Priti Patel to get powers withholding visas from countries who won’t take back migrants

Priti Patel says it ‘took a referendum’ for politicians to listen

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The Home Secretary will be able to “suspend, delay or declare invalid” visas from countries who do not take back citizens. The powers are included in the Nationality and Borders Bill, brought to Parliament on Tuesday.

Other powers included in the bill see the Home Secretary increase the charges for visa applications to work, study or longer-term stays in the UK.

The measures are punishments for a country failing to accept asylum applicants or illegal migrants from the UK.

Any country that does not “cooperate with the UK Government in relation to the removal of [their] nationals” who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK is targeted by the bill.

Government sources told The Telegraph Ms Patel’s new powers would be used to “incentivise” an uncooperative foreign state.

Immigration officers will also get powers to issue priority removal notices to anyone the Government is seeking to deport under the bill.

Those set for deportation will have a set time in which to submit any final legal claims, and will be restricted to no more than seven hours of state-funded civil legal services.

Any migrants who have reached Britain through “safe” states such as France, Italy, Spain and Germany will also be removed back to those countries.

Border Force officers will also get new powers to stop, board, divert and detain migrants at sea and return them to the country from which they came.

They will be allowed to use “reasonable force” to do so.

However, EU sources have said they will not agree to Ms Patel’s proposals to turn back migrants.

According to the New European, a Quai d’Orsay, Paris, source said: “This is only a British wish.

“There are no such negotiations, except for individual cases of readmission of unaccompanied minors.”

The French Foreign Office also told the outlet: “There is no interest at all in a bilateral agreement because the majority of asylum seekers travel through France.”

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It comes after a surge in Channel crossings this year.

June saw a record 2,000 migrants reach the UK, and 6,000 travelled the Channel over the first six months of 2021.

More than 600 arrived in the UK in the first four days of July.

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