiving life sentences in Britain, and migrant reception centres established on Government land.
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Changes to the UK’s asylum system are set to be included in the UK Sovereign Borders Bill in the summer.
A Home Office source told the MailOnline the move was designed to “break the link” between getting in a dinghy or lorry in France and securing a new life in the UK
They added: “If people know that they are not going to get to stay in the UK then they are less likely to make that perilous journey.”
Another source suggested Ms Patel wants to end “asylum shopping”, and added: “There is no justification for people travelling through safe countries like France in order to claim asylum in the UK.”
The Times has seen Ms Patel’s plans.
An immigration expert told the newspaper: “There is no law that explicitly prevents people from being removed to a third country.
“But it is arguable and there’s bound to be a court case about it — there’ll be arguments both ways.
“A refugee is going to not want to be removed to a third country and will no doubt instruct lawyers to try to prevent that. So they will bring a case to try to stop it happening.”
In a more scathing assessment, Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council charity, added: “We know from the Australian model that offshore detention leads to appalling outcomes including high levels of self-harm and mental illness.
“It is an inhumane policy that undermines our nation’s proud tradition of providing protection to people fleeing persecution and terror many of whom have gone on to work as doctors and nurses in the NHS. “
It follows more than 800 people crossing the Channel so far this year, three times as many as there were over the same period in 2020.
Last year saw a record-breaking 8,420 migrants made the perilous crossing in small boats.
The MailOnline reported Internal Home Office projections forecast an average 500 migrants a month will successfully make the crossing this year.
The projection would suggest around 6,000 migrants are expected to make the crossing in 2021, which, while lower than the record 8,417 last year, would be far higher than the 1,890 in 2019.