Asylum: Total Failure

Asylum seekers are using more and more desperate measures to reach western Europe. Far from reducing the human tide, tighter border controls and restrictions on entry have simply driven the problem underground. Entry restrictions mean that many potential refugees in real need of international protection are simply prevented from seeking asylum in Europe. Without visas or the resources to pay the extortionate fees demanded by traffickers, they have no opportunity to seek refugee status in safe countries.

The World Today Updated 28 October 2020 Published 1 August 2000 4 minute READ

Christina Boswell

As public concern about the costs of asylum seekers has risen over the past two decades, European governments have introduced a range of measures to limit their numbers and the expense of assisting them.

These have included visa restrictions, sanctions on companies which transport them, accelerated and streamlined applications procedures and lowering standards of reception and assistance for asylum seekers. Yet these responses have had little effect on the influx. The number of asylum seekers in many European Union states has continued to rise, generating increasing public hostility.

Measures to deter potential asylum-seekers have also had negative social repercussions in receiving states. Attempts by countries such as Germany and Britain to limit the ‘abuse’ of the asylum system through lower welfare standards have raised concerns about the stigmatisation of refugees, and its impact on race relations.

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