Failed asylum seekers are to be re-branded “illegal migrants” and given 28 days to leave Britain under plans unveiled by the Government.
A major consultation document – part of an action plan published amid continuing migrant crisis at Calais – said new moves would crack down on hand-outs which currently cost the taxpayer £140 million a year.
In a marked shift of tone, the official paper said: “Failed asylum seekersare illegal migrants and are no more deserving of welfare support that any other migrant in the UK unlawfully.
“We propose to legislate to curtail the scope for support for failed asylum seekers and other illegal migrants.”
Asylum seekers with dependent children will be given at least 28 days “grace period” to leave Britain, although the consultation paper asked for organisations to give their views on whether it should be longer.
However, the new document also disclosed that failed asylum seekers who are already in Britain will continue to receive benefits.
The new law will only apply to those who reach the end of the asylum appeals process from July next year.
The taxpayer will continue to pay support costs for 15,000 immigrants whose asylum claims have already been rejected by the courts.
The paper said it would be “impracticable” to “abruptly cease” their hand-outs.
In total, the proposals are expected to save £490 million over 10 years, but could save as much as £770 million.
The 28 days grace period could be extended if the families can prove they have a genuine obstacle to leaving, such as health problems, or if they lodge a new claim under the European Convention on Human Rights that they will be subjected to “inhuman or degrading treatment” in their country of origin.