Migrants entering UK illegally will not be allowed to claim asylum, says Rishi Sunak
The British prime minister made the statement after his government introduced a law aimed at stopping those entering the country through irregular means.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday said that migrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom illegally will not be allowed to claim asylum and will be banned forever.
“You cannot benefit from our modern slavery protections,” Sunak said. “You cannot make spurious human rights claims and you cannot stay.”
The prime minister said that such migrants will be detained and removed from the country within weeks and added that they will either be sent back to their own country or to a “safe third country like Rwanda”.
Sunak made the announcement after his government introduced the ‘Illegal migration bill’, a draft law aimed to stop those reaching the UK through irregular means such as in the back of a lorry or crossing the English Channel on small boats. It was presented in the British Parliament by Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
More than 45,000 undocumented migrants crossed the English Channel to reach the UK in 2022 and most of them claimed asylum, according to The Guardian. Authorities estimate that the number of such people could be up to 80,000 this year.
On Tuesday, Sunak said that arrival of undocumented migrants is unfair towards those coming to the UK legally and the British people “who play by the rules”.
He added that the British government has tried all “every other way” of preventing the crossings but failed to stop them.
“This is how we will break the business model of the people smugglers,” Sunak said. “ This is how we will take back control of our borders.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it was “profoundly concerned” about the British government’s plan.
“The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be, and with no consideration of their individual circumstances,” the United Nation refugee agency said in a statement.
The body said many undocumented migrants are either fleeing war or persecution and have no access to passports and visas.
“There are no safe and “legal” routes available to them,” the refugee agency said. “Denying them access to asylum on this basis undermines the very purpose for which the Refugee Convention was established.”