Quotations of news and views by subject

At the end of this page there is a list of subjects, with links to the relevant sections

Within each section of this page the more recent items are shown first. However, extracts can, if preferred, be read in chronological order by using the "Up" link to go to the start of the item next above the one just read.

Authors expressing their own views are indicated in bold. The names of reporters are in normal type.


Asylum – Syrian refugees
Nigel Farage is right about Syrian refugees, but asylum should not be permanent
Melanie McDonagh
Spectator blog, 29 December 2013

There has been a stagey sort of surprise at the news that Nigel Farage has called for refugees from the conflict in Syria to be given asylum in Britain. He's anti-immigration, see, so his call for generous provision for refugees of war has, at least for our major broadcasters, a paradoxical element.

But it doesn't quite follow that if you are in favour of curbing immigration that you are therefore Scroogish on asylum. Paul Collier, the Oxford academic whom I interviewed for the Speccie after the publication of Exodus, his interesting book on the effects of migration on poor countries, was emphatic that countries had a moral duty to be generous in the provision of asylum. But only so long as the asylum is temporary; the deal being that once the conflict is more or less over, the refugees return to help rebuild their country. It's very much in the interests of post-conflict states that their brightest and best return home, rather than staying put in the countries that gave them refuge.

And that second element, it seems to me, is what Britain is rubbish at, viz, returning people back to their war-ravaged states, preferably with enough cash in hand to start rebuilding their lives. But that must be the deal. Otherwise, as David Davis pointed out, you can have the situation bequeathed by Labour in respect of the Somali conflict, whereby tens of thousands of people were given refuge here from the war, only to remain in perpetuity.

If the conditions are spelt out in advance, then by all means let some of the unfortunate victims of the Syrian conflict come to the UK as well as to other states in Europe, though it may be hard to distinguish between a genuine exodus of displaced people and opportunistic migration. But once there's some sort of cessation of conflict, they must be sent back.

The real argument against granting asylum is that the humanitarian initiative becomes a substitute for political engagement to help end the conflict itself.
[Site link]


Asylum – fast-track detention
Why does Britain detain so many asylum-seekers?
Daniel Trilling
New Statesman, 12 December 2013

"Fast-track" detention, which is distinct from the practice of keeping failed asylum-seekers and foreign offenders locked up immediately before they are deported, is Britain's standard method for processing "straightforward" asylum claims.

Although most claimants live in the community while their applications are considered, asylum-seekers whose claims are deemed quick to decide – 2,118 people out of a total of 19,865 claimants in 2011 – are held at a detention centre during the process. It is one of the reasons why Britain holds more people in immigration detention – roughly 4,000 a year – than any other country except Australia. Yet a legal challenge that will be heard at the high court later this month could undermine this system.

Launched by the Blair government in 2000 and greatly expanded in 2003, fast-track detention exists largely for what is known euphemistically as "administrative convenience". After they arrive in the UK, claimants are locked up in a high-security detention centre; they are interviewed, their case is heard, and they are supposed to get an initial decision within three days. Difficult cases – survivors of torture, families, pregnant women, people with physical or mental conditions, potential victims of trafficking – aren't supposed to be processed in this way: the fast track was designed for single people, largely those coming from "white-list" countries (asylum claims originating from such countries are more likely to be false). The system's 99 per cent "refusal rate" on decisions before appeal would suggest that it is operating to plan – quick and efficient.

And yet for Omar, as for many others, it hasn't worked like that. First of all, he had to wait weeks for his hearing. He was introduced to his lawyer 15 minutes before the hearing began. The judge asked where the supporting evidence for his asylum claim was. It had been confiscated on arrival, he replied. Omar's claim was rejected "for lack of supporting evidence". He was given the right to appeal, which would allow him to stay in detention for weeks, if not months, longer.

As Jerome Phelps, the director of the charity Detention Action, explained to me, such delays – as well as a sense that the system is stacked against claimants – are typical. The purpose of fast-track detention, he says, has shifted away from processing people efficiently to being "a system to remove people quickly".

Since 2005, the scheme has ceased to be reserved for asylum-seekers from "whitelist" countries. It is now used for anybody whose case is seen as "quick to determine".

This approach was criticised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2008, on the grounds that it did not identify complex cases or protect vulnerable people effectively. Survivors of torture, for instance, are expected to arrive in the UK with "independent evidence" of their abuse in order to avoid fast-track detention – an impossible task for many.

Detention Action has brought the legal challenge to the detention scheme at the high court, arguing that it does not protect vulnerable people and that the widespread delays in processing claims breach the right to liberty protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.
[Site link]


Asylum – crime, terrorism
Asylum Report Slams Border Official Decisions Which Allow Terrorists Into Britain
The Huffington Post, 11 October 2013

Britain is at risk of harbouring war criminals and terrorists due to poor decisions made by border officials, a group of MPs have warned.

In a damning report on asylum, the Home Affairs Select Committee said it was concerned by the quality of decision-making as 30% of appeals against initial decisions were allowed in 2012.

A backlog of 32,600 asylum cases that should have been resolved in 2011 are yet to be concluded, the Committee discovered, while the number of applicants still waiting for an initial decision after six months rose by 63% last year. Some applicants have been waiting up to 16 years.

The group of MPs also raised concerns about the "appalling" housing conditions faced by asylum-seekers, as well as the pressure placed on gay applicants to prove their sexual orientation.

In 2012, there were 21,955 applications for asylum in the UK. As of September 19 this year, of those 21,955 cases, 18,423 have received an initial decision and 12,632 have been concluded.

This means that 3,523 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision.
[Site link]


Asylum – European Union
100,000 asylum-seekers land in EU
Macer Hall
Daily Express, 10 October 2013

More than 100,000 migrants claimed asylum in the European Union in just three months this year, official figures showed yesterday.

The number of asylum claims across the EU's 27 member states between April and June was 50 per cent up on a year ago.

The figures from the Brussels statistics agency Eurostat were released amid concerns that EU border control policies are failing. In the UK, the rise was 13 per cent with a total of 7,400 asylum claims over three months.

