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New asylum seeker processing centre launches at former MOD site in Manston


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A former MOD site in Thanet is ready to start processing asylum seekers, the Home Office has confirmed.

Ministers drew up plans last month for the former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston to be repurposed for processing people hoping to claim asylum in the UK.

The former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston now being used as asylum seeker processing centre. Picture: UKNIP
The former Defence Fire Training and Development Centre in Manston now being used as asylum seeker processing centre. Picture: UKNIP

It comes following a rise in the number of people attempting to cross the Channel in small boats, which saw at least 28,400 make the perilous crossing last year.

The Home Office has now confirmed the centre at Manston is "ready to support onward processing of those arriving".

A spokesperson said: “The UK’s asylum system is broken and has been unreformed for over two decades.

"This government is reforming our national approach to illegal entry to the UK and asylum.

“The government has a number of statutory duties for the welfare and wellbeing of migrants who come to the UK and which are completed on their arrival.

“The former Ministry of Defence site at Manston is ready to support onward processing of those arriving.

"We will continue to bring individuals rescued from the Channel into the most appropriate port, including Dover.”

Tug Haven - a processing site in Dover - will no longer be used from the end of January as the Home Office's tenancy is coming to an end.

People arriving into Dover will go through initial checks at the Port of Dover, and will then be transferred to the Manston site for processing.

It is thought the new site will be able to hold asylum seekers for up to five days as security and identity checks are completed.

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