The Illegal Migration Act
- The Illegal Migration Act received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023.
- The Act changed the law so that people who enter the UK illegally will not be able to stay here.
- Instead, they will be detained and then promptly removed, either to their home country or to a safe third country like Rwanda where their humanitarian needs can be met.
- People who enter the UK illegally will not have their asylum claim determined in the UK, and they will not be able to make a life here. Once removed, they will not be allowed to come back to the UK.
- Whilst it will be possible for people to challenge the decision to remove them from the UK, this will not prevent their removal and any legal challenges will be considered when they have been successfully removed to another country.
- If people know there is no way for them to stay in the UK, they will not risk their lives and pay criminals thousands of pounds to get here.
- In turn, this will free up capacity so the Government can better support those in genuine need of protection through safe and legal routes.
Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda
- The UK and Rwanda agreed a Migration and Economic Development Partnership in April 2022.
- It includes a five-year ‘asylum partnership arrangement’ that allows the UK to send some people to Rwanda who would otherwise claim asylum in the UK.
- Rwanda will consider them for permission to stay or return to their country of origin. They will not be eligible to return to the UK.
- The High Court has ruled that the Government's plans to resettle asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful and the Government stands ready to defend against any further legal challenges.
Tackling the backlog
- The Government aims to clear the backlog of 92,601 asylum claims made before 28 June 2022 by the end of 2023.
- The number of asylum caseworkers has been doubled to 2,500 and incentives have been introduced to boost staff recruitment and retention.
- A radical simplification of the casework process has also been implemented, with shorter guidance, fewer interviews, less paperwork, and specialist case workers.
Other measures introduced this year
- The largest ever small boats deal has been signed with France to prevent channel crossings.
- A new agreement has been struck with Albania which makes it unambiguously clear that Albania is a safe country, enabling us to reject asylum claims and send individuals swiftly home.
- A new, permanent Small Boats Operational Command with hundreds of new staff has been established in the Channel.
- Immigration Enforcement activity has increased, with more than 3,500 enforcement visits since December 2022.
- Modern slavery rules have been reformed to make out system harder to exploit.
Since these measures were implemented
- Small boat arrivals in the UK have already decreased by 20%.
- Albanian arrivals have reduced by 90%.
- The asylum grant rate for Albanians, including withdrawals, is now at 2%.
- The Government has successfully returned nearly 1,800 Albanian nationals who were residing in the UK unlawfully.
- The number of illegal working raids has increased by over 50%, and arrests have more than doubled.
- The backlog of legacy asylum cases has also decreased by almost a fifth.