Refugees who come to the UK through a safe and legal resettlement route will get indefinite leave to remain immediately upon arriving in the UK.
Under new plans to be announced by the Home Secretary priority will be given to refugees, including children, in regions of conflict and instability, rather than those who are already in safe European countries.
This would especially put asylum seekers making dangerous small craft crossings to Kent from France further back in the queue.
Currently, resettled refugees receive permission to stay in the UK for 5 years, after which they must apply again for indefinite leave to remain.
The Home Office says the indefinite leave would provide refugees with the stability they need to properly rebuild their lives in the UK.
The Government has already provided sanctuary to more than 20,000 vulnerable people escaping the conflict in Syria and says it remains committed to resettling refugees fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny.
The proposals are part of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s’ New Plan for Immigration, which is seen as fair but firm while the the present system is considered broken and outdated.
The plans, be announced in full next week, will have three key pillars:
Firstly, to increase the fairness of the system so those in genuine need of asylum can be better protected and supported.
Secondly, to deter illegal entry into the UK, so breaking the business of criminal smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger.
Thirdly, to remove more easily from the UK those with no right to be here.
Some of the proposals will mean:
Foreign criminals will no longer be able to frustrate the removals process by lodging endless claims for protection. People will be served with a new Priority Removal Notice and should raise all protection claims then so that all issues can be considered together, including grounds for asylum, human rights and modern slavery.
Refused asylum seekers will progress through a fast-tracked appeals process ensuring people get access to justice whilst minimising the time spent on meritless claims and appeals.
Decision makers including judges should give minimal weight to late evidence that a person raises in relation to asylum and human rights claims later on in the process, unless there are exceptional circumstances. A clear test will be laid down in law against which asylum claims will be assessed and a higher standard of proof will be required for protection to be granted.
Border Force will be given new powers to search containers coming into the UK, to help crack down on illegal migration at the first opportunity.
Refugees will be helped to flee persecution, oppression or tyranny with the Government providing them a route to get here safely and legally and it will broaden the reach of its resettlement programme to help those most in need.
Displaced families will be reunited more easily as the Government review the family reunion routes available to refugees who come here legally.
People smugglers who arrange entry to the UK will face life behind bars and the Government will increase the maximum sentence for illegally entering the UK.
Ms Patel said:“This Government promised to regain sovereignty and we have made immigration and asylum policy a priority. We have taken back control of our legal immigration system by ending free movement and introducing a new points-based immigration system. But to properly control our borders we must also address the challenge of illegal immigration too.
“For the first time in decades this Government will address this challenge through comprehensive reform of our asylum system.
“Illegal immigration is facilitated by serious organised criminals exploiting people and profiting from human misery. The same criminal gangs and networks are also responsible for other illicit activity ranging from drug and firearms trafficking to serious violent crimes.
“Our New Plan for Immigration will make big changes, building a new system that is fair but firm. We will continue to encourage asylum via safe and legal routes whilst at the same time toughening our stance towards illegal entry and the criminals that endanger life by enabling it.
“Not all of these reforms will happen overnight, so in order to save lives we will need to stick to the course and see this New Plan for Immigration through.”
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