The Home Secretary said the new firm but fair immigration rules would see people with no right to be here deported quicker. She fears the current system rewards those with “the ability to pay people smugglers” – not those in genuine need of refuge in the UK. Under the rules, published today, people who arrive in the UK illegally will no longer be able to remain indefinitely – with the Home Office making repeated attempts to deport them even if they are given temporary protection status.
Ms Patel said: “Under our New Plan for Immigration, 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. I make no apology for these actions being firm, but as they will also save lives and target people smugglers, they are also undeniably fair.”
Immigration minister Chris Philp said Britain’s commitment to “protecting those fleeing persecution, peril and tyranny remains undiminished.
“The British public are fair and generous when it comes to helping the most vulnerable, but they also recognise that for too long, parts of our immigration system have been broken and open to abuse.”
Ministers want to destroy the business models of people-smuggling gangs who promise vulnerable migrants that they will be allowed to stay if they reach British shores.
Asylum seekers will also face tougher age tests as “too many people have got away with pretending to be children and accessing the additional support” that entails, officials revealed.
A Home Office source said: “Those who arrive illegally will no longer get indefinite leave to remain. We will keep trying to remove them. We are taking away the product from the gangs.”
Ministers admitted murderers, rapists and drug dealers have also exploited the system to make repeated, last-minute claims of human rights abuses in their home countries to avoid deportation.
The Government will force those facing deportation to reveal any asylum or human rights considerations, such as claims that they are victims of modern slavery or at risk of torture, in one appeal.
As part of the plan, applications would take place and be approved overseas to avoid the applicants arriving in the UK illegally. The “New Plan for Immigration” will see the vast majority of asylum applications rejected if the person arrived here illegally.
The Home Office said “we will make every effort” to deport those who have travelled through countries such as France, Spain, Italy or Greece to sneak into Britain.
In exceptional cases, migrants will receive a new temporary protection status rather than an automatic right to settle.
People entering illegally will also have limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits. A National Age Assessment Board will be established to stop adult migrants pretending to be children.
And people smugglers could be jailed for life while criminals will get up to five years’ jail if they are deported from the UK, then return.
The Home Office said most of the 8,500 people who crossed the Channel in small boats last year had claimed asylum.