UK to hit immigrants with tough sentencing

Refugees have attempted to use the Channel Tunnel to reach the UK. [amuchmoreexotic/Flickr]

The British government is planning to introduce tough prison sentences to combat illegal migrants seeking employment in the UK. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The UK wants to step up its efforts in the struggle against illegal immigration. The Minister for Security and Immigration, James Brokenshire, announced on Tuesday (25 August) a bill for England and Wales under which illegal migrants could face up to six months in prison.

Brokenshire said, “If you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car.” The UK is continuing its fight against any abuses of its welfare system. The bill will go before parliament after the summer recess.

>>Read: France and Britain to defuse Calais migrant crisis

Faced with the prospect of thousands of refugees seeking to use the Channel Tunnel to enter the UK from France, the government is under pressure to act. The Mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, stated that the UK’s generous welfare system and lenient identity checks make it a magnet for refugees.

Recently, it came to light that the British government wants to cut financial support to individuals whose asylum requests have been rejected. So far, 10,000 asylum seekers and their families, at risk of poverty and homelessness, receive aid, despite having had their applications rejected. They are entitled to accommodation and a small weekly allowance of £35.39 in the form of a payment card.

Brokenshire added that anyone wishing to come to the UK should not be under the impression that it is a “soft touch”. Previously, the government has sought to make migrants’ access to the housing market more difficult. New immigration laws will be discussed in parliament after the summer recess.

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