Europe

Channel crossing migrants may be fitted electronic tags while asylum claims are processed

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The proposal could help prevent migrants from absconding and make it “quicker and easier” for authorities to deport Channel crossers if their applications are rejected. Ministers hope electronic tags can help Immigration Enforcement keep track of Channel crossers who take up black-market jobs.

They intend to place tags on economic migrants and asylum seekers of working age and will subject them to restrictions on movement thereafter.

It is thought over a million illegal immigrants could be working in Britain.

Given many European Union member states require identification cards to work, the UK is often seen as a preferable nation to live and work in.

A Home Office source told The Sun the proposal was “a low cost, high impact way to make changes quickly”.

They also said it could be brought forward “in part to stop the pull factor and in part to stop people absconding while their claims to stay are being processed.”

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The source added: “Illegal entry isn’t a punishment-free crime.

“Tagging will make it quicker and easier to deport those who have no right to be here.”

However, the plans are actually being drawn up by officials in the Cabinet Office after Boris Johnson, 57, set up a task force to tackle the growing crisis last month.

The chief executive of the Refugee Council Enver Solomon told The Times: “Reports of plans to tag and curfew people seeking asylum of working-age smacks of desperation from a government that doesn’t know how to manage our asylum system in an orderly, effective and humane way.

“Treating innocent adults who have fled war and persecution like criminals is cruel, draconian and punitive.

“It won’t act as a deterrent or stop dangerous journeys.

“Instead the government needs to create more safe routes and ensure that everybody who reaches our shores is treated with humanity.”

The UK has witnessed almost 30,000 migrants make the perilous 21-mile journey from Calais to Kent in a record-breaking year for Channel crossings.

In comparison, just 8,420 made the same journey in 2020.

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The Brexit-backing Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove, 33, told The Sun: “The Nationality and Borders Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry.”

The Channel crossings have been amongst the main concerns for Conservative voters and Leave supporters.

According to YouGov’s most important issue facing the country poll tracker, 2019 Tory voters consider immigration and asylum the joint second most significant issue, behind health and level with the economy.

Amongst respondents who supported Britain’s departure from the European Union in 2016, immigration and asylum overtook health as the most important issue facing the UK.

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