Patels immigration plan to stop Channel crossing costs eye-watering £230,000 per person

Nigel Farage tails migrant vessel in the English Channel

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A new report by a coalition of charities indicates plans to process migrants overseas will cost an eye-watering £1.4billion. The Home Secretary wants all those who arrive in the UK illegally to be sent abroad for processing at an offshore centre for migrants.

She believes the system will help cut down on the number of people making the dangerous journey across the English Channel in small boats.

But analysis based on Australia – which also currently sends those who arrive illegally abroad for processing – suggests the cost of housing an asylum seeker was £230,000 when numbers were at their peak.

It increased to as much as £1.9million as numbers declined.

In contrast, keeping an inmate locked up for a year onshore costs under £50,000.

Sabir Zazai, a spokesperson for Together With Refugees that produced the research, said: “This is an astonishing amount of additional public money for the unworkable and cruel proposals in the Bill – enough to pay for more than 80,000 NHS nurses a year.

“Having fled their homes in fear and struggled to find safety, these measures would leave women, children and men facing further hardship in prison, isolated in another country indefinitely, separated from family and facing insecurity and indecision.”

In a statement, the Refugee Council added: “The Government’s anti-Refugee Bill is not only cruel, unfair and intensely harmful for people fleeing war and in grave need of protection – it also comes at an extortionate cost to the taxpayer.”

While Ms Patel has looked into opening up offshore processing centres, a country to temporarily home asylum seekers in yet to be found.

A Home Office spokesman dismissed the new research, saying the current system had led to “unacceptable” costs.

“Our broken asylum system is costing the taxpayer an unacceptable £4.7million a day on hotels, which is why urgent reform is needed,” he said.

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“Our New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken asylum system so that we spend less time and money on those abusing the system, enabling us to focus on helping those in genuine need.”

Record numbers of people crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2021.

More than 28,300 people made the treacherous journey in a figure that was more than double the number in 2020.

This year has seen the number continue to rise.

January 2022 saw six times as many crossings compared to the same month in 2021.

Home Office statistics indicated 1,341 people crossed the Dover Strait in 46 boats.

The amount compares to 223 people making the treacherous journey in 15 boats in January last year.

Ms Patel has vowed to work with France and other allies curb the number of crossings.

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