As of June 2022, small boat pilots may face life sentences in the UK if they are carrying migrants (refugees) into the United Kingdom. This new step has been one of the most significant changes in the UK asylum system in decades. It is meant to help counteract one of the leading methods for migrants seeking refugee to enter the UK. Thus, this article explores what this new rule includes and how it can affect small boat pilots.

How Small Boat Pilots May Face Life Sentences in the UK

The Nationality and Borders Act (NABA) received Royal Assent in April 2022. It includes various measures (including the one about the boat pilots) to help tackle a growing network of human trafficking. Instead, it will help reform the asylum system to make it possible for those with genuine refuge cases to seek asylum through legal means.

Some noteworthy changes related to boat pilots include the following.

  • Small boat pilots will now start to face imprisonment for smuggling people into the UK to seek refuge or asylum. The maximum imprisonment duration is a life sentence. The number of years will depend on the severity of the offence.
  • Immigration officers also have the right to search any containers that may be present on ships or boats that may be suspected of bringing illegal immigrants into the United Kingdom.

Issues with People Smuggling

The UK government is looking to tackle people smuggling (in the form of small boat smuggling and more) because it is putting the safety of people at risk. Traveling across significant distances by sea is not safe. In addition to that, some traffickers also prey on the vulnerability and desperation of refuge seekers, promising them safety in the UK after collecting a high price for trafficking.

What Those Facing Smuggling Charges Should Do

If you or anyone you know has been involved or is being prosecuted for human trafficking cases, you should get in touch with the experienced UK immigration solicitors immediately. As mentioned above, the penalties for piloting a boat with migrants are much more severe with the new reforms. Depending on the severity of your case, you may lose your entire life to it. Thus, with legal representation, it is possible to fight your case.

Your solicitors can help create a defence strategy to help clear your name or help reduce the charges. Human trafficking for refuge (or people smuggling) is also a complicated part of UK law, so your solicitor can help explain your case to you and help you see what your options are.

Final Thoughts

The penalties for small boat pilots committing smuggling offences in the UK were not this bad until this new act. Thus, it is more integral now than ever before to seek legal help quickly.