UK to reduce the number of migrants arriving by legal routes

Britain’s home secretary on Monday reiterated the government’s policy to reduce the number of migrants arriving by legal routes as well as to stop asylum seekers arriving across the English Channel in small boats.

Responding to lawmakers’ questions in parliament, James Cleverly reminded that 92,000 legacy asylum claims were cleared last year and more than 112,000 claims were processed, marking the “largest volume in two decades.”

Saying the total asylum backlog is decreasing, he noted that they will continue to review and improve processes to accelerate the decision making in this regard.

In response to questions from members of parliament, Cleverly defended the government’s migration policy and criticized the opposition for having “no plan.”

“They have no plan, they have no commitment, and they’ve even said that if something is working, they would scrap it,” he added.

Asked what steps were being taken to reduce the number of legal migrants coming to the UK, Cleverly reminded about the recent government measures to further reduce legal net migration, including limitations on family dependents being brought in by workers and students.

He also vowed to raise the minimum income requirement progressively over the next few years.

“We want to make sure that this country is able to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and work of the brightest and best from around the whole world in a manner which is controlled, which is fair, which is predictable and which is well enforced,” he said.

He again criticized the Labour Party for opposing “every single step” that the government is taking to bring the migration figure down.

On housing unaccompanied migrants in hotels, a policy which the government shifted on, Tom Pursglove, minister for legal migration and delivery, said they are making “significant progress” in closing hotels, with 50 due to be shut by the end of January and more in the coming months.

“We’re also working to move asylum seekers into alternative cheaper accommodation and have successfully cleared the legacy backlog by deciding more than 112,000 cases,” he noted.

Pursglove added that reducing inflow into the system in the first place is the “crucial point” and called for support for the government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill.

Following the UK Supreme Court’s decision, the government introduced the bill, which states that Rwanda is a safe country to remove asylum seekers to.

A majority of British lawmakers last month backed a controversial bill that would allow the government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The bill, which was submitted to parliament in early December, aims to address the concerns of the Supreme Court, which ruled that the government’s original plan to send asylum seekers to the East African country was unlawful.

Nearly 30,000 migrants crossed the English Channel last year, over a third less than in 2022, when over 45,000 made the crossing, and slightly higher than the number in 2021, when more than 28,000 arrived in the UK.

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