Sunak announces £25m extra funding to tackle people smuggling gangs ahead of migration talks with Austrian Chancellor

20 May 2024, 22:44

Rishi Sunak has announced an extra £25 million in funding to stop the boats.
Rishi Sunak has announced an extra £25 million in funding to stop the boats. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Rishi Sunak will announce an additional £25m in funding to stop the boats on Tuesday as he’s set to meet with Austrian Chancellor Nehammer to discuss how to tackle illegal migration in Europe.

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The Prime Minister will meet with Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Tuesday where they are expected to say that designated safe third countries are part of the solution to preventing ‘dangerous’ small boat journeys.

It comes after 15 EU countries signed a joint letter last week calling for new solutions to address migration to Europe, including through potential partnerships with third countries  - similar to the Government’s Rwanda-style model.

Mr Sunak also announced an additional £25 million in funding to the National Crime Agency (NCA) to further increase efforts to prevent people smuggling operations.

The additional cash is expected to provide new equipment and specialist teams in the NCA, enhance links between the NCA, Home Office and police, and to do more to disrupt small boats supply chains.

Mr Sunak said: “We are leading the charge with partners across the continent to meet the challenges caused by intolerable levels of illegal migration. Just last week fifteen EU countries called for new solutions to address this growing issue.

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“Our disruption of the cruel trade of criminal gangs, together with our Rwanda scheme, are part of a deterrent to stop illegal migration once and for all.

“It is the British public who should make decisions about who crosses our borders.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly also said: “ “I have prioritised cracking down on organised immigration crime and breaking the business model of people smugglers since day one.

“Since 2020, we have already successfully dismantled 82 organised crime groups, seized 352 boats and prevented thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel.

“Through our continued work with the National Crime Agency and enhancing our capabilities even further, we’ll do everything possible to disrupt the criminals who profit from this immoral trade.”

It comes after the Government insisted earlier this month that the Rwanda scheme is starting to work because migrants who have fled to Ireland have 'refused' to go back to the UK due to the threat of being deported to the African nation.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act passed into law last month and is aimed at protecting the scheme against legal challenges.

No flights have taken off yet, although the first migrants due to be sent to Rwanda have been detained.