Rishi Sunak sets out plan to combat record arrivals of asylum seeker boats

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“Over the coming months, thousands of Albanians will be returned home, and we will keep going with weekly flights until all the Albanians in our backlog have been removed,” Sunak said.

“It is not cruel or unkind to want to break the stranglehold of criminal gangs who trade in human misery and who exploit our system and laws.

“Their journeys are not ad hoc, but co-ordinated by ruthless, organised criminals, and every single journey risks the lives of women, children and – we should be honest – mostly men at sea.”

Albania will be declared a safe country to guide caseworkers considering claims.


Sunak said that the international asylum system, drawn up in the shadow of World War II, was obsolete, and hostile states were using migration as a weapon to undermine European stability.

He outlined a package of changes to tackle the problem.

These included:

  • stationing British officers at Tirana airport in Albania.
  • a new taskforce combining the military, National Crime Agency, intelligence officers and policing to stop boats entering the Channel.
  • doubling the number of caseworkers to clear the backlog of claims by the end of next year.
  • removing arrivals from hotels and housing them in holiday parks, military sites and former university dormitories.
  • and introducing new laws to remove those who travelled by boat to other countries.


“Our legislation will ensure that if someone comes to this country illegally, they will not have the right to stay here,” Sunak said.

“It is a simple proposition; it is a fair proposition; and it is one that is supported by the vast majority of people across our country.”

Banks will also be required to restart checks that anyone opening a new bank account is cross-checked against a database of illegal immigrants.

And in a bid to stop migrants and asylum seekers using the Modern Slavery Act to gain access to resettlement in Britain, anyone claiming to be a modern slave will have to show evidence instead of satisfying a suspicion.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.Credit:Getty

The UK has been stymied in its attempts to send those who made boat journeys to a third country, like Australia did, by the European Court of Human Rights.

In Britain’s case, the government wants to send migrants to Rwanda as well as strike new deals with other third countries. However, it has not enjoyed much success in convincing other smaller or Commonwealth states to accept its unwanted migrants.

The UK cannot turn boats around in the English Channel like Australia did because there are no international waters between France and England.

Gillian Triggs, the UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection condemned the UK’s proposal to deport asylum seekers to third countries.

“The announced proposal to first detain, and then either return asylum-seekers to their home countries, or transfer them to a third country would amount to a denial of access to the UK asylum system for those who arrive irregularly,” Triggs said in a statement.

“That approach would close down access to asylum in the UK for all but a few,” she said.

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