Foreign nationals most likely to claim asylum in Britain came from Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Syria and Bangladesh, according to Eurostat.
[Site link]


Asylum – European Union, Germany
Germany refuses to take in more refugees, 9 October 2013

As the human tragedy near the Italian island of Lampedusa prompted calls to rethink the EU's immigration policy, the German Interior Minister rejected any suggestion that his country should accept more refugees. ...

At a meeting of EU interior ministers held in Luxemburg on Tuesday (8 October), Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU), the German home affairs minister, reacted to recent calls for a fairer burden-sharing of refugees among European countries.

"Germany is the country that takes in the most refugees in Europe," Friedrich claimed.

Last year, the Federal Republic accepted almost 80,000 refugees, and is expected to welcome a further 100,000 this year. This would result in a ratio of around 946 refugees for every million inhabitants.

"This shows that descriptions, stating that Italy is overburdened with refugees, are simply not true," Friedrich said.

Indeed, according to a recent report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the total number of asylum applicants in Germany is the highest in the EU and is higher than Italy's by almost 20,000 people, according to data from 2010 and 2011. ...

At the moment, burden-sharing takes place on a voluntary basis among EU member states. And current rules stipulate that the country receiving an asylum application is responsible for processing the file. Therefore, if a refugee lands in Malta before entering Germany, the German authorities are entitled to send the applicant back to Malta.

Refugee organisations and countries like Italy or Greece, which receive the bulk of asylum claims, have called for greater solidarity. ...

Amnesty International supports more solidarity in Europe. Not only Germany, but the entire EU must take in more refugees, the organisation argues.
[Site link]


Asylum – European Union
EU member states fear Syrian refugee influx
EUbusiness, 21 September 2013

European Union governments are bracing for a surge in Syrian refugees that threatens to become a flood as hopes fade for a quick end to the bloody civil war. ...

Thousands are seeking a new life in the EU, especially in the bloc's wealthier member states, with Italy among the worst affected. ...

Italy is among the worst affected, with some 3,000 refugees arriving in August alone, according to UN refugee agency data. ...

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has said he expects the problem to worsen while Interior Minister Angelino Alfano described the situation as an "emergency" in Sicily, in the south where many refugees land. ...

Under current EU rules asylum seekers are handled by the country they arrive in but several countries, as in Italy and Greece, are unhappy at bearing the brunt of the exodus while others such as Germany have long claimed the system is open to abuse. ...

Britain, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden have insisted that there can be no easing of asylum rules.

Between them, the five states accounted for 70 percent of the 330,000 asylum requests submitted in the EU last year and feel they are already contributing more than their fair share.
[Site link]


Asylum – delays, costs
Fury at £32m bill to care for failed asylum seekers
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 22 July 2013

Delays in getting rid of failed asylum seekers are costing the hard-pressed British taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

Figures seen by the Daily Express show £32.1 million has been spent over the past three and a half years supporting more than 20,000 migrants after they have been refused permission to stay in Britain.

Worsening log-jams at the Home Office and ballooning numbers of human rights appeals mean each one waits an average of 10 months to return home.

The massive bill to stop them falling destitute before they leave does not include the cost of housing them.

Campaigners yesterday voiced outrage at the huge cost to the public and demanded that the Government overhauls the immigration system. ...

The cost of failed asylum seekers emerged in figures about the "Azure cards" they receive to pay for food and toiletries.

The pre-paid cards are topped up with £35.39 a week and must be used in named chemists and super-markets. Pregnant women and those with children get more. In all, 20,585 cards have been doled out since 2009, costing £32,147,461.
[Site link]


Asylum – deportation, legal aid
Legal aid lawyers milking pointless migrant appeals: Nine in ten cases are thrown out as number of reviews soars to 10,000 a year
Jack Doyle and James Slack
Daily Mail, 1 July 2013

Legally-aided lawyers are pocketing millions by flooding the courts with 'meritless' immigration and asylum appeals.

The number of review applications has soared to nearly 10,000 a year but nearly nine in ten are thrown out at the first stage.

Lawyers can earn £1,000 from the taxpayer even for cases which are rejected outright at the first hurdle and a further £2,500 if they make it to an initial hearing and lose.

Last-ditch appeals are often launched hours before a scheduled removal flight as a tactic to thwart deportation.

Last night Chris Grayling condemned the deluge of 'meritless and time-wasting cases' as he launched a string of reforms designed to block bogus appeals. ...

The number of applications for last-ditch judicial reviews has shot up by 86 per cent in the last five years.

Judges are inundated with applications, meaning even the most baseless take some three months to process, clogging up the courts.

By blocking the deportation of their clients with a fresh appeal, even if it is baseless, lawyers can prolong their stay in Britain by months, if not years.

Those that reach a hearing take more than six months to complete, even if they ultimately fail. Last year a total of 9,469 judicial review applications were made in immigration and asylum cases.

But of the 5,040 which have been considered by the court, only 677 got past the first stage.

Of the 45 which reached a final hearing, just 21 were successful.

In 1974 there were just 160 judicial reviews of any type.

From today lawyers will be banned from seeking a hearing in person if their initial application has been rejected as 'totally without merit'.

Ministers are also set to impose a £215 fee for anyone demanding a hearing if their initial application was rejected.

Separate plans being fiercely contested by the legal profession will see legal aid refused to illegal immigrants who have not been living in Britain legally for a year. However, there will be an exemption for political refugees.
[Site link]


Asylum – Australia
UN convention turns Australia into a magnet for asylum-seekers
Greg Sheridan
ICJS Research / The Australian, 20 June 2013

Is the Refugee Convention itself now the problem? The convention dates from 1951 and was designed to deal with people fleeing persecution across land borders in Europe. It had the Holocaust in mind. The idea was that if someone, generally a government, was trying to kill you because of your race or religion and you fled to escape death, you would not then be forced back to your persecutor. ...

