Border Force officers are to be given new powers to use 'reasonable force' to fingerprint migrants in France.Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that
Border Force officers are to be given new powers to use ‘reasonable force’ to fingerprint migrants in France.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the law will be changed in a bid to make it easier to remove those who arrive illegally across the Channel.
Border Force officers in the UK have powers to forcibly take fingerprints from illegal entrants – but those working in Calais and Dunkirk do not.
The law change, due to come into force in the spring, will allow border officials to fingerprint clandestine migrants they encounter at the so-called ‘juxtaposed controls’ where lorries and other vehicles are searched at French ports.
Border Force officers are to be given new powers to use ‘reasonable force’ to fingerprint migrants in France
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘If we have fingerprints that prove someone was in France who is later encountered in the UK that can be key in declaring their cases inadmissible.’
Immigration minister Chris Philp said: ‘Today’s move builds on steps we have already taken to reform the asylum system, to strengthen border controls and reduce illegal migration.
‘It builds on the inadmissibility rules laid before Parliament last month, with fingerprints collected by Border Force at the juxtaposed controls expected to form an important part of the evidence base in determining inadmissible cases.
‘These measures will help reduce the strain on asylum staff, allowing them to focus on processing genuine claims from those in need of help.
‘This Government is fixing our broken asylum system to deliver a firmer and fairer system.’
However, agreements to return inadmissible migrants have not yet been agreed with France and other European Union countries following the end of the Brexit transition period.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the law will be changed in a bid to make it easier to remove those who arrive illegally across the Channel
Britain was previously able to return migrants who had arrived through EU member states using an agreement known as the Dublin Regulation, of which the UK is no longer part.
Keeping fingerprints on file may allow returns to resume at a later date.
The Channel crisis saw 8,500 migrants arrive in the UK illegally in small boats from northern France last year – compared with just 1,850 in the whole of 2019.
The new powers, to be brought in under secondary legislation, are due to come into force in the spring.