Author: LATIFA YEDROUDJ
Migrants intercepted during attempt to cross English Channel
Many asylum seekers are thought to still be working illegally, while others are said to have disappeared from the Home Office’s radar. David Wood, a former director-general of immigration enforcement at the Home Office, questioned in his report for the think tank Civitas whether the migrants were genuine asylum seekers, or sought to exploit the country’s benefits scheme. He said thousands still remain in the UK as a result of an “ineffective and inefficient” system that fails to remove them. In Mr Wood’s report found 52.8 percent of asylum applications were refused, and out of 80,813 rejected asylum seekers, only 29,659 were removed – leaving 51,154 left unaccountable for.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Wood said: “The truth is that while there are thousands of genuine claims for asylum each year, thousands more are abusive applications.
“It is an important principle that people fleeing persecution should be given refuge.
“But where asylum processes are being used as a way of facilitating economic migration it is essential to be able to quickly and efficiently distinguish between the two to ensure UK citizens do not lose faith and support for a system that is rife with abuse.”
According to Mr Wood, a common tactic used by migrants was “nationality swapping”, where an asylum seeker would claim to be from a country which was difficult to return them back to.
Meanwhile, others claim to be under 18 – and the Home Office is not allowed to send minors back to their country of origin, even if their application is rejected.
Last week, Home Secretary Sajid Javid came under fire for questioning whether migrants using boats to cross the English Channel were “genuine” asylum seekers.
During a visit to Dover, Mr Javid said: “A question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country that you arrived in?
“Because France is not a country where anyone would argue it is not safe in anyway whatsoever, and if you are genuine then why not seek asylum in your first safe country?”
A Home Office spokesman told Express.co.uk: “The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it. However, we are clear that those with no right to be in the UK should return home.
“As part of the new asylum accommodation contracts we will be working with a charity to make sure failed asylum seekers are given information on the Voluntary Returns Scheme, encouraging individuals refused asylum to return home.
“We will seek to enforce the return of those who do not leave voluntarily. Since the beginning of 2010 there have been over 345,000 enforced or voluntary returns.”