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Nationality and Borders Bill over asylum seekers from Home Secretary Priti Patel enters Parliament


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Legislation to make it harder for people entering the UK illegally to stay entered Parliament this week.

The Nationality and Borders Bill was brought to the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Asylum seekers are usually picked up by Border Force officials based in Dover. Picture: Sam Lennon
Asylum seekers are usually picked up by Border Force officials based in Dover. Picture: Sam Lennon
Lord Chancellor.Robert Buckland: "Our reforms will ensure that appeals are heard fairly but not repeatedly." Picture: UK Parliament official portraits
Lord Chancellor.Robert Buckland: "Our reforms will ensure that appeals are heard fairly but not repeatedly." Picture: UK Parliament official portraits

This is part of the Government’s New Plan for Immigration, first published in March.

It says it is is to prioritise those in most need of protection while stopping the abuse of the system.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "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.

"This legislation 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."

"Judges are asked to review cases that have already been rejected." Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland

Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, said: "Our reforms will ensure that immigration appeals are heard fairly but not repeatedly – resolving cases more quickly and reducing the burden on our legal system.

"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."

The Government has already ended freedom of movement with the EU and introduced a points-based immigration system. The Nationality and Borders Bill now takes on illegal immigration.

The Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission to be here and is hoped to be a deterrent to those trying to make dangerous crossings across the Channel crowded onto small boats.

Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Home Office
Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Home Office

Other measures include:

Firstly, trying to remove those who enter the UK illegally after they travelled through a safe country where they could 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 . They will be regularly reassessed for removal from the UK. People entering unlawfully will also have limited family reunion rights and limited access to benefits.

Secondly, making it easier to remove someone to a safe country while their asylum claim is processed.

Thirdly, increasing the punishment for people smugglers who provide illegal entry to the UK. They will face up to life imprisonment.

Fourthly, giving the Home Secretary power to control visa availability for countries refusing to take back their own citizens.

Fifth, 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.

"People risk their lives in small boats and should not be locked up as criminals." Seeking Sanctuary

The sixth measure is a new and expanded one-stop process to ensure that asylum, human rights claims and any other protection matters are made and considered together.

Seventh is 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.

Asylum seekers stopped on the British side of the English Channel are usually picked up by the Border Force and brought to Dover for interview and processing.

Last week it was reported that nearly 6,000 reached the UK in the first half of this year.

Ben Bano, from the Deal-based pro-asylum seeker group Seeking Sanctuary, commented: "It s regrettable that seeking safety and sanctuary should be criminalised in the way outlined by the new Bill.

"People risk their lives in small and dangerous boats when they are desperate - they deserve to be treated with dignity and humanity rather then locked up as criminals."

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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