The UK’s Home Office has announced that migrants who enter the country without permission along with their people-smuggling enablers could face stricter punishments.
This action has been considered in an attempt to prevent “asylum shopping” in the UK.
These enforcements form part of the Nationality and Borders Bill as part of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s pledge to fix the UK’s asylum system.
Home Office also added that it’s “very likely that those travelling to the UK via small boat will have come from a safe European Union country in which they could have claimed asylum”.
They stated that migrants are not seeking refuge at the earliest opportunity or “showing good reason for seeking to enter the UK illegally” but are instead “asylum shopping”.
Anyone who knowingly enters the UK without permission could face a maximum of four years in prison which is a significant increase from the original sentence of six months.
People smugglers, if found guilty, could face life imprisonment which is also an increase from the original sentence of 14 years.
The legislation will also broaden the offence of arriving illegally into the UK so that it encompasses arrival as well as entry.
Record numbers of people have been making dangerous journeys across the English Channel in small boats this year with nearly 6,000 reaching the UK in the first six months of the year.
Officials stated that the draft law was “sending a clear message to migrants thinking about paying people smugglers to make dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK”.
Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director Steve Valdez-Symonds stated that the Home Office is not providing safe and legal routes to the UK while adding, “Instead of peddling deliberately misleading myths and untruths about asylum and migration, the Home Office should be establishing safe routes for those few people escaping persecution who wish to seek asylum here.”