Cost of housing asylum seekers could hit £6 billion a year
Six dead and more than 50 rescued after boat carrying migrants sinks in Channel
The number of migrants arriving on small boats will be greater than the total sent to Kigali or their home country, the Institute for Public Policy Research has warned.
Its experts said that even if 500 asylum seekers are deported to Rwanda a month, the housing cost for tens of thousands of others “stuck in limbo” will soar to £5billion.
And if just 50 people are removed a month, housing bills will hit £6billion.
Many migrants may even need support indefinitely as the Government will not be able to deport tens of thousands of them, and those left behind will not be able to work.
The IPPR warned the asylum crisis is “likely to be significantly worse, with any incoming government facing high risk of a ‘perma-backlog’ of thousands of new asylum seekers needing long-term support”.
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Marley Morris, the think-tank’s associate director, said: “There is only a very narrow window for government success on asylum, based on its current plan to forge ahead with the Rwanda deal and the Illegal Migration Act. Even with the Act fully implemented, under most plausible scenarios, arrivals will still outpace removals.
“This will mean a growing population of people permanently in limbo, putting huge pressure on Home Office accommodation and support systems, plus a risk of thousands of people who vanish from the system and are at risk of exploitation and destitution.
“Any incoming government would be likely to face a dire and increasingly costly challenge, which it would need to address urgently from the outset. There will be no option to ignore or sideline the crisis it inherits.”
More than 50,000 asylum seekers are currently staying in hotel rooms, costing taxpayers £6million per day.
But 136,000 are waiting for claims to be processed. Experts fear the number will grow over the next five years.
The Illegal Migration Bill will prevent people arriving on small boats from claiming asylum and will impose a legal duty on the Home Secretary to seek their removal.
But the IPPR warned international law will prevent many from being returned to their home countries as they could be arrested, executed, tortured or face persecution.
This, researchers say, will leave many “in indefinite limbo”.
The IPPR added: “The result could be a steadily escalating number of people who cannot be compelled to leave the UK but who have no path to securing permission to stay and are permanently blocked from working.
“The new Act may incentivise some people to avoid detection and enter the informal economy. This could lead to a growing undocumented population.
“But others may continue to enter Home Office systems… If people are mostly accommodated by the Home Office, in many cases this will need to be done indefinitely given the intention of the Act is to deem them permanently inadmissible to asylum and their prospects of removal are low.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Illegal Migration Act will help to clear the asylum backlog by allowing us to detain and swiftly remove those who arrive here illegally.
“While we operationalise the measures in the Act, we continue to remove those with no right to be here through existing powers.”
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