... The obligations it imposes on signatories are reasonably limited. The main one is that a country may not return a refugee to the place from which he has fled persecution. ...

It is clear, and sometimes explicit, in the convention's wording that it envisages people fleeing directly from persecution in one country to haven, temporary or permanent, in an adjacent neighbour. So how is it that, ostensibly under the auspices of the convention, there are now Iranians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Somalis, Afghans, Pakistanis and others arriving in Australia's north and claiming to be refugees?

No provision of the convention allows a refugee to "forum shop", that is, to use their status to claim immigration rights in any country they choose.

The convention talks of people directly fleeing persecution. But the folks arriving in Australia use, or misuse, a technicality in the convention.

Technically, they have not passed through another country which is a convention signatory. This is only possible because almost all of Southeast Asia is, very sensibly, not signed up to the convention. Only Cambodia, East Timor and The Philippines are signatories.

Therefore, if a person who wants to live in Australia can get on a direct flight to Indonesia, or even Malaysia, they can get to Australia without passing through any signatory countries. Given the flying range of jumbo jets, this is now possible for virtually anyone in the world. ...

Iran, similarly, has the signatory country Turkey, until recently a good friend of Iran's, virtually next door. And a whole swath of European and other convention signatories much closer than Australia. But if an Iranian flies direct to Malaysia, where he gets visa free entry, he can get to Australia without, technically, going through another signatory country.

This shouldn't really make any difference, because the only real obligation under the convention is not to return a genuine refugee to the land of his persecution. ...

But the convention operates now in three ways that are extremely bad for Australia.

First, because it is a treaty we have signed, it has been substantially imported into our domestic law. But because some of its language is imprecise and aspirational, an imperial judiciary can steal much of the power from the parliament by interpreting such language expansively.

Second, Australia's status as a signatory to the convention acts as an enormously powerful magnet, attracting all manner of aspirational immigrants, drawn by Australia's material riches and generous welfare, who can then use the convention to qualify for immigration status they would never get otherwise.

And third, it allows the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to play a wholly inappropriate part in our domestic politics. ... We are the softest touch in the region, and everyone in the region knows it. Increasingly, everyone in the world knows it, which is why illegal immigration to Australia is becoming such a big, well financed, global, criminal business.
[Site link]


Asylum – costs
Asylum seekers cost £1.5m a day
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 15 June 2013

Britain's shambolic asylum system set taxpayers back more than £1.5 million a day last year.

The Home Office had to fork out £583 million on 37,000 asylum claims, the Daily Express can reveal.

Two out of three cases of people trying to stay in the UK were more than a year old and nearly 14,000 had waited at least three years, according to official figures.

The money went on housing, cash support, legal bills and paperwork.

But the total does not include asylum seekers' legal aid bills, the cash spent on them by councils or the cost of a backlog of hundreds of thousands of other migration cases.

Campaigners yesterday condemned the huge cost of would-be refugees – roughly £14,500 per case. ...

Home Office figures unearthed by the Daily Express highlight the snail-like pace of dealing with asylum cases.

In June last year there were 37,381 "work in progress" cases. An average of 37,299 were open at any one time during the previous 12 months – up from 36,838 a year earlier.

Of the 37,381 applications, 23,481 were failed asylum seekers waiting for removal.

The number of claimants waiting for the initial decision on their bid for refugee status stood at 6,192, up from 4,851 a year earlier.

And outstanding applications for "further leave to remain" grew from 2,761 in 2011 to 2,986 last year.
[Site link]


Asylum – European Union
EU asylum applications on the rise
Nikolaj Nielsen
EUobserver, 25 March 2013

The number of people seeking asylum in Europe is on the rise, as conflicts and poverty force families to leave their home countries.

The EU statistics office, Eurostat, said on Friday (22 March) the EU registered 330,000 asylum seekers in 2012, up from 302,000 applicants in 2011. ...

Afghans remain the top asylum applicants in the EU followed closely by Syrians, Russians, Pakistanis and Serbs.

The United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) says nearly 22,000 Syrians applied for asylum in Europe last year. Last week, Germany announced it would accept some 5,000 Syrian refugees with the first arrivals expected in June.

Every EU member state has reported an increase of Syrian applicants, except in Greece where poor asylum conditions deprive applicants of basic rights.

Under the EU's so-called Dublin regulation, member states are entitled to send back any would-be refugee to the country where he first entered to claim asylum. The regulation was introduced 15 years ago but vast divergences on the how it is applied remain.

Reports of abuse, violence, and neglect prompted the European Court of Human Rights in 2011 to rule it illegal to send refugees to Greece from another EU member state.
[Site link]



Benefits and costs – health services
Sorry but migrants will STILL abuse the NHS: Department of Health research shows only 16% of charges are ever recovered [part 1]
J Meirion Thomas
Daily Mail, 31 December 2013

Health Minister Lord Howe's announcement this week that foreigners coming to Britain will be charged for emergency treatment on the NHS appears at first glance to be a welcome first step towards tackling health tourism – a scourge which is causing untold damage to our National Health Service.

The plan is that migrants who go to A&E will be charged between £20 and £100 for a consultation, on top of the cost of their treatment. ...

That something has to be done is not in doubt. I work as a senior consultant in the NHS and, having become increasingly dismayed by the growing financial burden caused by overseas health visitors, I have researched the subject thoroughly – health tourism is costing the NHS billions of pounds.

Yet for those of us who have campaigned over the years to prevent health tourism, these new plans to tackle the problem come as a huge disappointment.

To explain why, let me first make clear who these health tourists are. They are people who come to the UK, often on a visitor's visa, with a pre-existing illness and whose motive is to access free NHS care.

This does not include asylum seekers or anyone who suffers accidental or incidental illness while visiting the UK.

For years, governments have not even dared to acknowledge health tourism was an issue. Even when they did, they underestimated the cost to the country.

In the House of Commons on March 25 this year, David Cameron said it was around £20 million a year. Later in the same debate, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt put the figure at £200 millon.

