Britain is ¿leading the charge¿ in tackling illegal migration, Rishi Sunak said last night

Britain is ‘leading the charge’ in tackling illegal migration, Rishi Sunak said last night ahead of talks with his Austrian counterpart to agree closer cooperation.

The Prime Minister will meet Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna today.

They are set to agree that Rwanda-style models are part of the solution to tackling the ‘pan-European’ challenge of migration.

Last week Austria was among 15 EU countries who warned that they would have to ‘think outside the box’ to tackle the root causes of irregular arrivals. Mr Nehammer said earlier this week that asylum procedures in safe third countries outside Europe are a ‘necessity’.

The two leaders’ meeting comes as the Government announced it will give the National Crime Agency (NCA) an additional £25 million to scale up efforts to disrupt people smugglers and their operations.

The money will be used to provide new equipment and specialist teams to enhance the NCA’s covert intelligence capabilities and intelligence sharing with partners. And it will enhance information gathering at the ‘Joint Fusion Cell’ which brings together the NCA, police and Home Office operations to identify new leads.

Britain is ¿leading the charge¿ in tackling illegal migration, Rishi Sunak said last night

Britain is ‘leading the charge’ in tackling illegal migration, Rishi Sunak said last night

Migrants board a smuggler's boat in an attempt to cross the English Channel, on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk in April

Migrants board a smuggler’s boat in an attempt to cross the English Channel, on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk in April

The Prime Minister will meet Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer (pictured) in Vienna today

The Prime Minister will meet Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer (pictured) in Vienna today

Downing Street said a doubling of funding to the NCA last year hit criminal gangs’ profits and the cost of crossing the Channel has risen four-fold from a low in 2023. Ahead of the visit to Austria, Mr Sunak said: ‘We are leading the charge with partners across the continent to meet the challenges caused by intolerable levels of illegal migration.

‘Just last week fifteen EU countries called for new solutions to address this growing issue. Our disruption of the cruel trade of criminal gangs, together with our Rwanda scheme, are part of a deterrent to stop illegal migration once and for all.’

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: ‘I have prioritised cracking down on organised immigration crime and breaking the business model of people smugglers since day one. Since 2020, we have already successfully dismantled 82 organised crime groups, seized 352 boats and prevented thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel.

‘Through our continued work with the National Crime Agency and enhancing our capabilities even further, we’ll do everything possible to disrupt the criminals who profit from this immoral trade.’

Elsewhere, it emerged UK taxpayers will cover the medical bills of migrants deported to Rwanda if they have to be sent abroad for treatment.

A deal signed between the Kigali government and a health insurance firm has revealed deportees may be sent to countries such as India, Belgium and Turkey if care is not available in the African state.

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