Stop the Boats, says The Bow Group

Monday, June 22, 2015
Nic Conner

The Bow Group, the UK’s oldest conservative think-tank, today calls on European leaders to adopt the Australian maritime immigration policy of stopping the boats that bring thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean each week.

A new research paper by highlights the humanitarian crisis and looks to Australia for the only realistic and humane way to stop migrants putting their lives in danger.

The paper, entitled ‘Stop the Boats’, calls for European Union-operated Migration Processing Centres (MPCs) to be set up in Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia.

The paper also argues for any migrant boats in the Mediterranean to be rescued or redirected to the MPCs, where migrants can be identified and applications for political asylum and other forms of legal migration into European nations can be considered.

Nic Conner, the paper’s author and The Bow Group’s Social and Home Affair Research Fellow said: 

“The migrants have to survive a desert death march before making it to the sea. Many are raped and tortured, and all risk death at many stages of the journey to Europe.”

“As a civilised nation, we have a moral duty to stop the exportation by the traffickers of the migrants”

We need to make clear migrants, If you want to come to Europe and start a new life, do it legally without the mortal risk”.

Bow Group Chairman Ben Harris-Quinney said:

"The United Kingdom has rejected the EU's proposal to distribute quotas of migrants throughout Europe, and rightly so, but we haven't yet identified a realistic way to deal with the crisis, which is placing a huge burden on the nations of Southern Europe. Our proposal doesn't simply dismiss the EU proposal, it presents a workable alternative." 

Bow Group Research Secretary Peter Smith said:

“We need to do anything that encourages people to not get on these boats. That is why I call on the British Government to take that lead and establish Migration Processing Centres in either Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia”

“The only realistic way to stop migrants putting their lives in danger is to by stopping the boats”.


“The problem with the debate on the Mediterranean crises is that no one is calling for the most realistic way to tackle the problem: stopping the boats. This is due to the fear that the media will lead stories of left-wing advocate groups; posing as refugee or asylum charities, calling them racist whilst they use this humanitarian crises as a way to lobby for open borders’.

 “Stop the boats” proposes:

  • That the EU and other European nations hold talks with Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in order to establish Migration Processing Centres (MPCs).
  • That the MPCs be run and operated by EU nations.
  • To offer financial aid to any host nation of MPCs.
  • To encourage the host nation to adopt skilled migrants.
  • To allow migrants who wish to apply for asylum to have two attempts at applying from an MPC to two EU nations.
  • To allow migrants who wish to enter an EU nation legally to apply for the appropriate visas at an MPC.
  • To return home any migrant who fails in their application for asylum or a visa.
  • To stop any migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean, with EU nations being responsible for rescuing and towing the migrant boats to the nearest MPC in North Africa.
  • To create a limited and capped boat-buying scheme.
  • To increase aid and anti-corruption efforts across the migrants nations of origin.


Key facts from “Stop the boats” 

  1. There are currently 500,000 or more migrants in Libya waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
  2. For every twenty-five who make the journey, one will die while crossing.
  3. Between January and April of this year, some 35,000 migrants have made it to the coast of Southern Europe and more than 1,600 have died in the process.
  4. The world is currently experiencing the greatest movement of people since the end of World War Two.
  5. Worldwide, the number of refugees has reached 50 million, just under the population of England.
  6. In Libya, fishermen are opting to use their boats for transporting people rather than for the catching of fish. This in turn has caused fish prices to rise, making them too expensive for much of the population.
  7. Migrants are forced to work as slaves to pay traffickers fees in order to make it to the coast.
  8. Some migrants are imprisoned in the desert until their families agree to pay ransoms.
  9. Many migrants are tortured, while women regularly face the risk of sexual violence.
  10. Trafficking to the North African coast is often through the Sahara Desert.
  11. It is believed that 1,790 migrants have died crossing the Sahara in the last six months.
  12. It is believed that a sub-Saharan African is expected to pay around $1,000 whereas a Syrian would pay up to $2,500 for a marginally less congested crossing.
  13. A standard 17-metre boat could be filled with anything between 300 and 800 migrant.
  14. Captains are advised to scupper their boat should they see a European Navy vessel in order to increase their chances of rescue.
  15. 43% of the migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean since October 2014 nation of origin are from African nations, the majority of whom are economic migrants.
  16. In 2013, 32% of asylum requests were rejected at the Italian processing centres. Many migrants flee into greater Europe.
  17. French government have reported that more than 6,000 migrants had to be returned to Italy in the first six months of 2015.
  18. In June 2015, France was forced to close sections of its border with Italy due to concerns over illegal immigration.
  19. As of June 2015, 2,500 migrants are waiting in Calais to cross the English Channel into Britain.
  20. In 2014, there were around 31,400 applications made for asylum in the UK.
  21. Approximately 30,400 migrants entering the UK were detained under the Immigration Act in 2013.
  22. Asylum detainees accounts for 60% of the total immigration detainee population.
  23. The estimated average cost of this to the UK taxpayer was £97.00 per person each day.
  24. More than 60% of asylum applications were refused.
  25. A refused applicant costs the UK taxpayer £2.3 million per day.
  26. Australia has set up migrant processing centres in Papua New Guinea.
  27. Migrants are given the opportunity to settle in Papua New Guinea.
  28. In 2003, Nicolas Sarkozy suggested setting up “security zones” in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
  29. Germany’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, proposed migration processing centres in North Africa so that migrants might come to Europe legally.
PDF icon Stop_the_Boats.pdf605.79 KB