At least Lord Howe conceded this week that health tourism is a massive problem, and that it is costing the taxpayer £500 million.

This figure is still a fraction of my estimate of £2 billion to £3 billion, which is based on a vast number of case reports and other audit data I have received from those working at the frontline of the NHS.

The truth is that we have no reliable estimate of the cost of health tourism to the NHS because the Department of Health has failed to commission proper evidence-based research. It's as if they don't want to know. ...

But the problem is not just pregnant women. There is also the abuse of cancer, HIV, kidney dialysis, transplant and other services, all of which are specifically targeted by health tourists.

Yet even if the Government is woefully underestimating the cost of health tourism, should we not at least give them credit for planning to recover taxpayers' money by charging migrant patients?

Not really, I am afraid.

This plan merely confirms the Department of Health's misguided obsession with identifying and charging health tourists rather than preventing their access to the NHS in the first place.

The department has obviously not learned that charging doesn't work, even though its own research proves that only 16 per cent of charges are ever recovered.

However many times you turn up at a bedside with a chip-and-pin machine, no determined health tourist will pay up on the spot.

[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Sorry but migrants will STILL abuse the NHS: Department of Health research shows only 16% of charges are ever recovered [part 2]
J Meirion Thomas
Daily Mail, 31 December 2013

Will there be a cashier's desk in every A&E department, and will all visitors and migrants have to supply a credit card before treatment?

I don't think so. As happens now, ineligible patients, even when rightly identified, will be invoiced weeks or even months later, by which time they will have left their temporary accommodation for their home country.

There is a reason that recovery figure is just 16 per cent. ...

On top of this, one of the most costly elements of health tourism – the abuse of GPs surgeries, because it involves so many patients – is to be left alone.

The report states that visitors, students and migrants will still be entitled to free GP services and puts forward the spurious public health argument that transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV, TB and sexually transmitted diseases would otherwise increase.

Where is the evidence for this assumption? On the same premise, the Department of Health announced last year that treatment for HIV would be free to all affected patients in the UK. Did that decision encourage health tourism?

We don't know . . . but we can all guess the answer.

It's as if the Department of Health thinks that as soon as the first anti-HIV, or anti-TB pills have been taken, the patient is no longer infectious. But patients with HIV can pass on the disease for months afterwards.

Half the TB in London is HIV-related and, for pharmacological reasons, these patients require anti-TB treatment for about one year before the anti-HIV therapy can even be started.

By encouraging them to receive treatment in Britain while they are still infectious, we could well be increasing the incidence of HIV disease in the UK.

So what is the answer to stopping health tourists – both those who come from within the EU and those without?

First, we should introduce an NHS passport, which defines an individual's entitlement to using the health service free of charge on the basis of permanent residency.

Along with this, foreign visitors should no longer be automatically given a free NHS number.

For it is an astonishing fact that, unlike in almost any other country in the world, visitors to Britain are entitled to free primary care in GPs' surgeries.

There they are given a unique NHS number which not only implies they have a legitimate right to use the NHS but also renders them virtually undetectable should they ever be referred for hospital care. ...

Second, we should follow the lead of every country with a sophisticated health service similar to our own, and insist that proof of reliable travel and health insurance must be provided before a visitor or student visa is issued. ...

An NHS passport and compulsory insurance for visitors and students may not solve all our problems. But they would go considerably further towards solving this scandalous abuse of taxpayers' money than these new Government proposals.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Iain Duncan Smith: Britain's benefits system being threatened by immigrants
Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 31 December 2013

The "integrity" of Britain's benefits system is being threatened by European Union rules allowing immigrants to come and live and work unrestricted in the UK, Iain Duncan Smith has said.

With Britain opening its borders to Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants from tomorrow, Mr Duncan Smith said that toughened restrictions will ensure that foreigners are not allowed to "take advantage". ...

Mr Duncan Smith said: "The British public are rightly concerned that migrants should contribute to this country, and not be drawn here by the attractiveness of our benefits system.

"That is why, as part of the Government's long-term economic plan, we have taken action. New rules are now in place to ensure we have a fair system - one which provides support for genuine workers and jobseekers, but does not allow people to come to our country and take advantage.

"I know that other countries across Europe share our concerns, so we'll continue to work with them to ensure we can protect the integrity of our benefits system."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Benefits migrants will rush to Britain to be £13,000 better off
Alison Little
Daily Express, 31 December 2013

Britain is facing a flood of migrants who live in other EU states because our benefits are "difficult to resist", experts are warning.

Two million Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who already live abroad could raise their income by £13,800 a year by coming to this country.

The findings are at odds with Government predictions that there will be no stampede of Bulgarians and Romanians because other EU countries must also lift border controls at midnight tonight.

MigrationWatch UK said its analysis of European incomes supported its forecast that 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians a year will come here. They include "some of the two million Romanian and Bulgarian migrants in Spain and Italy who may find the lure of Britain difficult to resist".

While the Government has acted to stop new immigrants claiming unemployment benefit, payments like tax credits meant Britain remained the "most lucrative" destination.

A single Romanian or Bulgarian on half the average wage could earn nearly five times more in Britain compared to four times more in France and Germany. A married worker with two children would be three times better off in Spain or Italy – but six times richer here.

MigrationWatch said taking tax, welfare and other living costs into account, they would have a "spending power" of £25,227 in Britain – compared to £13,715 in Italy and just £11,419 in Spain.

Germany, France and Holland were "financially attractive". But the English language might be an added incentive.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Migrants can see GPs for free, despite promise of crackdown
Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 30 December 2013

Migrants will be allowed to see GPs for free in an about-turn by ministers days before Britain's borders are opened fully to Romanians and Bulgarians.

The government will today set out further details about new restrictions on access to the NHS for migrants but doctors surgeries will be excluded from the crackdown.

Earlier this year ministers suggested migrants from outside the European Union visiting GPs should pay a fee and surgeries would be given a new obligation to check whether patients were genuine British residents.

However, ministers will say today this plan has now been dropped and new patients will not be charged to go to a GP. ...

