Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Four alternatives to the asylum plan in Rwanda, from offering safe routes to processing applications abroad

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The government’s controversial asylum plan in Rwanda fell at the first hurdle, we take a look at the alternatives

Intervention by the European Court of Human Rights prevented the plane from taking off yesterday, but the government has said it remains abiding by the policy.

Last-minute court action ended the first flight sending UK asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said earlier today: “Preparations for the next flight are starting now.”

Under the controversial Rwanda plan, some asylum seekers crossing the English Channel to the UK will be given a one-way ticket to Rwanda to seek asylum there. The aim of the policy is to act as a deterrent to those trying to reach the UK.

But those dealing with the immigration system argue that there are alternatives to the Rwanda plan.

Around 70,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered the UK as part of a recent programme. And under a separate agreement, about 114,000 have arrived in the UK from Hong Kong.

Colin Yeo, immigration and asylum lawyer at Garden Court Chambers, narrates I: “It is an underestimated idea to just deal with things as they are in a certain way.

“The numbers are not overwhelming.

“The fact is that all these programs (Ukraine and Hong Kong) have been successful.

“It would be better if people didn’t try to get across in small boats, but instead started large-scale resettlement programs.”

Jed Pennington, public law attorney at Wilson Solicitors LLP, said: “The asylum system is in a mess.

“There is a huge backlog. It was before the pandemic and it has gotten worse during the pandemic.”

He said it would be worth putting more resources into casework and speeding up the process of making decisions about asylum claims.

A view shared by Mr Yeo, who said: “The backlog is about 100,000 cases.

“People are stuck in immigration backlogs waiting for a decision.

“Keeping her waiting for years is cruel and pointless.

“And it’s costing taxpayers a fortune.”

He added: “When you know there will be a decision soon and you will be sent back, there is a deterrent.

“But the number of rejected asylum seekers who are deported has fallen sharply.

“There is no deterrence.”

“The Interior Ministry doesn’t need more money, it needs to run itself properly,” Mr Yeo said.

The system for asylum seekers in the UK has become more complex in recent years.

And according to Mr Pennington, resources are being “diverted and diverted” at the Home Office.

“When I started this work, refugees were given permanent residence permits, then they could apply for citizenship,” he said. “In the current system, refugees have five years, after which they have to submit another application.

“And with the new law, it’s three years if people arrive by dangerous routes.

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