Priti Patel brings in highly-rated Aussie to tackle record surge in Channel crossings

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Priti Patel brings in highly-rated Aussie to tackle record surge in Channel crossings

Alexander Downer will carry out the first review into the border operations team for more than a decade. Starting today he will scrutinise all area

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Alexander Downer will carry out the first review into the border operations team for more than a decade. Starting today he will scrutinise all areas of the agency’s work including illegal migration, customs and national security.

Mr Downer was responsible for helping devise Australia’s immigration policy, including the controversial policy of turning around boats carrying asylum seekers away from its coastline.

The Home Secretary has vowed to overhaul the UK’s immigration model, including fixing the “broken asylum seeker system”.

She says the current rules do not do enough to deter people from arriving in the UK illegally.

Almost 30,000 people risked their lives crossing the Dover Strait in small boats in 2021 to reach the UK.

Ministers say the journey is severely dangerous, with people smugglers exploiting the vulnerable by facilitating the crossings.

Ms Patel has already copied Australia in creating a new points-based immigration system for post-Brexit Britain and is now seeking Mr Downer’s help in looking at how to handle asylum cases.

The Home Secretary said: “Since Border Force was set up in 2011, its remit has grown to meet the changing border threats we face, and in recent years has supported delivery of the Government’s Brexit commitments and COVID-19 measures.

“The public rightly expects this work to be carried out to the highest possible standard, which is why I have ordered this review of Border Force to identify ways in which it can keep improving its operations.

“I have appointed Alexander Downer to do this vital work and look forward to his findings and recommendations.”

Mr Downer said his review will be “robust, evidence-based and outcome-orientated”.

He added: “I look forward to assessing Border Force’s structure, powers, funding and priorities, and hearing from a wide range of voices from across the organisation and beyond.”

More to follow…



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