Under the measures announced today GP and nurse consultations will remain free while other primary care services such as prescriptions, dentistry, eye appointments as well as treatment in NHS hospitals will be charged for migrants.

Other types of primary care services such as minor surgery that is carried out by a GP and physiotherapy that has been referred through a GP could also be charged. ...

The reforms are part of a concerted attempt by ministers to stop migrants coming to the UK to take advantage of free treatment on the NHS.

Ministers want to charge for access to the NHS services to crack down on the "pull" factors that attract migrants to Britain's shores and claw back £500million of the £2billion lost every year to health tourism. ...

Full details of the reforms will be set out in March. ... ...

The Department of Health said it was a "public health issue" to give free access to GPs for migrants, so that people with contagious diseases were not deterred from receiving an initial diagnosis.

Sources said the idea of charging for access to a GP was only ever proposed in a consultation in the summer.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health tourism
The 300 'maternity tourists'
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 29 December 2013

Hundreds of pregnant foreigners are flying to Britain just days before they give birth to receive free care on the NHS.

A government report found that immigration officials at one airport stopped more than 300 such mothers-to-be over two years.

Most of the women had to be admitted and allowed to give birth on the NHS, the report found, because their pregnancies were too advanced for them to fly home.

Airlines typically do not carry women more than 36 weeks pregnant. However, the women boarded flights in their home countries with forged doctors' notes concealing the length of their pregnancies.

The disclosure will heighten growing fears over "health tourism", which sees foreigners coming to Britain for free NHS care.

The problem of "maternity tourism" has become so acute that staff at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust, in London, refer to the flow of West African women flying in to give birth as the "Lagos Shuttle".

The Government says health tourism costs the NHS as much as £80 million a year – enough to pay for about 2,000 nurses.

However, estimates seen by The Telegraph suggest the true figure may be far higher. Guy's and St Thomas' alone may be losing more than £5 million a year.

The disclosures come as ministers unveil a range of measures tomorrow to tackle the problem. ...

The disclosures about "maternity tourists" emerged from a previously unpublicised consultation document, prepared in 2010, on plans to refuse entry to foreigners with unpaid NHS bills.

The report found that over a two-year period, immigration officials at Gatwick stopped more than 300 expectant foreigners found to be in an "advanced stage of pregnancy [and] who evidently intend[ed] to access NHS maternity services".

Gatwick has few flights from the countries producing the most health tourists, suggesting the total British figure will be far higher.

Another unpublicised report, Visitor and Migrant Use of the NHS in England: Observations from the Front Line, published this autumn, quotes extensively from staff frustrated at what they see as visitors playing the system.

"Sometimes they will come back for their second or third baby," an immigration officer said. "Sometimes they will quite blatantly say, 'I'm coming because the care is better.' And once they are here, if they are assessed to a certain gestation, then we are stuck."

An NHS overseas visitor officer said: "People coming into hospital from overseas know the rules better than the hospital staff." Another said: "They lie through their teeth."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – populism
Beware this populism sweeping across Europe
The Observer, 29 December 2013
[Leading article]

One example of how populism has reframed the debate is illustrated by how UK politicians from all three major parties address immigration. Immigration is only discussed as a problem. Numbers obviously matter, but in the context of a significant skills shortage and ageing population, the more responsible approach has to be: "What rate of immigration is necessary to meet employment demands and rebalance the ratio of young earners to dependent pensioners?" According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, immigrants work hard and pay more taxes than they claim in benefits. ...

How often do we hear mainstream politicians making a case for the positive impact of immigration? How often do we hear them standing up for – and welcoming – hard-working people who will add to the economy? How often do we hear mainstream politicians praising Britain's multicultural mosaic as something that enriches our life and country in innumerable ways? It's OK, it seems, to embrace this diversity at the time of the Olympics – step forward Mo Farah and Christine Ohuruogu – but when the ballot box looms, most of our political class betrays a narrow-minded cowardice. If populism rises on their watch, and they have remained silent, then Europe will have been failed by a gutless political class unable or unwilling to find a voice. Serious politicians need to engage in the debate or watch the rise of a potentially dangerous and hugely divisive strain of populism.

Key to this will be addressing the issue of diversity and countering the populist parties' rhetoric. Diversity, for instance, means recognising that Muslims make up 8% of the population in France, 5% in Germany and 3% in Britain. Diversity also presents challenges: for example, in the name of multiculturalism and respect for other people's beliefs and custom, are host communities prevented from exercising their own freedom to live as they choose? ...

Populism feeds on social discontent and stokes the temptation to turn on "the other" as scapegoat for all ills. Mainstream politicians have a duty not to fan hostility but to address real concerns and fight harder to re-engage what the postwar populist Pierre Poujade called "the ripped-off, lied-to, little people", the backbone of democracy.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – economy
UK immigration policy seen as threat to growth
Helen Warrell
Financial Times, 23 December 2013

UK immigration policy has become a "nightmare" for businesses and is choking growth while providing zero political gain for ministers, according to a report.

The analysis, by the Liberal Democrat-aligned CentreForum think-tank, suggests that the government should scrap its policy of reducing net migration to "the tens of thousands", because the target is impossible to fulfil and makes it harder for businesses to employ the most skilled migrants. ...

Tom Papworth, the report's author and CentreForum's associate director for economic policy, said the government's immigration policy was "at odds with its ambition to grow the economy, create jobs and shrink the deficit". ...

Separately, new analysis from another think-tank, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research suggests that the long-term impact of the Tories' net migration policy would be to reduce gross domestic product per capita significantly and to erode the public finances. While gross wages would increase slightly, as a result of the shrinking of the workforce, the resulting increase in taxes to make up for lost receipts would mean that post-tax wages actually fall.

According to Niesr researchers, a reduction in net migration to 100,000 would cause an 11 per cent fall in overall GDP over the next five decades. By 2060, GDP per head would also be 2.7 per cent lower compared with where it would be without this migration cut.

