November 18, 2020
Housing and payments for those crossing the Channel in an unauthorised manner may be set to cost the UK taxpayer around £240 million over the next decade unless the scale of arrivals is stemmed.
That is the finding of a Migration Watch UK paper (MW485: An Asylum System Overwhelmed and Abused) which also finds that the asylum system is rapidly becoming overwhelmed in the midst of ballooning backlogs and budgets, falling productivity, significant and worsening abuse and disintegrating enforcement.
The estimated cost of asylum-related housing and payments for nearly half of those who claim protection after crossing the Channel is estimated to be just under £24 million per year - nearly £240 million over a decade - should the crossings continue on their present scale (around 8,500 people were reported as having arrived via this illegal route over the past 12 months - see Migration Watch UK's Channel Tracking Station), several times higher than the previous year.
For more on the above calculation see paragraphs 38 to 43 of the attached paper.
The public will find this particularly galling in light of the fact that 81% of Channel arrivals have been found not to have a credible asylum claim in the UK (Home Office figures for Q1 and Q2 2020).
Nevertheless, unauthorised Channel crossings began to have a major impact on the numbers housed in hotels and hostels (so-called 'initial accommodation') from mid-2019 - well before the Covid crisis struck.
The vast majority of those who enter via this illegal route are also not being removed. Despite a clear promise by the Prime Minister in August 2019 to ‘send back’ those arriving in this way, only 3% of those arriving since the start of 2019 were returned to Europe, or one in every 42 arrivals (for more, read our piece).
The paper further finds:
Commenting, Alp Mehmet of Migration Watch UK said:
The shambles in the Channel adds to the strains on an asylum system which is already at risk of collapse. In the midst of ballooning budgets, rising backlogs and a shameful failure to keep track of rejected claimants, the asylum system is wide open to abuse. It is a gaping hole in immigration control that is being exploited by both traffickers and those who have no credible claim to asylum.