People arriving in the UK without valid papers will be deported within a few days with asylum claims rejected and migrants returned, according to Rishi Sunak.
The prime minister also said he was committed to Rwanda's deportation policy despite legal challenges, replying yes when asked if it would ever go ahead.
In an interview to mark 100 days as prime minister, he said asylum claims would be heard in days or weeks, not months or years. The UK has a significant asylum backlog, with more than 140,000 people waiting for an initial decision.
The Home Office is trying to double its number of asylum case workers and treble the rate at which they finish cases. The home secretary, Suella Braverman, disclosed in November that each case worker was completing a case a week on average.
The government hopes to have 2,500 caseworkers in place by August, compared to just under 600 in 2020.
Sunak said he intended to speed up the process of assessing people, as well as introduce a law that says people who arrive in the UK illegally without valid documents will not be able to claim asylum.
He said that the system I want to introduce is one whereby if you come here illegally, you should be swiftly detained and then in a matter of days or weeks we will hear your claim, not months and years, and then we will safely remove you somewhere else. That's how we'll break the cycle if we do that. Sunak said people should judge him on his record on asylum, including a new deal with the French government for additional patrols to spot boats crossing the Channel, as well as negotiating a deal with Albania. He said that Albanians made up 30% of all illegal migrants and described this as ridiculous. He said that he will work with the Albanians to put in place a new deal which means for people coming from Albania illegally, we ll be able to take them safely back to Albania and that is already happening.
But the key thing we need to do is introduce new laws, and very soon we will be introducing new laws into parliament which deliver the system that I explained, the system that says if you come here illegally, you are not really going to be able to stay here. Sunak said he was committed to reducing the time it took to remove people from the country. We will hear your claim in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years, and we will have the ability to send you to an alternative safe country, be that where you come from, like Albania or, indeed, Rwanda. That is the system. The prime minister said yes. This is not the first time that Sunak has given the Home Office an ambitious immigration target. In December he said he would clear the asylum backlog by the end of 2023. Downing Street said the pledge was related to 92,601 claims made before the Nationality and Borders Act came into force in June.