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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

UK agrees new package of measures with France to tackle illegal migration

UK agrees new package of measures with France to tackle illegal migration


Measures include a new detention centre to be established in France

The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed a new package of measures with French President Emmanuel Macron on 10 March to target illegal migration and prevent illegal Channel crossings.

According to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office, the UK will contribute to the funding of a new detention centre in France, which will increase French detention capacity and boost the country’s ability to cope with the level of people trafficking across the Channel. The UK will also contribute to the funding for a doubling of personnel to be deployed in northern France to prevent small boat crossings.

The two countries have also agreed on the need for a new permanent mobile policing unit in France to target small boats, and the deployment of technologies to aid efforts to combat border crossings such as drones and aircraft, as well as increased intelligence sharing between the UK and France to combat illegal migration routes. A new 24/7 zonal coordination centre, with permanent UK liaison officers, will oversee the new measures in France, bringing together all the relevant French law enforcement partners to coordinate the response to illegal migration.

UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “I have made it one of my five priorities to stop the boats. We are delivering on that priority to stop people coming to the UK illegally. Last year I agreed the largest ever small boats deal with France to increase UK-funded patrols by 40 per cent. This week I announced measures to ensure nobody who enters the UK illegally can remain here. We don’t need to manage this problem, we need to break it. And today, we have gone further than ever before to put an end to this disgusting trade in human life. Working together, the UK and France will ensure that nobody can exploit our systems with impunity.”

The new package of measures follows the UK government’s introduction of an Illegal Migration Bill on 7 March, to combat illegal entry as a route to asylum in the UK.

The Law Society of England and Wales has published another statement calling for the UK government to reconsider its approach to refugees and asylum, ahead of the second reading of the Illegal Migration Bill on 13 March. President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Lubna Shuja, expressed concern that, “there is a high chance this bill may not comply with international and domestic law. It could lead to the British state violating fundamental rights such as the right to life, to be protected from torture, trafficking and slavery, to liberty, to fair trial.”