The UK’s Home Office is reportedly considering the use of electronic and GPS tags to monitor asylum seekers arriving undocumented in the United Kingdom, as stated in a report by The Times newspaper.nAs per the recently approved Illegal Migration Act, those who arrive on small boats will be detained and possibly deported to their home countries or a third nation like Rwanda.
The Home Office is exploring electronic tagging as a means to prevent the absconding of asylum seekers who cannot be detained. An unidentified Home Office source mentioned that electronic tagging is a preferred option over withdrawing financial support, which could leave migrants destitute.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman stated in an interview with Sky News that the recently enacted Illegal Migration Act empowers the government to detain and remove those who arrive illegally, potentially sending them to countries such as Rwanda.
Kolbassia Haoussou, a refugee from Chad, expressed that electronic tagging would not have deterred him from seeking refuge in the UK.
The practice of electronic tagging, commonly used to monitor prisoners, could be employed to track asylum seekers. The Home Office had previously proposed an electronic tagging scheme to monitor asylum seekers set to be removed from the UK.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who oversaw the scheme, argued that such measures are necessary to prevent undocumented individuals from disappearing within the country. The Home Office reported that, as of June this year, 1,924 people were held in immigration detention.
Enver Solomon, head of the UK-based Refugee Council, criticised the electronic tagging proposal, stating that it treats individuals as objects rather than vulnerable individuals deserving compassion. Braverman highlighted the need for “intense work” to facilitate swift removals due to limited detention space.
While the UK aims to increase detention capacity, various options, including electronic tagging, are being explored to exercise control over individuals in the immigration system.