Priti Patel is Home Secretary, and MP for Witham.
The UK has a proud history of being open to the world and our society is enriched by legal immigration.
We take pride in supporting refugees fleeing peril around the world, as we have seen yet again in the response to people escaping the terrible war in Ukraine, with over 50,000 visas issued so far to Ukrainians forced to flee.
We are doing more to resettle vulnerable people in the UK – through safe and legal routes – than any other government in recent history. Since 2015 we have offered a place to over 185,000 men, women and children seeking refuge, more than any other similar resettlement schemes in Europe.
This includes almost 100,000 British Nationals Overseas threatened by draconian security laws in Hong Kong, 20,000 through our Syrian scheme, and 13,000 from Afghanistan.
But alongside our international partners, we are facing a global migration crisis. There are an estimated 80 million displaced people in the world and the global approach to asylum and migration is clearly broken.
This severe pressure on the system means claims from those in need of our protection are taking too long to process, and it is taking resource away from supporting people through safe and legal routes to the UK.
The British public voted to take back control of our borders, and we have done that by ending free movement and introducing a new points-based immigration system.
Yet to properly control our borders we must also solve the problem of illegal immigration, which is facilitated by serious organised criminals who profit from human misery.
Illegal immigration puts unsustainable pressures on public services. The broken asylum system costs the taxpayer £1.5 billion a year and we are spending £4.7 million a day on hotels alone.
Each week people put their lives in the hands of people smuggling gangs to get them across the Channel. Unfortunately, all too often we have seen people drown. The way to stop these deaths is to stop the trade in people which causes them.
At the heart of our New Plan for Immigration to fix the system is a simple principle: fairness. Access to the UK’s asylum system should be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. If you illegally enter the UK via a safe country, you are picking Britain as a preferred destination over others, not coming here because you fear for your life.
You’ve heard me talk about this before, many times. It’s not enough that I share your frustration.
It’s true that our opponents have no plan and don’t care that the British people want us to control immigration – indeed for a long time they howled down anyone who expressed the mildest concern as racist.
Just look at their opposition to the Nationality and Borders Bill: they do not accept we need to change our laws and approach to address the challenges of illegal migration and stop the evil people smugglers trafficking people into Europe.
The tragic loss of life of people in the Channel and the Mediterranean at the hands of these evil smugglers must stop. As an outward-looking country, Britain post-Brexit must find innovative solutions to these challenges and work with new partners on global issues.
That is why I have signed a world-leading migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda, to enable people who arrive in the UK illegally through dangerous routes, such as on small boats, to be relocated to Rwanda to resettle and rebuild their lives there.
Those who are relocated and recognised as refugees will be given up to five years of support, including education and employment training, and help with integration, accommodation, and healthcare, so that they can thrive in Rwanda.
Rwanda has a strong system for refugee resettlement and, like the UK, recognises the huge benefits of controlled immigration. It is a State Party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the seven core UN Human Rights Conventions.
And Rwanda already has an excellent track record of welcoming and integrating people, such as from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, but also including, for example, people evacuated from Libya under the EU’s Emergency Transit Mechanism, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency and the African Union.
This agreement contains strong assurances from both countries to ensure that it fully complies with all national and international law.
This partnership is also very much in keeping with our vision for a post-Brexit Global Britain that harnesses the potential of new trade relationships and stimulates investment and jobs in partner countries. Rwanda is enjoying excellent economic growth, with a burgeoning tech sector.
As part of this ground-breaking agreement, the UK is making a substantial investment in the economic development of Rwanda over five years. It will support programmes that will improve the lives of the people in Rwanda and develop their economy, job prospects, and opportunities.
In addition, Britain will provide funding to cover the operational costs for the agreement.
This is the kind of international co-operation we need to tackle this global crisis, make the immigration system fairer, and make sure that people are safe and have new opportunities to flourish.
But there is no one single solution. That’s why in the package we set out yesterday, we confirmed that the Ministry of Defence is going to take command of small boat operations in the English Channel in order to bring their expertise in command and control to the challenge of tackling these crossings.
Migrants who cross the Channel will go through initial checks at Western Jet Foil in Dover before being transferred to a new processing site at Manston in Kent for further checks.
We will make sure that the criminal justice system cracks down on the people smugglers. Going forwards, every small boat incident will be investigated to determine who has been piloting the boat and could therefore be liable for prosecution.
And for the first time the Government will build asylum reception centres, to end the unsustainable practice of housing asylum seekers in hotels.
This has not been easy, but the fact that something is hard is no excuse for accepting the status quo.
This partnership is a world first and will change the way we collectively tackle illegal migration through new, world-leading solutions, to deliver the change the British people want to see.