What can be done?
The campaign to cut immigration and stop asylum abuse
We propose the following measures:
Stop document destruction by asylum seekers
The government must crack down on the destruction of documents by asylum seekers. This is a criminal offence according to a 2004 law yet fewer and fewer prosecutions are being brought.
We know that most of those entering in dinghies throw their identity documents over the side of the boat so it is harder to identify them on arrival.
The government must enforce the law to prevent those who do this from having their claim even considered. This should be accompanied by more arrests, prosecutions and convictions of those entering illegally. To put this into perspective, there were 114,000 convictions of UK residents for TV licence fee evasion in 2019 (Ministry of Justice data). In contrast there were less than 50 convictions for illegal entry or overstaying in each of the past four years (2018-2021).
Introduce a new systematic cross-national screening process
This screening process is necessary to root out criminals and those rejected for asylum elsewhere in Europe.
After Brexit, the UK’s diplomatic muscle should be fully deployed to ensure better communication and cooperation with European countries so we have access to key intelligence on which entrants have already been rejected for asylum overseas and which applicants have already been accused or convicted of crimes.
Rejection or conviction in another European country should, prima facie, prevent the claim from being considered here.
End all asylum handouts for failed claimants
If someone’s asylum claim has been rejected they have no right to be here.
The UK must stop providing taxpayer-funded handouts to failed asylum seekers which obviously act as a deterrent for people to leave the UK and go back to their safe point of origin.
We estimate that £130 million was spent on such handouts in 2019/20 (see our estimate). The government has passed the necessary law to do this (in 2016) but has failed to implement it.
Stop age fraud by asylum seekers
We must toughen up asylum age checks to ensure those about whom officials have doubts regarding age are not placed in housing and schools alongside vulnerable children.
There must be mandatory scientific screening for all age dispute cases. Nearly half of resolved age disputes in the year to September 2022 revealed the claimant to be lying about their age.
Introduce tougher requirements for asylum approval
We must learn from other countries such as France so that we can make our asylum screening system more robust and harder to be exploited.
The standard of proof for claims must be increased, with both limbs of the tes being based upon the balance of probabilities. Lying in an application should be grounds for early dismissal.
The UK’s asylum grant rate is presently nearly three times that of France so it’s no wonder so many are trying to get here.
No de facto amnesty for asylum seekers
We must end the current process of fast-tracking the processing of certain claimants (such as those from Afghanistan) as this amounts to an effective amnesty for those coming here illegally.
Increase use of detention and enhance parliamentary sovereignty to ensure more removals
We must boost the use of detention, enshrine a new expanded list of safe non-EU countries in parliamentary statute (to guard against legal challenges), this can be done with a simple supplement to a 2002 law that is already on the books, and use carrot and stick diplomatic measures to increase the number of removals of failed asylum claimants, foreign criminals and immigration offenders.