Background to the Bill
Since 2018, the number of people crossing the channel in small boats has been rising. In 2022, 45,755 arrived by small boat, a 60% increase on 2021 and numbers crossing are expected to reach 65,000 this year. The Government has legislated through the Nationality and Borders Act and sought to introduce schemes such as the Rwanda Agreement to attempt to reduce the numbers of people crossing by small boat. Last year also saw the backlog of asylum cases reach a high of 160,000 and a continued decline in the number of refugees arriving to the UK through safe routes such as family reunion and resettlement.
In December 2022, the Prime Minister unveiled a ‘five-point plan’ to tackle ‘illegal migration’, announcing a range of measures and the Government’s intention to bring forward new legislation. On 7th March 2023, the Home Secretary introduced the Bill to Parliament, and we are expecting it to progress swiftly, with 2nd reading and Committee stage before Easter recess.