Asylum seekers will be sent to provincial towns under new immigration rules

Asylum seekers will be sent to provincial towns under new immigration rules as Priti Patel removes veto power from councils

  • Priti Patel tries to stop local authorities from moving out of migrant accommodation
  • Previously, town halls could insist that entire areas were unsuitable for migrants
  • Now they can simply file objections on specific streets and areas
  • Designed to reduce the number of migrants held in hotels – currently 37,000

Thousands of asylum seekers are expected to be sent to live in provincial towns under new rules.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will strip local authorities of a veto to avoid housing asylum seekers.

Instead of being able to assert that entire areas are not suitable for receiving migrants, town halls could only object to specific streets or neighborhoods.

This decision aims to reduce the number of migrants – including thousands arriving by small boat from the north of France – kept on full board in hotels at the expense of taxpayers.

Currently, the Home Office has 37,000 people in hotels awaiting decisions on their migration status, costing the taxpayer £4.7million a day.

This includes 9,500 Afghans who had worked for British authorities and were forced to flee after the Taliban took over last summer.

The Home Office believes the new rules will help spread asylum seekers more evenly across the country, easing pressure on London and the South East.

Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) must strip local authorities of a veto to avoid housing asylum seekers in a bid to spread them more evenly across the country

A source said: ‘Under the old system, local authorities can hoist a ‘flag’ which means asylum seekers cannot be dispersed in their area. But with the new system, that cannot happen. Local authorities should be involved unless there are very specific issues relating to a specific area.

“It could be a particular street or neighborhood, but not a large area or an entire city.”

Under proposals presented by the Home Office earlier this year, local authorities will not be required to take in more than one asylum seeker for every 200 local residents.

Immigration Minister Kevin Foster wrote to all councils in April saying the system was “putting unsustainable pressure on a limited number of local authorities”.

The Home Office currently has 37,000 people in hotels awaiting decisions on their migration status, costing the taxpayer £4.7million a day.

Highlighting the number of migrants in hotels, he wrote: “This is not acceptable; it’s not fair to taxpayers and it doesn’t provide the right solution for communities or asylum seekers.

700% increase in student visas for Nigerians

The number of Nigerian students coming to Britain has jumped 686% in less than three years.

In 2019, 8,384 students came from the West African nation, but in the 12 months to June this year the figure was 65,929.

Indians have overtaken Chinese to become the largest group of students, with just under 118,000 sponsored study visas issued, a 215% increase from 2019. There has also been a considerable increase in number of Pakistani students – up 377% to 23,490.

The total number of student visas granted in the year to June was just under 487,000, up 71% from 2019.

A “graduate visa route” launched last year now allows foreign students to live and work in the country for up to two years after graduation.

If they later find skilled employment, they can also obtain a skilled worker visa, a potential route to citizenship.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, said the scheme had made the UK more attractive to Nigerians.

A Home Office source said it was up to universities to decide how many international students they sponsored.

Instead, the Home Office will find “scatter properties in the private rental sector in all local communities in England, Scotland and Wales”, the minister wrote.

The veto ban is the first detail of how the new regime could work. There were more than 55,000 asylum applications in the 12 months to the end of March – in the same period, only 1,649 asylum seekers were resettled in longer-term homes across the Kingdom -United. Yorkshire and the Humber took the most, with 374, while just 48 went to Wales. Scotland took 204.

London and the South East have taken in 260 but, separately, are hosting the most migrants in hotels. The new measures are expected to come into force in the middle of next month.

It came after new figures showed asylum applications had risen to their highest level in nearly 20 years, with 63,089 applications in the year to June. Including dependents, the claims involved more than 75,000 people.

The increase was driven by a huge number of arrivals in small boats across the English Channel, 94% of whom subsequently seek asylum. The latest figures from the Ministry of Defense revealed that 804 migrants arrived from northern France on Thursday, bringing the total for the year to 24,090.

At current rates, the record total of 28,526 seen in 2021 should be broken within one to two weeks.

Yesterday the Mail reported that the annual cost of the UK asylum system had jumped 56 per cent – ​​£756million – to £2.1billion in 2021-22. The massive bill is largely due to the growing number of asylum seekers receiving taxpayer-funded assistance, including housing. More than 116,000 were distributed at the end of June, up 37% in three months.

Last night the Home Office denied asylum dispersal rules would be changed in September, adding: ‘There is nothing stopping local authorities from accommodating destitute asylum seekers.’

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