ASYLUM seekers could be housed in the Outer Hebrides as part of plans to tackle Britain’s illegal migrant crisis.
Other off-shore sites being considered for new asylum processing centers include the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man, government sources said.
Priti Patel has ordered officials to define a range of destinations off the UK’s coast as she explores ways to deal with the influx of illegal migrants entering Britain by small boats.
More than 5,000 migrants have arrived in dinghies so far this year – more than double the amount of 2019 as a whole.
An Interior Ministry source said Ms Patel wanted the ministry to explore “all options that can stop small boat crossings and fix the asylum system.”
As part of the plans, she asked officials to look at how other countries have treated migrants arriving by small boats.
Australia, Tunisia, Spain and the United States have all used off-shore sites to process asylum seekers.
But the Home Office has dismissed reports from the Financial Times that asylum seekers could be shipped to Ascension Island – a British overseas territory 4,000 kilometers away.
A source said the isolated volcanic island in the South Atlantic was proposed by the Foreign Office after the Home Secretary requested a list of offshore sites – but quickly dismissed it as “implausible “.
More realistic places to set up asylum detention centers are the Western Isles off Scotland, the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man, a government source said.
Downing Street said the policies of “a lot” of countries were being considered.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said: “We are making plans to reform our illegal migration and asylum policies so that we can continue to provide protection to those in need while preventing abuse of the system and criminality. which, as we have seen with the increase in gangs facilitated The Channel Crossings, is a problem.
“As part of this work, we looked at what many other countries are doing to develop a plan for the UK. This work is ongoing. ”
By the end of August, around 5,000 people had arrived in dinghies, compared to 1,890 in 2019 alone.
September was a record month for migrant arrivals, with at least 1,880 crossing the English Channel on tiny, often broken boats this month.
On September 2, a daily maximum of 416 migrants landed in Britain in 28 boats.