Priti Patel vows UK will delay visas for countries refusing to take back asylum seekers, deported criminals

Priti Patel vows UK will delay visas for countries refusing to take back asylum seekers, deported criminals
2 min read
03 January, 2022
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has threatened to slow down visa applications from countries that refuse to take back deported criminals and asylum seekers, using powers under the highly controversial Nationality and Borders Bill.
Patel plans to "impose visa penalties" on countries that do not comply with the UK's deportation efforts [Getty]

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to penalise countries that refuse to take back "criminals and asylum seekers" from the UK, according to media reports on Saturday. 

Patel plans to "impose visa penalties" on countries that do not comply with the UK's deportation efforts, which includes suspending visas and enforcing surcharges on applications to visit to the country. 

The Gambia will be the first country to face stricter measures after it "repeatedly ignored calls" and "only accepted four criminals last year", according to British newspaper media. 

"Countries around the globe must work with us to take back their own nationals if they abuse our hospitality by committing crimes," the Home Secretary told the UK tabloid The Sun 

"However, some countries do not cooperate on returns and so we will impose visa penalties on countries who refuse to take criminals back.

"We rightly take back British citizens who commit crimes abroad and other countries do the same," she added. 

Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Cambodia, and Vietnam could also face visa penalties, according to UK media reports. 

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Patel will be granted powers to enforce visa penalties under the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill, which is now in the UK House of Lords after passing through the House of Commons last year. 

She will be able to suspend visas entirely, increase visa processing times and impose a £190 ($250 US dollars) surcharge on applications to the UK under the sweeping legislation. 

The Conservative politician heralded the bill as the way to reform UK immigration and "take back control of its borders". 

However, human rights groups and refugee charities slammed the legislation for penalising vulnerable migrants and allowing the Home Secretary to strip an individual of their citizenship without notice. 

"Cracking down harder does not fix an immigration system that makes it harder for people to seek refuge, keeps families apart for years and wrongly deports people," said Rose Carter, Direct of Policy at Hope not hate, a UK anti-fascism campaign group.