THE UK GOVERNMENT must do more to provide safe and legal routes for people to enter the UK to prevent more fatalities, Amnesty International said, in response to the release of the latest immigration statistics.

The statistics, published by the Home Office on 25 November, show that the number of people seeking asylum in the UK remains much the same as two years ago. However, fatalities of people crossing the Channel have risen because the Government provides no safe and legal routes for people to enter the UK.

Asylum claims have increased since June 2021. However, annual number of claims remain relatively stable compared to the past two years.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said: “In the wake of the devastating tragedy at the Channel yesterday, the UK Government must urgently take decisive action to prevent more loss of life.

“The UK must make it a priority to share responsibility with other countries to receive people into its asylum system – they must do this by providing safe and legal routes and encourage others to do the same.We must remember that dangerous journeys take place because​ the Government provides no safe alternative for people to exercise their right to seek asylum here.

“The Afghanistan Citizenship Resettlement Scheme is one example of the Government’s fundamental failure to provide safe routes – a scheme announced in August that has still not opened  ministers cannot even guarantee it will open anytime soon.

“The UK’s failure to play its part in providing protection to people who are fleeing conflict and persecution is even more distressing at a time when the Home Office is trying to push through its draconian Nationality and Borders Bill. This new policy will further exacerbate the asylum system and continue to punish and exclude people seeking safety.

“​If the Government is truly concerned with tackling these gangs and their abuse of people, they must set up safe asylum routes, ​so people no longer need to depend on smugglers. We desperately need a new approach to asylum – including genuine Anglo-French efforts to devise safe asylum routes, a major overhaul of the painfully slow applications system, an end to the use of dangerous and unsuitable accommodation facilities like Napier Barracks, and a political approach based on real humanity.”

* The official immigration statistics for year ending September 2021 are here.

* Source: Amnesty International