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Labour Explores Alternatives to Controversial Rwanda Migrant Scheme

Labour, led by Sir Keir Starmer, is reportedly considering a scheme that would involve processing asylum seekers’ claims outside of the UK. 

This move is seen as an alternative to the controversial plan of deporting some asylum seekers to Rwanda, which the party has vehemently opposed. 

Tackling Channel Crossings Head-On

The proposed offshoring scheme aims to address concerns over small boat crossings in the Channel and is being developed by key figures within the Labour party, including shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock.

Sir Keir Starmer has previously dismissed the idea of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda as a “gimmick” and has expressed the party’s opposition to such plans. 

However, recent reports suggest a potential shift in Labour’s approach, with detailed plans for an offshoring scheme being considered. This move is driven by a desire to counter Tory attacks on Labour’s alternative solutions to immigration challenges.

To develop a comprehensive alternative proposal, Labour has engaged with asylum experts, former home secretary Lord David Blunkett, and representatives from other European countries. 

The offshoring scheme would involve processing asylum claims overseas, with successful applicants subsequently allowed to come to the UK. 

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Labour’s Triple Benchmark

Labour, led by Sir Keir Starmer, is reportedly considering a scheme that would involve processing asylum seekers’ claims outside of the UK.

Labour’s three key criteria for evaluating the feasibility of such a scheme include cost-effectiveness, credibility in deterring migrants, and the ability to sidestep legal challenges that have plagued previous proposals.

The Times reports that Labour has established three critical tests for any offshoring scheme. Firstly, it must be cost-effective, ensuring efficient resource utilization. Secondly, it should be credible enough to act as a deterrent for migrants. 

Lastly, the proposed scheme must navigate legal challenges effectively, learning from the setbacks faced by the Rwanda plan.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary James Cleverly are pinning their hopes on fresh legislation currently in the Commons to revive the flagship policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. This policy faced legal obstacles when declared unlawful by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

Labour’s consideration of an offshoring approach is not entirely unprecedented. In the early 2000s, Lord Blunkett and the Blair government explored a similar strategy with Tanzania

The success of such a scheme, according to Lord Blunkett, lies in having British officials in charge of processing claims to ensure adherence to international conventions.

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