People smugglers could face life sentences
People smugglers could face life sentences under new plans that are under review by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. The increased penalties could be introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of migrant Channel crossings.
Currently, the maximum sentence for people smugglers prosecuted in the UK is 14 years imprisonment.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
“Whilst criminal gangs continue to put lives at risk it is right we consider every option to stop their exploitation of people.”
The government has said that they will further outline their plans in the coming weeks.
Priti Patel has made persistent promises to prevent who she referrers to as “illegal immigrants” from crossing the English Channel. However, 98% of those that crossed the Channel on small boats in 2020 claimed asylum upon arrival in the UK. Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, asylum seekers cannot be persecuted for using irregular routes of travel as long as they make an asylum claim.
Patel has regularly claimed that the dangers of Channel crossings is what has lead her to crack-down on the route, but despite this she has continued to ignore calls to introduce safe and legal routes. In fact, most of the few safe and legal routes that are available have been put on hold or delayed due to COVID-19, leaving refugees in limbo.
Do you need immigration help?
Our highly-trained immigration lawyers can assist with a wide range of immigration issues, including asylum claims and applications for work visas.
Find out more about how we can help you today by getting in touch with our team on 01618269783,