UK has expelled just 10 asylum seekers back to 'safe countries' in 2021

·Political Correspondent - Yahoo News UK
·6-min read
EDITORS NOTE Children's faces have been pixelated as the PA Picture Desk has been unable to gain the necessary permission to photograph a child under 16 on issues involving their welfare. People thought to be migrants are helped ashore by lifeboat crew members, after arriving on a dinghy at a beach in Dungeness, Kent. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Just 10 migrants were found to be wrongly in the UK between January and September 2021. (Getty Images)

The government has deported just 10 asylum seekers who travelled to the UK from a ‘safe country’, new Home Office data show. 

The deportation of asylum seekers can only happen after appeals processes have been exhausted to ensure people are not wrongly deported in order to comply with human rights laws. 

The tiny figure is in stark contrast to the scale of the issue presented by the UK government.

Speaking at a home affairs committee earlier this month, Patel defended her UK Nationality and Borders Bill in which the government plans to block asylum claims from those passing through a "safe" country, such as France or Italy.

Patel claimed 70% of individuals on small boats were single men who were economic migrant are not "genuine asylum figures".  

And at the Conservative party conference in October, Patel said she wanted to clamp down on asylum seekers travelling through 'safe' countries like France claiming they had no right to be in the UK.

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"France is a safe country, one not riven by war or conflict, there is no reason why any asylum seeker should come to the United Kingdom directly from France," the home secretary told attendees.

"We make no apology for securing our borders and exploring all possible options to save lives by ending these horrific journeys."

Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Tuesday October 5, 2021. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Home secretary Priti Patel says asylum seekers that pass through 'safe countries' have no 'reason' to be in the UK, contrary to international human rights law. (PA Images)

However, the new figures appear to paint a very different picture of the numbers of people this is likely to impact.

Between January and September 2021, 37,562 people have claimed asylum in the UK, a far lower number compared to other European countries like Germany - where claims are in excess of 100,000.

7,006 asylum claimants were identified for consideration on "inadmissibility grounds" in the UK - with 6,598 'notices of intent' issued. This means the government is considering whether removing the asylum seeker is appropriate or possible.

Since UK’s departure from the EU, stronger inadmissibility rules have come into effect - meaning the Home Office does not necessarily need to consider an asylum seeker if they came via a 'safe' country.

However, the new figures reveal only 48 people were served with inadmissibility decisions between January and September 2021, and 10 were 'returned'. Deportations were made to Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

2,126 individuals were subsequently admitted into the UK asylum process for their claim. to be considered.

EDITORS NOTE Children's faces have been pixelated as the PA Picture Desk has been unable to gain the necessary permission to photograph a child under 16 on issues involving their welfare. A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by members of the Dover lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
More than 20,000 people have made the journey across the English Channel in 2021. (Getty Images)

Under international human rights law, it is not illegal to travel through a 'safe' countries to claim asylum elsewhere - and refugees are permitted to claim asylum in any country they choose.

Refugees and campaigners say that many make the perilous journey across the Channel in order to reunite with family members or because they been left waiting too long for their asylum claims to be processed.

French police officers pass a deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK. Picture date: Thursday November 18, 2021.
French police officers pass a deflated dinghy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais as migrants continue to launch small boats along the coastline in a bid to cross the Channel towards the UK. Picture date: Thursday November 18, 2021.

The new data comes after at least 27 people drown in the Channel on Wednesday in the worst migrant Channel crossing drowning in history, with campaigners warning crossing is at risk of becoming a "graveyard". 

France's interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, said among the dead were 17 men, seven women - one of whom was pregnant, two teenage boys and a girl.

An Afghan soldier who had worked with British troops in Afghanistan was one of those who died; the Times reported the soldier's family said he attempted the dangerous crossing because he “waited so long for help”.

EDITORS NOTE Children's faces have been pixelated as the PA Picture Desk has been unable to gain the necessary permission to photograph a child under 16 on issues involving their welfare. A young child amongst a group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Friday September 10, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE Children's faces have been pixelated as the PA Picture Desk has been unable to gain the necessary permission to photograph a child under 16 on issues involving their welfare. A young child amongst a group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Friday September 10, 2021. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

The home secretary told MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday that French president Emmanuel Macron needed to do more to tackle the issue, and that there was "no quick fix". 

“This is about addressing long-term pull factors, smashing the criminal gangs that treat human beings as cargo and tackling supply chains," she said. 

Boris Johnson said he "shocked, appalled and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea", and accused France of not doing enough to prevent the crossing.

CALAIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 25: Belongings of migrants, along with a deflated dinghy, life jacket and engines, lie on the beach of Wimereux on November 25, 2021 in Calais, France. At least 31 people including five women and a young girl died trying to cross the Channel to the UK in an inflatable dinghy in an incident in which the International Organisation for Migration described as the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since it began collecting data in 2014. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)
Belongings of migrants, along with a deflated dinghy, life jacket and engines, lie on the beach of Wimereux. (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

“I am afraid what it also shows that the operation that is being conducted by our friends, on the beaches, supported with £54m from the UK to help patrol the beaches, all the technical support we have been giving, they haven’t been enough," he said. 

"And, though I have every sympathy with people genuinely in fear of their lives, I have no sympathy whatever with the people traffickers who take thousands of pounds to send children to sea in frail and dangerous craft.

"And we must end this lethal trade, we must break the gangsters’ business model."

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President Macron has urged the British government not to politicise the tragedy, and has urged cooperation to prevent further death

Of the 23,000 people have attempted to cross the Channel this year, which is the busiest shipping route in the world, 37 have died. 

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, called on the British government to do more to prevent more deaths in the Channel. 

“The UK must make it a priority to share responsibility with other countries to receive people into its asylum system – they must do this by providing safe and legal routes and encourage others to do the same," he said. 

“We must remember that dangerous journeys take place because the Government provides no safe alternative for people to exercise their right to seek asylum here."

Watch: Tragedy in the English Channel – the narrow sea that continues to claim lives

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