Rishi Sunak commits to ending asylum claims backlog in major financial plan : The Prime Minister has outlined his strategy to address the problem of small boat crossings in the Channel, which includes eliminating the backlog of asylum requests and increasing the rate of repatriation of Albanian migrants.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Rishi Sunak outlined his strategy, stating that the existing international refugee system had become “outdated” and that his plan would “disrupt the control of criminal organizations.”
He warned that “unless we take decisive action now, the situation will only worsen” as he outlined the five steps his government would take to address the problem.
The Labour Party said that a lot of the proposed policies were simply tricks, and that they had been attempted unsuccessfully by the government in the past.
In an effort to reduce the backlog of asylum cases – which reached 117,400 in November – Sunak promised to double the number of asylum case workers and “radically redesign” the process to include clearer instructions and less paperwork.
He told MPs that as a result of all these changes, the productivity of their caseworkers would be tripled, and they expected to have eliminated the backlog of initial asylum decisions by the end of next year.
Sunak also announced a new agreement with Albania, which he stated would result in most asylum seekers coming from Albania having their applications denied.
He stated that Albania was a secure and thriving European nation, but that it still accounted for around one third of the individuals arriving by small boats from the English Channel. Additionally, he mentioned that the Albanian Prime Minister had declared that “there is no justification for why we cannot repatriate Albanian asylum seekers right away.”
To address this, Sunak announced that Border Force officers would be stationed at Tirana Airport in the country’s capital for the first time in an effort to “disrupt organized crime and prevent people from entering illegally”.
New instructions will be issued to caseworkers to make it unambiguously clear that Albania is a safe country, and the criteria for modern slavery will be raised to prevent Albanians from misusing the system unfairly. An attempt will be made to “disrupt organized crime and stop people from entering illegally”.
Other measures announced by Sunak include the establishment of a new “Small Boat Joint Operational Command” involving military, civilian and law enforcement capabilities, with the National Crime Agency as the lead agency.
The new initiative would help address the lack of unified law enforcement in the Channel, and would use all available technology to help authorities prosecute more boat operators linked to criminal gangs.
Sunak claimed that with these additional resources, immigration officers could focus more on enforcement, resulting in a 50% increase in operations.
He went on to describe the government’s new strategy for housing migrants, claiming it was “unfair and appalling” that taxpayers were spending £5.5 million each day to accommodate asylum seekers in hotels.
We must finish this quickly, so we will soon propose a variety of alternative locations, such as abandoned vacation parks, former student residences, and excess military sites, Sunak said.
“We have already identified places that can hold up to 10,000 people and we are currently having active conversations to secure those places and many more.”
In response to the announcement, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the measures proposed had been used in the past to divert attention away from the broken immigration system.
He also urged the government to do more to combat criminal groups that are facilitating the crossings, and suggested establishing a specialized unit within the National Crime Agency to address this issue.
He said, “We need leadership at home and abroad. We need a home office that works efficiently. And we need to defeat the criminal organizations operating on the coasts. However, this government has repeatedly failed to provide real solutions.”
The Prime Minister stayed at the Cabinet table the entire time. Instead of finding solutions, we were presented with impractical gimmicks.
“As I listened to that statement, I realized that it had been said almost exactly the same way before.”
He asserted that the Nationality and Borders Act had only exacerbated delays in the asylum system, and described the existing system as “slow track, not fast track”.
How can he possibly claim that new legislation will be the solution? The impractical solutions just keep coming. So do the border crossings. We need to put an end to this.