Brits have been urged to open up their homes to asylum seekers in order to save the government money on hotel accommodations.
The proposal was recommended in a report published on Tuesday by the Policy Exchange think tank. The report by Dr. Rakib Ehsan, titled “Fixing the U.K.’s Broken Asylum System,” addressed the ongoing migrant crisis on England’s southern border and was backed by former Conservative Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis, who wrote the foreword.
It makes six recommendations to mitigate the asylum emergency, which saw a record 45,755 migrants cross the English Channel to reach the U.K. illegally last year, 66 percent of whom the report states were males aged between 18 and 39.
The report estimated that the government is currently spending £2.2 billion a year on accommodating Channel migrants in hotels and other taxpayer-funded accommodations; this figure is almost three and a half times higher than the £630 million the government invested in tackling homelessness across the country last year.
It recommended the government prioritize legislation to “curb the power of judicial interventions,” specifically calling for a need to “reduce the scope” of the European Court of Human Rights to block deportations.
Additionally, the report urged the British government to introduce new safe and legal routes for refugees from all countries, not just specific nations such as Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Afghanistan as currently designated by the Home Office. Applications via these routes should be “subject to an annual cap democratically determined by the government and parliament on a yearly basis,” it added.
Other recommendations include the extension of the anti-terror Prevent strategy, which seeks to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism both in the U.K. and overseas; reform of the U.K.’s dispersal system of asylum seekers across the country; and the expansion of the Ukrainian refugee sponsor scheme, which encourages volunteers to house refugees and help them learn English and integrate into British society.
Brandon Lewis appeared to approve of the messaging in his foreword.
“As the report says, we must also do more to galvanize community efforts, such as by expanding the sponsorship model for Ukrainian refugees to other nationalities – so that the burden of supporting refugees is spread evenly, rather than falling on the poorest,” he wrote.
He also called for a “radical resetting of the U.K.’s immigration and asylum policy,” claiming that the expansion of safe and legal routes will ensure that only genuine asylum seekers are welcomed to Britain and local communities can then “integrate genuine refugees so they can make notable economic, social,
and cultural contributions to our country.”
Still, in the absence of greater deportations, a move the U.K. government has attempted to introduce through its Illegal Migration Bill submitted earlier this year, it is unclear how the wave of illegal immigration through England’s southeast border would be stopped.