Tory MPs plan for migrant crime league tables

Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister
Robert Jenrick has put forward the plan, saying we must understand the social impacts of immigration if we wish to tackle it - US Customs and Border Protection/US Customs and Border Protection

The migrant nationalities with the highest rates of crime will be revealed in league tables under plans to be considered by ministers.

The proposal, backed by senior Tory MPs, would require the crime rates of each nation’s migrants in England and Wales to be published annually.

Ministers would present a report to Parliament each year detailing the nationality, visa status and asylum status of every offender convicted in English and Welsh courts in the previous 12 months.

Such a move would mirror an approach by some US states and Denmark, where the crime rates of those from Kuwait, Tunisia, Lebanon and Somalia are far higher than those of Danish nationals.

The plan, set out in an amendment to the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill, would enable the Home Office to toughen visa and deportation policies for nationalities linked to higher rates of crime.

It is understood that the Government’s main concern is regarding the practicality of implementing the plan, as ministers have no ideological objections to it. A government source said: “We will certainly look properly at this amendment and engage with colleagues in the usual way.”

The plan has been put forward by Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister, and has been backed by more than a dozen Tory MPs including Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former business secretary, on the Right of the party and Sir Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, on the centre-Left.

‘The UK is importing crime’

“We cannot hope to fix our immigration system without understanding the problem. The national debate on legal and illegal migration is hindered by a lack of data on the fiscal, economic and societal impacts of migration,” said Mr Jenrick.

“There is mounting concern that the UK is importing crime, particularly violent crime, sexual assaults and drug production. We need to have transparency so the public knows what’s happening and policy can be formulated accordingly.”

Rishi Sunak is fighting to get a grip on illegal and legal migration following his pledge to stop the boats. Polls show that dissatisfaction with the Government’s immigration policies is at its highest level since Brexit, with the Conservatives shedding support for the Reform Party on the issue.

Last year, Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, warned that migrants in the UK illegally were fuelling crime, saying that those arriving on small boats were linked to “heightened levels of criminality”.

National Crime Agency chiefs have previously warned that a “significant number” of Albanians who had entered the UK illegally were working for organised criminal drug gangs.

Backers of the league table plan believe it will help the Government strengthen immigration policy on three fronts. First, they said it would allow the Home Office to tighten screening of visas from countries with nationals linked to higher crime rates in the UK. A similar approach could be taken to asylum applications. They also say it would enable the Home Office to focus deportations and returns agreements on those countries.

Mr Jenrick said: “An open immigration system is creating serious problems in communities, but without data, we can’t have an informed debate.”

Sir Robert said Denmark and the US had a similar approach to tackling immigration, as both countries had developed proposals to process asylum claims of migrants offshore in Rwanda.

“The Danes think similarly to us. They were the ones looking at third-country processing agreements. I don’t think anyone can suggest they are not compliant with international laws yet they are rightly adopting a robust and fair approach,” he said.

“Anything that makes us more efficient in the way we process claims to sift out people whose presence would be a detriment to our country should be considered.”

Among MPs backing the plan are former ministers Andrea Jenkyns, Sir Simon Clarke, Neil O’Brien, Jonathan Djanogly, Sir Desmond Swayne, Sarah Dines, Sir James Duddridge, Heather Wheeler and Caroline Johnson.

The Danish Government’s data on migrant crimes enables researchers to compile league tables showing which nations have the highest conviction rate relative to Danish nationals.

Japanese, US, Australian, Austrian, Argentinian and Indian citizens have the lowest rates at half those of Danes, while more than 40 nations have higher conviction rates for violent crime.

Denmark has some of the toughest immigration policies in Europe and has been seeking to work with other EU countries to deport migrants to a third country outside the bloc where their asylum claims would be processed.

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