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Home Office launches new electronic monitoring programme

In order to better keep track of asylum-seekers who entered the UK through dangerous routes, the UK Home Office has recently announced a new pilot programme aimed to GPS track certain migrants in the United Kingdom, starting June 2022.

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What is the electronic tagging scheme?

The UK Home Office has recently announced a 12-month pilot programme aimed at electronically monitoring asylum seekers in the UK with GPS devices. This new programme launched on Wednesday (15 June 2022) will fit asylum-seekers who have arrived in the UK under “dangerous and unnecessary routes” with location-tracking devices.

Furthermore, those tracked will be required to regularly report in person to immigration centres or police stations. Some may also be subject to a curfew or excluded from going to certain locations. Electronically monitored individuals who do not abide by the conditions of tracking may be subject to deportation and legal prosecution.

Who will be tagged?

Some of the first people to be chosen for the new tracking programme will most likely be migrants who avoided a deportation flight to Rwanda. Despite Priti Patel’s plans to continue removal flights to Rwanda, the UK government was recently forced to halt flights due to heavy criticism and an injunction granted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Although it is not known how many asylum-seekers will be electronically monitored, the Home Office has recently reported that children and individuals who are at least 18 weeks pregnant will be exempt from GPS tracking. The Home Office will also take into account the physical and mental well-being of migrants before issuing them with a tag.

However, individuals in the UK who have recently been released on immigration bail from holding centres will most likely be GPS monitored.

Why did the Home Office start this programme?

The Home Office hopes that this new GPS tracking programme will stop certain migrants from vanishing into the rest of the country. Furthermore, the Home Office believes that by maintaining regular contact with individuals who are out on bail, the individual’s immigration claims will be processed more effectively.

However, critics argue that the new policy is “draconian” and treats desperate and vulnerable asylum-seekers like criminals.

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