THE refugee crisis in the English Channel is spiraling out of control – and with it the costs to our immigration and asylum system.
Around 83,000 migrants have made it ashore here since crossings began in 2018.
That’s more migrants than regular soldiers in the British Army.
Taking care of them while our incredibly slow system processes their asylum claims doesn’t come cheap.
In fact, the annual asylum bill has more than tripled to £2.1 billion since crossings began in 2018.
For comparison, that’s enough to cover the wages of 62,000 nurses.
With NHS strikes looming, the extra £1.5billion we are now spending on asylum seekers could have instead funded an extra five to six per cent pay rise for every nurse in the country.
And the costs keep rising.
We don’t yet have the full figures for the 2022/23 financial year, but with £5.6million being spent every day just on hotel accommodation for asylum seekers, the next official figures will be truly staggering.
But desperate as it is to find cost savings and get public finances in order, the government appears powerless to deal with the sewer crisis.
Treaties with France, an agreement with Albania, deployment of the Royal Navy. . . nevertheless, so far this year 44,000 migrants have made their way.
That’s partly why former Chief of Staff No. 10 Nick Timothy and I are calling for a radical overhaul of our failing immigration and asylum systems in a new report released by the Center For Policy Studies.
Our vision is based on the principle of deterrence and has three main pillars.
First, no illegal migrant should ever be allowed to settle here.
The offshoring of asylum seekers must become standard.
That means implementing the agreement with Rwanda on a large scale and signing similar agreements with two other countries.
We should be prepared to move tens of thousands of asylum seekers abroad if necessary.
We may have to leave the European Convention on Human Rights to achieve this. If yes, then so be it.
Savings of £8 billion over five years
Our analysis, drawing on the highly successful Australian example of Operation Sovereign Borders, shows that offshoring could save £8 billion over five years and significantly reduce Channel crossings.
Second, we must strengthen and adequately resource immigration enforcement, including through the indefinite detention of asylum seekers in barracks-like facilities and the use of GPS tagging.
This will end the exorbitant hotel bills.
This will require reversing the budget cuts for the immigration service (by 16 percent in real terms since 2013), but with the number of migrants crossing the border still rising, any other course of action would be wrong.
We must also tighten a leaky system that allows rejected asylum seekers to slide into the informal economy and evade detection for years.
That means tougher penalties for employers and landlords, facilitating illegal immigration, and far better use of data so we know exactly who is entering and leaving the country.
Third, future grants of asylum should be handled exclusively through dedicated programs, as we did in the Syrian refugee crisis.
This allows us to choose who comes here and how, with the annual number limited by law to a maximum of 20,000.
The public is fed up with flouting our laws
It also allows us to target our scarce resources to the most vulnerable, using five criteria we outlined in the report: vulnerability, geography, urgency, availability of alternative support, and domestic capacity.
But first we need to get channel crossings to virtually zero, which means offshoring and tighter immigration regulations.
None of this should be a hard sell for the government.
Exclusive polls conducted for our report show that 74 percent of voters think the government is handling transitions poorly.
Also, 59 percent of voters think immigration has been too high over the past decade — just 9 percent think it’s too low.
On six out of ten proposed metrics, the public agrees that immigration has had an overall negative impact over the past decade – including on wages and jobs.
In times of scarce living costs, in which everyone has to tighten their belts, it must not go on that more and more tax money is spent on asylum seekers.
As the Home Secretary writes in the report’s foreword: “The British public is fair, tolerant and generous in spirit. But we are fed up with continuing to flout our laws and immigration regulations to gamble away our asylum system.”
The recommendations we set out would put the UK on course to stop crossing the English Channel, slash the ever-growing asylum bill and allow the government to spend taxpayers’ money on things that really matter to a majority of voters.
- Karl Williams is a Senior Researcher at the Center For Policy Studies.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6848103/migrant-crisis-pay-for-62k-extra-nurses/ Migrant crisis could cost 62,000 extra nurses – time to cap numbers and leave European Convention on Human Rights