The study also suggests a negative impact on public finances resulting from lower tax revenues, calculating that income taxes would have to increase by 2.2 percentage points to balance the budget. The effect of this would be a 3.3 per cent lower net wage by 2060.

"The message for government is that if the Conservative party is successful in achieving its policy, then the result will be higher taxes and reduced living standards for the average person," Jonathan Portes, Niesr's director, told the Financial Times.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, UK citizens
Expat Britons hit by benefit curbs aimed at Romanians and Bulgarians
Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 19 December 2013

Britons who go to work overseas for a few months and then come home will be hit by new restrictions on access to benefits.

New plans to try to dissuade Romanians and Bulgarians from moving to the UK when immigration restrictions are lifted at the end of this month will apply to Britons returning to the UK to find work after three months away from home.

The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that a new tougher habitual residence test will apply to Britons who have been outside the UK for 13 weeks. This is because the Government is unable to discriminate between EU citizens.

The DWP said that returning Britons will have to live in the UK and then answer a "bank" of 200 questions – twice as many as before – to qualify for work-related benefits.

They will also have to disclose details of properties their own in the UK and where their children are at school as part of the toughened test.

If the returning Britons cannot answer the questions they will be denied access to work related benefits including Job Seekers' Allowance and income support.

MPs on the House of Commons home affairs select committee said the situation seemed unfair to people who had paid their taxes in the UK. ...

The new measures are being rushed through Parliament to ensure that they are in force by January 1, when transition controls are lifted and unlimited numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians can come to Britain.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Tories rush through curbs on benefits access for Romanians and Bulgarians
Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 18 December 2013

David Cameron is rushing through a block on European Union migrants' access to benefits from 1 January, the politically fraught date when the remaining work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians will be lifted in the UK.

From New Year's Day all jobseekers from the EU will have to wait for three months from their arrival in the UK before they can apply to claim any out of work benefits, Downing Street announced.

The scrambled clampdown betrays the extreme nervousness in Downing Street at the possible reaction of potential Tory voters – and increasingly restive Tory backbenchers – if the public decide ministers have failed to take every measure possible to prevent Romanians and Bulgarians travelling to Britain en masse.

David Cameron said he believed the restrictions would "make the UK a less attractive place for EU migrants who want to come here and try to live off the state". ...

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, accused the government of making last-minute changes because it was on the run. She said: "Labour called for these benefit restrictions nine months ago. Yet David Cameron has left it until the very last minute to squeeze this change in.

"Why is the government leaving everything until the last minute and operating in such a chaotic way? Three weeks ago Theresa May told parliament she couldn't restrict benefits in time, now the prime minister says they can."

Nearly 80 Tory backbenchers, including some of its leading lawyers, are backing calls for the UK to defy the EU and retain the tough labour market restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians for a further five years.

The rebels welcomed Cameron's speeding up of the denial of jobseeker's allowance, but said the lure of Britain for Romanians and Bulgarians was probably highly paid work, and not benefits. ...

Polls this week show 40% of voters believe 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will come to the UK in 2014. ... ...

Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, this week supported the tightening of benefits to EU migrants by saying: "It is impossible to defend the core freedom to move from one EU state to another to look for work, unless the public is satisfied this is not the same as a freedom to claim benefit.". ...

The Border Agency will also be empowered from 1 January to debar EU migrants from returning to the UK for 12 months if they have been deported for begging, or not being self-sufficient.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
European Commission warns UK over EU benefit ban
ITV, 18 December 2013

The European Commission warned that it will be checking the legality of the Government's rules on how long EU jobseekers must wait to claim benefits.

"For the moment it is too early to say whether the new rules are compliant," said Jonathan Todd, spokesman for EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor, who is currently embroiled in a war of words with David Cameron over imminent unrestricted Romanian and Bulgarian immigration to the UK.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
EU in court threat over English tests for migrants: Brussels warned Britain over 'xenophobic' plans
Jason Groves and Eleanor Harding
Daily Mail, 14 December 2013

Brussels last night warned it would take Britain to court over 'xenophobic' plans to impose English tests on migrants before they can claim benefits.

The plan to require migrants to demonstrate a 'reasonable standard of English' was outlined by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith this week.

But Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, told David Cameron to drop proposals to tighten the so-called 'habitual residency tests' or face legal action.

The Hungarian official, who branded Britain a 'nasty country' last month, said the EU already had 'clear rules' on residency and 'the UK should apply it, like other states'.

He added: 'The European Commission has already decided to refer UK to EU Court. We will look at the latest measures and act again if necessary.'

Mr Andor also warned ministers against undermining the EU by raising concerns about immigration, saying: 'Responsible politicians should avoid legitimising xenophobic reactions that indeed weaken the European spirit.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Unite union
Romanians and Bulgarians taught how to claim UK benefits in return for joining union
Jason Groves
Daily Mail, 14 December 2013

The Unite union is offering to teach unemployed Romanians and Bulgarians how to claim benefits in Britain.

The organisation, Labour's biggest donor, is courting foreigners from the two countries as part of a membership drive.

It offers the advice as a reward for signing up to the union.

It has even issued membership forms in Romanian and Bulgarian, despite the Government – and Labour – saying immigrants should learn English.

The unemployed are offered the chance to join the union for just 50p a week. In return, Unite says it will offer new arrivals with advice on how to maximise benefit claims. ...

In recent years Unite, led by Len McCluskey, has directly targeted immigrant workers in a bid to swell its membership – and coffers.

In 2011 its political officer Clare Moody met with Alexandru Petrescu and Ciprian Bolos, the UK representatives of Romania's Social Democratic Party, in a bid to urge migrant workers to join the British union.

The union now issues its membership forms in a range of foreign languages, including those of countries whose workers do not have an automatic right to work in this country, such as Ukraine, Turkey and China.

The forms include details of its controversial 'community' branch, which is aimed at the unemployed.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Migrants from poorer countries could be banned from Britain to curb benefits tourism
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 13 December 2013

Workers from poor parts of Europe should be banned from moving to Britain until their home country's economy has improved, David Cameron suggested today.

