More than 4,500 migrants who reached the UK this year have been flagged as having “inadmissible” asylum claims but have not been deported by the Home Office.
The 4,500 migrants who mostly reached England in small boats across the Channel were issued with “notices of intent” that their claims were likely to be inadmissible because they should have sought asylum in a safe European country through which they had previously passed.
The move, introduced in January as part of a post-Brexit crackdown on illegal migrants, gave Home Office immigration officials six months to uncover their routes and prove their claims were invalid. It also put the asylum claims on hold.
However, Home Office data reveal none have been removed from the UK in the six months up to the end of June and only seven were eventually judged to be “inadmissible”.
Hundreds more cross the Channel on Sunday
It will add to the backlog of asylum claims which currently stands at more than 70,000 and comes as it was confirmed that 669 migrants crossed the Channel on Sunday, to push the total for the year so far over 17,000, more than double the 8,417 for the whole of 2020.
September’s total to date of more than 4,500 migrants reaching UK shores across the Channel is more than double the previous monthly high of 1,947 in July. Sunday was also among the top five busiest days for crossings on record, following daily tallies of 828, 785 and 592.
Peter Walsh, of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, said the threat of inadmissibility was “symbolic” rather than a tactic that would remove migrants from the UK.
“The Government knows that to be able to return people, they need the cooperation of countries to return them to,” he said.
Tony Smith, former director general of the Border Force, said: “Whatever we do, we are faced with an ongoing problem because I don’t see the French administration changing their minds and start accepting returns of migrants.
“If you cannot get the French to take people back, then you are probably scratching around for other countries that might be prepared to take asylum seekers back in return for money.”
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is proposing new laws to reform the “broken” asylum system by denying full residency rights to migrants who enter the UK illegally, while sanctioning asylum claims that are made through recognised in-country routes.