Migrant crisis: Government to press ahead with plans for offshore processing hubs

Published by Scott Challinor on November 20th 2021, 3:03pm

As part of its Nationality and Borders Bill, the UK government is to press on with plans to create offshore processing hubs as part of an overhaul to the UK asylum system.

The plan is modelled on the Australian policy of sending migrants arriving in the country illegally to centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Migrants arriving in the UK illegally would be sent to the centres within seven days of their arrival, a move which ministers hope will quell record levels of migrants crossing the Channel from France, which recently prompted criticism of the government from Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer.

According to The Telegraph, over 24,500 migrants have reached the UK so far in 2021, including a record 1,185 in a single day in November.

The total amount successfully reaching the UK this year is almost treble the 8,417 that made the crossing in the whole of 2020.

Home secretary Priti Patel [pictured] has previously described the UK asylum system as “broken” and in major need of reform.

Discussing the idea of offshore hubs, immigration minister Tom Pursglove said that they formed an “important part” of the government’s plans.

Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab told Times Radio that the hubs would detract from the “pull factor” drawing migrants toward the UK, rather than seeking refuge in safer nations nearer to their countries of origin.

He said: “We are looking at international partnerships that can take the processing out of the UK in order to try and reduce the pull factor which means people think they can successfully take advantage of these routes.

“Forgive me not commenting on the individual countries, a lot of these discussions are at a preliminary stage, it is much more than just one partner.”

The Telegraph reports that the government has been looking to identify a suitable location for an offshore centre for around a year.

However, Albanian premier Edi Rama appeared to rule out the prospect of his country coming forward to provide the setting for an offshore hub this week, after informing local media that he will “never receive refugees for richer countries.”

Patel had opened talks over the possibility of the Albanians providing the venue for an offshore processing hub back in July, when she signed an agreement for Albania to take back any of its nationals deported from the UK after committing crimes.

Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons

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Scott Challinor
Business Editor
November 20th 2021, 3:03pm

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