Asylum claims for English Channel migrants being wrongly rejected, think tank says

More than 35,000 people have arrived in the UK via the English Channel this year. PA
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More than two thirds of the migrants arriving in the UK via the English Channel would have successful asylum claims if they were properly processed, a think tank has said.

The UK is instead more focused on removing migrants who have arrived in the country since 2018, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said.

As a result, 43 per cent of claims that have received an initial decision have not been considered properly because the government has sought to remove them to a third country, IPPR research showed.

If applications were properly assessed, almost 70 per cent of applicants would be granted asylum, the think tank report added.

“Our research shows that the overwhelming majority of people coming to the UK on small boats make a claim for asylum,” IPPR associate director Marley Morris said.

“We estimate that most people crossing the Channel would be successful in their asylum claims if they were properly considered.

“More people apply for asylum in France than the UK, but those crossing the Channel are likely to have specific reasons — for instance, they may have family or community ties in the UK.

“The government’s approach to the rise in small boats arriving in the UK has so far rested on deterrence tactics. But these tactics have failed.”

Since 2018, only a small number of migrants have been moved to a safe third country, leaving them in limbo, IPPR research indicated.

More than 35,000 migrants — a record high — have crossed the English Channel this year.

How to deal with them has become a political problem for the ruling Conservative government, which has promised to get tough on immigration.

Increased naval patrols, asking France to step up land operations and the Rwanda deportation policy — a move that so far has not properly got off the ground — are among the measures the government has employed to discourage people from attempting the trip.

People from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Albania are among those most likely to risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel.

IPPR found three possible reasons behind the increase in people using the Channel sea crossing.

Tighter security at the Channel Tunnel has made appear to have a better chance of success; a reduced number of legal safe routes — a knock-on effect of Brexit and the UK’s withdrawal from its asylum rules; and the snowball effect of seeing people successfully make the voyage.

Six men suspected of being part of a people smuggling network involved in Channel crossings have been arrested in France.

The group, comprising people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and France, are accused of storing boats to be used by migrants to make the journey across the Channel to the UK, the National Crime Agency said.

Four boats and motors, as well as 133 life jackets, were seized from a lock-up garage in northern France when the arrests were made between October 18 and 20.

French police said the group visited the garage 20 times between July 29 and October 20 and are said to have taken delivery of the boats.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 11:01 PM
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