Minister says ‘Hotel Britain’ must stop to deter ‘asylum buying’
Immigration minister says ‘Hotel Britain’ must end in a bid to discourage ‘buying asylum’ with migrants to be accommodated in ‘simple and functional’ spaces as opposed to ‘luxury’ rooms “.
Robert Jenrick insisted a move towards more basic accommodation is needed to remove a ‘pull factor’ for those traveling to the UK in small boats, as he insisted the Britain would be “compassionate but not naive”.
He claimed the country’s “generosity” towards refugees was “abused” by people “jumping the queue”, straining the immigration system.
It comes as the number of migrants crossing the Channel into the UK is believed to have topped 40,000, with dozens arriving on Saturday.
The provisional total of arrivals for 2022 was 39,913 before the weekend, with new crossings likely to take another step.
In an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Jenrick said a ‘chronic shortage of acceptable accommodation’ for a ‘record number’ of migrants has forced the government to procure expensive and often unsuitable hotels, imposing a cost on the taxpayer’ unacceptable”.
“Human decency must be accompanied by harsh common sense: illegal immigrants are not entitled to luxury hotels,” he said.
“Conditions in the UK are almost always better than in neighboring countries, which is part of why the UK is a top destination for economic migrants on the ‘asylum shopping’ continent.
“’Hotel Britain’ needs to be discontinued and replaced with simple, functional accommodation that does not create an additional pull factor.”
According to the newspaper, alternatives to hotel rooms could include disused student accommodation, disused holiday parks and even budget cruise ships.
The small craft crisis has been in the headlines again in recent weeks as ministers come under fire from the overcrowded chaos at Manston Detention Center in Kent.
At one point, up to 4,000 people were being held at the site, which is designed to hold just 1,600. That number then dropped to capacity.
It has since emerged that migrants at the settlement will be vaccinated against diphtheria due to concerns over a rise in cases of the highly contagious disease.
Outlining the government’s plans to get the small boat crisis under control, Mr Jenrick said a close relationship with the French would be essential to deter those “who try to cheat the process”.
“With greater coordination between our respective security and law enforcement agencies, we can dismantle the evil criminal gangs that organize these crossings and bring greater order to both our coasts and northern France,” he said.
The government has said in recent days that a new deal with France, estimated to be worth around £80million, is in its final stages.
This should allow Border Force agents to observe French operations coordinating beach searches for boats launched in the English Channel and hunts for gangs of people smugglers.
The immigration minister also promised to consider expanding Rwanda’s controversial deportation scheme, introduced by former interior minister Priti Patel.
Although the decision to deport migrants thousands of miles away to East Africa has yet to see a single flight depart, Mr Jenrick said similar deals would be explored with other countries, as he insisted that those traveling from ‘safe’ countries should not see small craft as ‘a path to a life here’.
Stating that the UK will be ‘compassionate, but not naïve’, the Home Secretary warned of the need to ensure that modern UK slavery laws are not ‘exploited’ by illegitimate claimants.
In the meantime, he said the government intended to ‘clear the backlog of asylum applications’ by ‘simplifying bureaucracy’ and rolling out a pilot project in Leeds which ‘doubled’ the productivity of civil servants.
He highlighted efforts to expedite the deportation of people “who have no right to be here” by concluding “tailor-made bilateral return agreements” with partners such as Albania, and stressed the need to work closely with “all aspects of our security services”.
“The British public rightly demands that their government tackle the illegal immigration crisis immediately with deeds not words – and that is what the Home Secretary and I are determined to do. do,” he said.
Border Force officials could be seen bringing groups of people ashore in Dover, Kent on Saturday, marking the first arrivals since October 31, following a spell of bad weather.
Dozens were pictured outside treatment centres, including a young child wrapped in a blanket.
The government is currently spending £6.8million a day to house migrants in hotels – at an average cost of £150 per person per night.