The Prime Minister said tougher restrictions will be needed in future to stop an influx of migrants flocking to the UK in search of work and higher earnings.

The radical idea emerged as Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan defied the EU to declare that benefit tourism 'will not be allowed on my watch'.

The government has vowed to tackle the 'pull factors' including access to benefits which it claims attract migrants to Britain. ...

'It's only when you have a real imbalance when you have a poor country and a much wealthier country that you get these vast movements.

'Perhaps saying until your economy, until your wealth is similar to our wealth you can't have unrestricted movement.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Migrants quizzed on English skills before benefits
BBC, 13 December 2013

Immigrants to the UK are being tested on their English skills before being able to claim income-related benefits under a new scheme.

People are being asked what efforts they have made to find work before coming to Britain.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said people should not be able to "take advantage" of British benefits.

Labour supports English tests but says ministers are ignoring the exploitation of low-skilled migrant workers.

UKIP spokesman dismissed the move as "gesture politics" and said "a far more effective filter, if we had control of our borders, would be to have migrants learn English before they come to the UK," something, he added, that would be illegal under EU law.

Job centres in England, Scotland and Wales began using the "more robust" language tests on Monday and they are being rolled out to all centres.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said the test would ensure "only migrants who have a legal right to be in Britain and plan to contribute to this country can make a claim for benefits".

"For the first time, migrants will be quizzed about what efforts they have made to find work before coming to the UK and whether their English language skills will be a barrier to them finding employment," the DWP said in a statement.

DWP sources said the tests apply to everyone whether they are a migrant or not.

The language element, in the context of migrants, "will be taken along with all the applicant's other answers and evidence to assess their links to the country and their chances of getting a job," the source added. ...

Labour's shadow welfare minister Chris Bryant said: "For generations, people have come to this country and worked hard to contribute to Britain, but the principle of contribution is an important one, and the controls on immigration must be fair to those who live here.

"That is why Labour called for stronger restrictions on benefits for new arrivals from the EU, including proposals eight months ago to strengthen the habitual residence test to make it clear that people should not be able to claim benefits when they first arrive."

He accused ministers of "still doing nothing to tackle the serious problem of low-skilled migrant workers being exploited, undercutting local workers and responsible businesses too".
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – government report, EU
Government delays EU immigration report because it is too positive
Kunal Dutta
The Independent, 10 December 2013

A review into the impact of EU migration on Britain has been delayed because the Government feared it was too positive.

The latest part of Whitehall's Balance of Competences study, which looked specifically at freedom of movement, had been due to be released yesterday. But, according to reports, it has now been shelved until next year because Theresa May, the Home Secretary, takes issues with its findings.

Amid concerns that much of the evidence submitted was broadly positive about current rules for freedom of movement, The Times suggests Ms May believes the study underestimates the problem of people coming to Britain to take advantage of the welfare state, which is central to the Government's rhetoric about cracking down on migrants. Mrs May believes that the EU free movement rules make it too easy for European migrants to come to Britain to establish residence and benefits entitlements.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – cost of immigrants
Migrants cost up to £8k each in NHS care, schools and welfare
Tim Ross
Sunday Telegraph, 8 December 2013

Each immigrant costs the taxpayer up to £8,350 a year in healthcare, education and benefits bills, according to official government figures.

Home Office analysis shows that imposing a £200 annual NHS charge on immigrants from outside Europe when they enter the country would deter thousands from travelling to Britain in the first place.

This will result in British residents gaining up to 1,000 jobs a year which would otherwise have been taken by foreign workers, the Home Office said.

The deterrent effect of the health levy is also expected to save the state up to £60 million a year in public services, such as schools, medical care, and welfare spending which would no longer be needed.

The estimates emerged in a report on the government's Immigration Bill, which has been produced in an attempt to stop migrants travelling to Britain to take advantage of free healthcare, education and a generous benefits system. ...

For students the levy will be £150 per year and for other immigrants it will be £200. ...

The health levy is expected to save the state as much as £60 million a year in public services which would no longer be required due to lower levels of immigration. ...

The projected savings are based on a new estimate of the costs of providing public services to migrants.

On average, each migrant consumes between £5,050 and £8,350 per year in state services, including benefits, healthcare, schooling and social services, the Home Office report found.

The government's "central estimate" of the costs, between the highest and lowest figures, is for each migrant to consume £6,700 a year in public services. ...

Frank Field, the Labour MP and a government adviser on poverty, said the public would be "gobsmacked" by the figures.

"Every government estimate on the numbers and costs of immigration have turned out to be gross underestimates. One can only imagine what those figures really are," he said.

"I think people will be gobsmacked. What treatments are people coming over here to have? The results are stunning."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU, welfare benefits
UK welfare system 'courts abuse of EU free movement'
James Fontanella-Khan and Helen Warrell
Financial Times, 6 December 2013

Britain's welfare system is too generous and is to blame for attracting a growing number of migrant workers from poorer EU nations, the EU's justice commissioner said as Brussels pushed back against a UK campaign to restrict the free movement of the bloc's citizens.

Viviane Reding said on Thursday that it was up to the UK to tighten up its own benefits rules, arguing that EU laws granted London ample space to take action to stop welfare fraud committed by foreign nationals.

"It seems that some national systems are too generous," said Ms Reding at a meeting of EU home ministers in Brussels. "Don't blame the [European] Commission or EU rules for national choices and national regulatory systems."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – economy
Why we face 50 years of austerity (and slashing immigration could make things much worse)
Matthew Holehouse
Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2013

Only in 2018 is the debt mountain expected to start falling, after peaking at 85% of GDP. And the Office for Budget Responsibility, our spending watchdog, says this is just the beginning of decades of austerity. ...

Britain's economy is going to need millions more young, fit, tax-paying migrants in order to off-set the ageing population, the OBR believes - contradicting the Coalition's bid to get new entries into the tens of thousands.

