Home Secretary announces new immigration plan


29 June 2021

At the end of May, Home Secretary Priti Patel set out a new plan for immigration for the UK. This announcement focused heavily on reducing routes for illegal migration to the UK, increasing sanctions for people smugglers up to a maximum life sentence and increasing powers to enable Border Force to stop more small boats/search cargo containers to check for smuggling.

The Home Secretary stated that the new immigration plan is designed to deter illegal entry to the UK and disincentivise criminal gangs facilitating people smuggling. New Immigration Rules will review whether people entered the UK legally or illegally and this will determine how their asylum claim is processed. Asylum seekers that have passed through safe countries prior to entering the UK will have their claims rejected. The plan is also seeking to:

  1. speed up removal of those without a legal right to reside in the UK and create a fast track appeals process
  2. amend British nationality law to give Windrush generation applicants easier access to British citizenship
  3. stop accepting ID cards as a valid travel document to enter the UK
  4. introduce heightened criminality thresholds for visa eligibility
  5. introduce an Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme for visitors coming to the UK (ETA). The ETA is similar to the US ESTA scheme and mirrors the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) that the EU are set to introduce for entry into the Schengen Zone from the end of 2022/early 2023. The proposal to introduce the ETA scheme is in line with Government plans to fully digitise the border by 2025 and will require all travellers to the UK (except British and Irish nationals) to register prior to entry – this will enable Border Force to run additional security checks on all those seeking entry to the UK. Carriers will be expected to check ETA status prior to boarding.

Further details on each of these proposals is expected to be released in due course.

These articles are from the June 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts' Immigration Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at June 2021.

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