Priti Patel taps Aussie to tackle record Channel crossings | Politics | News

Alexander Downer will conduct the first review of the Border Operations team in over a decade. Starting today, he will examine all areas of the agency’s work, including illegal migration, customs and national security.

Mr Downer was responsible for helping to shape Australia’s immigration policy, including the controversial policy of diverting boats carrying asylum seekers away from its coastline.

The Home Secretary has pledged to overhaul the UK‘s immigration model, including fixing the ‘broken asylum seeker system’.

She says the current rules don’t do enough to deter people from arriving in the UK illegally.

Nearly 30,000 people risked their lives crossing the Strait of Dover in small boats in 2021 to reach the UK.

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Ministers say the journey is extremely dangerous, with smugglers exploiting vulnerable people by facilitating crossings.

Ms Patel has already copied Australia in creating a new points-based immigration system for post-Brexit Britain and is now asking for Mr Downer’s help in considering how to deal with asylum claims.

The Home Secretary said: “Since Border Force was established in 2011, its mandate has expanded to address the evolving border threats we face and in recent years it has supported the implementation implementation of government Brexit commitments and COVID-19 measures.

“The public rightly expects this work to be carried out to the highest possible standards, which is why I have ordered this review of Border Force to identify ways in which it can continue to improve its operations.

“I have appointed Alexander Downer to do this vital work and look forward to his findings and recommendations.”

Mr Downer said his review will be “robust, evidence-based and results-oriented”.

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He added, “I look forward to assessing Border Force’s structure, powers, funding, and priorities, and to hearing from a wide range of voices from across the organization and beyond.”

As well as being the former Foreign Minister of Australia, he also served the country as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

He is currently Executive Chairman of the International School for Government, King’s College London.

Mr. Downer’s review is expected to take several months.

Officials say he will play an important role in delivering the UK’s border strategy in 2025.

It will seek to identify needed changes and improvements in the Border Force’s work on illegal migration, customs and national security.

Mr Downer led negotiations in 2011 for Australia’s ‘peaceful solution’ in 2001, which saw asylum seekers diverted to Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to have their claims processed.

Ms Patel has had a number of conversations with countries in Europe to try and replicate the model for Britain.