UK: Priti Patel announces new restrictions on claiming asylum

UK: Priti Patel announces new restrictions on claiming asylum

Priti Patel

Asylum seekers who enter the UK illegally will find it harder to stay under significant new plans announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Ms Patel will later set out her plans for the “biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades”, which has already come under sharp criticism from human rights campaigners.

In a statement, the Home Office said: “For the first time, whether people enter the UK legally or illegally will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses, and on their status in the UK if that claim is successful.

“We will make every effort to remove those who enter the UK illegally having travelled through a safe country in which they could and should have claimed asylum.”

The UN’s refugee agency has expressed concern about the plans, telling The Guardian that asylum seekers are not obliged under international law “to apply in the first safe country they encounter”.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: “For years, Home Office ministers – under successive administrations – have demonised people who have come to this country to work, study, join family or seek asylum in a blind and unattainable pursuit of control without any semblance of compassion or humanity.

“What we really need is for the Home Office to end this harmful pattern which is doing untold damage to people caught up in its systems while increasingly presenting the UK as firmly on the side of abusers, exploiters and oppressors rather than their victims.”

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