Channel crossings continue as traffickers face life in prison under new law


In addition, people have risked rough seas in the English Channel to reach the UK as a new law comes into force which means pilots of small boats could face life imprisonment.

A total of 153 migrants on four boats were intercepted by British authorities on Monday June 27, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence.

More migrants are expected to arrive on Tuesday despite high winds in the region.

Recent crossings bring the total number of people reaching the UK so far this year to 12,312, up from 5,654 at this point in 2021 and 2,449 in 2020.

Under the Nationality and Borders Act (NABA) which comes into force on Tuesday June 28, anyone caught piloting a boat carrying migrants across the English Channel could face a life sentence behind bars.

The measures, which received royal assent in April, include tougher penalties for those who pilot a small boat or smuggle migrants into the UK by other dangerous or illegal means, with a maximum prison sentence of perpetuity.

Additionally, the maximum penalty for illegally entering the UK or overstaying a visa has been increased from six months to four years in prison.

Those who did not come directly to the UK, did not apply without delay or did not show a valid reason for their illegal entry or presence, may be granted a shorter leave to remain with a minimum of 30 months instead of five years.

Migrants land in Dover, Kent (Katie Boyden/PA) / PA wire

Immigration officers have also been given new powers to search containers of illegal migrants and foreign offenders held in UK prisons can now be deported 12 months before the end of their custodial sentence.

In addition, the government has the power to limit visas for nationals of countries that pose a “risk to international peace and security and those who refuse to take back their own citizens who have no right to be in the Kingdom. -United”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘This is one of the most crucial steps in delivering on our promise to the British public to regain control of our borders.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the global migration crisis, these reforms taking effect today play a vital role in overhauling the broken asylum system as we implement our new plan. for immigration.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that we provide protection and refuge to those who truly need it; but these new measures will allow us to crack down on abuses of the system and nefarious smugglers, who will now face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment following the entry into force of this law.

The NABA also includes changes to laws which previously denied British nationality to certain children of British Overseas Territories citizens.

Previously, women with British Overseas citizenship could not pass British citizenship to children born outside the United Kingdom and its territories before 1 January 1983.

Similarly, children born to unmarried British Overseas Territory fathers before 1 July 2006 could not acquire British nationality through their father.

Rules requiring children born outside an Overseas Territory to British Overseas Territory citizen parents to be registered within 12 months of birth in order to qualify for citizenship are being scrapped.