Britain intends to increase prison sentences for migrants crossing Channel

London plans to seek tougher sentences for illegal migrants amid record high numbers of arrivals across the Channel, Euractiv reports

Britain intends to increase prison sentences for migrants crossing Channel

A bill introduced on Saturday makes it a criminal offence to enter the UK without permission, with the maximum sentence for those entering the country illegally increased from six months to four years. Smugglers could face life imprisonment, compared to the current maximum term of 14 years.

Parliament will consider the draft law in its first reading on Tuesday. It is noted that a total of almost 6,000 migrants crossed the Channel in the first half of 2021, while the total number of arrivals for the whole of 2020, equal to 8,417, is likely to be exceeded in the next two months if trends continue.

“It is highly likely that those travelling to the UK in small boats will come from a safe European Union country where they could seek asylum. In this case, they do not seek asylum at the first opportunity or, instead, ‘buy asylum’ by choosing the UK as their preferred destination over others and using the illegal route”, –  said Home Office chief Priti Patel.

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