Want to know how Labour will reform the asylum system and stop people needing to use boats to cross the channel? It’s all explained below.
A Labour government would:
1. Crackdown on criminal smuggler gangs, through new Cross-Border Police Unit and deeper security cooperation with Europe
A Labour Government would crackdown on criminal smuggler gangs by introducing stronger powers for the UK’s National Crime Agency to restrict the movement of those suspected of being involved in people smuggling and setting up a new cross-border police unit with officers based in the UK and across Europe to tackle gangs upstream.
That would include officers being posted directly to Europol to collaborate on joint investigations and to identify and seize boats upstream. Labour will also seek to negotiate a new security agreement with Europe, including a replacement to SIS-II, to allow for the real-time sharing of intelligence on people smuggling suspects. To fund this, Labour would redirect spending from the unworkable Rwanda scheme, which the government has admitted is subject to a very high risk of fraud.
2. End hotel use, clear the Tory asylum backlog, and speed up returns to safe countries
Labour will save the taxpayer billions by ending the use of hotels for asylum seekers within 12 months and setting up a new returns unit for safe countries. Labour will recruit over 1,000 Home Office caseworkers to clear the record Tory asylum backlog, and a further 1,000 staff for a new returns unit so that those who do not have a right to stay here can be quickly removed, and we end the use of costly hotels at the taxpayers’ expense. Labour will fast track decisions on applications from safe countries, like India and Albania, which are unlikely to be granted; and establish a new returns unit to reverse the 70% collapse in asylum removals that the Tory Government has overseen since 2010.
3. Reform resettlement routes to stop people being exploited by gangs
Labour would redesign the existing resettlement schemes which are not currently working properly so that they include a clearer process for refugees with family connections in the UK to be considered for resettlement, preventing them being exploited by criminal gangs or making dangerous journeys.
4. New agreement with France and other countries on returns and family reunion
Labour would negotiate a new agreement which includes safe returns and safe family reunions for child refugees.
5. Tackle humanitarian crises at source helping refugees in their region
Labour would work in partnership internationally to address some of the humanitarian crises that are leading people to flee their homes including restoring the 0.7% aid commitment when the fiscal situation allows and strengthening support for the people of Afghanistan, currently the largest group trying to cross the Channel.