THE UK Government has been accused of putting forward “inhumane and cruel” plans after suggesting asylum seekers should be sent abroad, or to remote Scottish islands, for processing in order to discourage immigration.

In legislation planned to be announced next week, Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce a massive overhaul of the UK’s asylum system. The new laws will reportedly include life sentences for people smugglers and the establishment of “migrant reception centres” on Government land.

The Daily Mail suggested the plans would see migrants banned from claiming asylum in the UK if they had arrived from a "safe" country such as France, with their cases deemed “inadmissible”.

A consultation will also be opened on Patel’s plan to process asylum seekers, with the public asked to give their views on the proposal.

The Home Office is considering sending people to Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, or a number of unnamed Scottish islands, according to reports in The Times. Other unnamed third countries and off-shore British territories are also reportedly under consideration.

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The news follows reports in autumn last year of Patel’s plans to send asylum seekers to tiny islands in the south Atlantic. These islands, such as St Helena and Ascension, are more than 4000 miles from the UK mainland.

The UK Government’s plans mirror those in use in Australia since the 1980s on small Pacific islands such as Nauru. Westminster does not believe these plans would contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.

Gary Christie, the head of policy, communications and communities at the Scottish Refugee Council, said the plans were both “outlandish and unrealistic”.

Christie said: “We are deeply worried by these inhumane and cruel plans. Seeking asylum is a human right, and people seeking protection must be treated with dignity and respect at all stages throughout the asylum process.

“We need grown-up solutions to the real-world problems facing refugees, the UK asylum system and the communities in which they live, not these outlandish and unrealistic plans.

“The people of Scotland want to help refugees, but never ever like this. The UK Government must do better than this.”

Bella Sankey of the Detention Action charity said: “Off-shore detention of traumatised people is ethically abhorrent and practically infeasible. It is totally unnecessary and would diminish Britain in the eyes of the world.”

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants described the proposal as “cruel, dangerous and unworkable”, accusing Patel of “using refugees as a political football, instead of simply ensuring they have safe and legal routes to rebuild their lives here”.

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The government of Gibraltar (shown above) has also hit back at suggestions the UK could send asylum seekers there.

The territory’s government said it had not received any proposal on the issue from the UK, and chief minister Fabian Picardo has written to the Home Secretary to say it will not happen.

The Isle of Man also said it has not been contacted by the UK Government about any proposals.

In his letter to Patel, Picardo said there were constitutional and legal issues, as well as the “geographic limitations” of the territory which prevented it being used to process asylum seekers.

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The chief minister said that while “we will not ever shirk our responsibility” to help Britain, “our geography makes some things difficult, however, and the processing of asylum seekers to the UK in Gibraltar would be one of them”.

“Immigration is an area of my responsibility as chief minister under the Gibraltar constitution and I can confirm that this issue has not been raised with me at any level.

“I would have made clear this is not area on which we believe we can assist the UK.”

A spokesperson for the Isle of Man Government said: “The Isle of Man is self-governing, the UK Government would not be able to open any sort of processing centre on the island without consent.

“The UK Government has not contacted the Isle of Man Government about any such proposal.”

The crown dependency’s parliament, the Tynwald, is thought to be unlikely to approve any processing centre.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.