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Tuesday, 16 August 2022
UK targets migrant boat pilots with tough new laws
Migrants risk death to escape conflicts and economic crises in their countries, hoping to reach Europe (Photo: anews)

The Arabnews reported, people smugglers or migrants who pilot boats across the English Channel could get life sentences under new laws introduced on Tuesday (June 28) as part of a crackdown on attempts to enter Britain illegally.

The updated law, part of the Nationality and Borders Act, will raise the top punishment for people smuggling from 14 years in prison to life and apply the same legal threat to migrants who pilot the boats.

The prison sentence for illegal entry to the UK will also rise from six months to four years, with the announcement coming after the arrival of more than 12,000 people in Britain so far this year, double the rate for the same period in 2021.

Britain also recently announced plans to deport people attempting to cross the Channel without asylum to Rwanda for processing before their claims can be heard in the UK, another policy designed to deter arrivals. 

Irregular migrants caught by the UK Coast Border Guard are brought to the Port of Dover in Dover, United Kingdom on April 16, 2022. Britain announced that irregular migrants caught trying to cross from France to England will be sent to Rwanda.

The new act will create a new asylum system in Britain whereby those who apply and arrive via legal routes receive more rights than those who cross the Channel illegally.

Earlier, British government announced a plan to send illegal asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Rwanda hostel prepares to house children under controversial UK asylum-seeker deal

Despite opposition from human rights activists and organizations, British PM Boris Johnson said Saturday (June 18) that he was confident of the legality of the government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. This came as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) blocked the first flight scheduled for Tuesday (June 21).

The flight carrying migrants to Rwanda was grounded on Tuesday when the ECHR stepped in after British courts ruled the plane could take off.

All people on the plane were removed when the flight did not take off as scheduled.