Illegal migrants arriving to UK on boats to be electronically tagged

Illegal migrants arriving into UK across the English Channel could be forced to wear electronic tags under new ‘stop the boats’ proposals

Migrants who arrive over the English Channel in small boats could be forced to wear electronic tags under Home Office proposals.

The idea, first mooted more than a year ago, has resurfaced as Rishi Sunak attempts to get a handle on immigration and stop people illegally gaining entry to the UK.

The migrants would be GPS tracked in real time and required to report via text message or in person to immigration officers multiple times a day, the Telegraph reported.

Any attempt to remove the tag and abscond would result in any right to bail or to remain in the UK being automatically withdrawn.

It comes amid concerns the UK could run out of capacity in immigration detention centres, with officials asked to find alternative ways of ensuring that thousands of migrants who arrive illegally but cannot be detained do not abscond.

The new rules will stipulate that those on electronic tag must comply with any directions from the Home Office

Migrants pictured arriving into the UK earlier this week amid claims new arrivals could be electronically tagged  

A dinghy carrying around 50 migrants drifts into the English Channel after being escorted out of French territory on Thursday. Experts say they resist any help from French vessels in order to reach the UK

One source told the newspaper: ‘Tagging is being discussed as an option.’

Another source said tagging could also free-up immigration detention centres to be used for prisoners to alleviate chronic overcrowding in jails which are close to their capacity.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak insists his plan to stop the boats is working as migrants continue to arrive in UK for 10th consecutive day

They were quoted as saying: ‘They are looking at all of these options. Given the state of prison capacity, that could reach breaking point and the Government knows that.’

The approach has been dubbed ‘punitive’ and ‘draconian’ by left-wing campaigners, who argue that those fleeing to Britain for safety are being treated like ‘criminals’.

New Home Office figures released last week revealed Britain’s asylum backlog topped 175,000 for the first time after 78,768 claims were made in the year to June.

A total of 175,457 people were waiting for an initial decision on an asylum application in the UK at the end of June 2023, up 44% from 122,213 at the end of June 2022. This was the highest figure since current records began in 2010.

The huge increase has been driven by cross-Channel migrants lodging applications upon arrival in the UK. It is costing the Government nearly £6 million to house migrants in hotels.

Figures also show the number of asylum seekers waiting more than six months for an initial decision stood at 139,961 at the end of June, up 57% year on year from 89,231 and another record.

Meanwhile, the Government’s plan to accommodate asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge could face a legal challenge as firefighters accused ministers of a ‘callous disregard’ for the safety of those onboard.

The Bibby Stockholm is one of several sites, which also include former military bases, ministers want to use to house migrants as they await asylum decisions in an effort to cut the cost of putting them up in hotels and deter entries into the UK via unauthorised means.

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