Politics

Priti Patel migration plan ‘set for remarkable results’ – new study lays bare huge impact

Channel crossings: Trevelyan on Rwanda plan

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Pointing to other countries which have implemented similar schemes, think tank Migration Watch suggests the UK strategy could yield remarkable results. It points out that Australia – which was the model Britain based its own strategy on – saw a dramatic decline in boats carrying asylum seekers after offshore processing centres were introduced in 2012.

The year after the policy was implemented, there were just under 20,600 boat arrivals.

This dropped to 163 in 2014 and then to zero in subsequent years.

“By stopping the boats, the Australians reduced the numbers going into the asylum system and prevented deaths,” the paper concluded.

“In the event that those coming via boat and lorry are swiftly and routinely sent to Rwanda, it could act as a powerful deterrent to those who are considering making the trip, while denying the criminal smugglers their huge profits.

“The most effective way of crippling the business model of the traffickers is to deny them their clients.”

More than 75,600 asylum seekers are thought to have arrived in the UK since January 2018.

Ministers are increasingly eager to tackle the issue after a surge in the number of arrivals, with the total number crossing in 2022 so far already three times higher than at the same point last year.

Many make the journey across the English Channel in small inflatable boats which are not suitable for such a journey.

There are fears thousands could die if the numbers are not significantly reduced.

On November 24 2021, 27 people tragically lost their lives after an inflatable dinghy carrying migrants from France capsized.

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In April, Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled a new strategy agreed with the Rwandan government to send those who arrive in the UK illegally abroad for processing.

Instead, those looking to claim asylum will be encouraged to apply for safe routes from UN refugee camps.

It is hoped the deal will disincentivise people from crossing the Channel.

Following the publication of its study, Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said evidence suggested the new policy could play a huge part in reducing the number of crossings.

He said: “The agreement with Rwanda, if implemented with vigour, will help to deter the criminals making millions from trafficking migrants.

“Implemented with care, humanity and resolution, this plan could deliver a real start on tackling the problem which, if not dealt with now, will go on getting worse.”

Critics of the new policy describe it as “unethical” and claim there is little proof it will work.

They say Australia only saw a reduction in the number of small boats arriving after other measures were also implemented.

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said it was designed to “distract from years of failure” to tackle illegal immigration.

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