With a total freeze on migration, the economy is forecast to grow at 1.9 per cent a year on average for the next fifty years – below the trend of 2.2 per cent. As a result, debt could reach 175 per cent of GDP. But with high migration – 240,000 new migrants a year – growth will rise sharply to 2.7 per cent, and the public debt will be much lower. But will any politician dare call for more immigration?
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing benefits, London
One third claiming cash aid for homelessness are from abroad
Joseph Watts
Evening Standard (London), 2 December 2013

Almost a third of people receiving homelessness support in London are foreign nationals, figures reveal today.

Among the 15,450 the London boroughs help are 4,490 from overseas, with hundreds coming from Europe. The estimated cost the councils bear is between £25 million and £35 million a year. ...

Government figures show that of the 4,490 foreign nationals receiving help in London at least 1,120 are from the European Economic Area, with the number likely to be higher.

Officials said spending on each individual could range from between £5,600 and £7,900 depending on their needs, including the provision of temporary accommodation.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU, benefits for those with jobs
Niceness is the UK's real problem, not nastiness
Janet Daley
Sunday Telegraph, 1 December 2013

Thirty days and counting until the influx that the Government dreads either does or does not materialise. The massed Romanians and Bulgarians, who may or may not be waiting for the magic date, present a terrifying political prospect not just to the Conservatives but to Labour as well, who tend to be blamed retrospectively for unlimited immigration even when they are out of office. ...

So, rather late in the day, David Cameron has panicked or, depending on your point of view, done what he should have done a long time ago. He has begun to agitate for a re-think on the EU policy of free movement of peoples between member states. This rule (or "fundamental principle" as they say in Brussels) was part of the original deal when the European project was conceived. Back then, it was fairly uncontroversial: the founding members were all Western countries whose economies were roughly comparable. ...

Then, in came the Eastern accession members whose post-war economic history was wildly unlike that of the West, and who blew apart the whole premise on which the unrestricted movement of labour, and interchangeable economic rights, was based. These countries were systemically, catastrophically poor. ...

Which is where the second prong of Mr Cameron's belated reaction comes in: getting the EU to agree to renege on the guaranteed free movement of labour is going to be a long haul at best. So in the interest of immediate results, the Prime Minister proposes to restrict the right of new migrants to our benefits system. Because the peculiarly generous UK welfare state does not require claimants to have contributed to the system, we have an attraction which most other European states do not, thus making us the destination of choice.

In other words, the problem is not just free movement: it's free money. This analysis is almost certainly correct, and its truth has little to do with the contentious question of whether foreigners come here to "scrounge". The fact that most Eastern Europeans come to find jobs – and tend to be exceptionally hard-working when they get them – misses the point. All those offended spokesmen for their migrant communities who insist that nobody they know has arrived here and sped directly to the benefits office, may (very largely) be speaking truthfully. But this ignores the issue of in-work benefits: tax credits, housing benefit and child benefit which, as we now know, is being paid to children still living back in the migrant's homeland at a much higher rate than their own country would offer. So when Mr Cameron asserts that "moving (here) to get a job" is a very different thing from "moving to get benefits", he is actually quite wrong. Our welfare system does not pay out only to the jobless or the destitute: it supplements the earnings of people on low and middle-incomes, and offers benefits to their dependants too – even if they live in another country. Then add to that unlimited health care absolutely free at the point of use. All in all, it's a pretty irresistible package.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – politics
When will Britain learn? Immigration from the EU is enormously beneficial to our economy
Vicky Pryce
The Independent, 29 November 2013

The Government's last-minute reaction to the prospect of Bulgarians and Romanians being able to work freely in the UK from 1 January has once again revealed its lack of strategic direction. After all, the date when the transitional arrangements for these countries comes to an end has been known for the past seven years.

Clearly all this talk of wanting to change the benefit system for new arrivals and reduce access to the UK labour market for EU citizens is a clear admission of what economists have been saying for some time. The Government's pledge to reduce net immigration was bound to fail since, as things stand, one cannot control the movement of people from the rest of the EU.

What does not make sense economically is that Labour too is fanning the flames of anti-European prejudice by saying repeatedly it was a mistake not to impose transitional arrangements as other EU countries did on the first eight Eastern European countries to join the EU in 2004. It's true that the number of Poles and others who entered the UK was vastly underestimated, but it was unquestionably good for the UK economy to have the increase in skilled and unskilled labour. Until the crash of 2008, the UK grew faster than its EU partners thanks to allowing a vigorous new labour force into Britain. ...

It is also wrong to accuse EU workers of benefit-scrounging. A recent paper for the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration argued that over the past decade, we have seen a net fiscal benefit from immigrants from European Economic Area countries. These workers are calculated to have paid more in taxes and contributions than they received in benefits and transfers.

Nor does it make sense to blame the foreigners for our current housing shortage. Britain long ago gave up state predictive planning. Even without EU workers, there would have been a major shortage of affordable housing for British citizens.

What about the NHS? Far from abusing the health service, many Eastern European men and women now work for the NHS (or in care homes), and the Conservative and Labour critics of EU workers need to ask what other sources there are to look after our ageing society. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility has calculated that migration contributes positively to the sustainability of public finances, and without net migration of at least 140,000 a year, long-term public debt levels would rocket under the pressure to finance long-term social needs. ...

Let's also not forget that 2.2 million British people live and work on the Continent, and we should be careful before we hang a notice on Britain's front door saying "No more Europeans wanted". Unlike 2004, all 26 EU member states in 2014 will open up labour-market access to Bulgarians and Romanians, and these new workers will spread themselves around, with Germany and Austria other likely destinations.

The UK has always been in favour of enlargement, which does it credit. But being seen as a "nasty" country deters investment and growth. The current fear of the foreigner is British politics at its worst. It contributes to a growing populism which obscures the real economic benefits to the UK of being part of the single European market.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – student loans, education
Student loans: thousands of Europeans 'failing to repay debts'
Graeme Paton
Daily Telegraph, 28 November 2013

Almost half of students from mainland Europe may be failing to repay taxpayer-backed loans amid warnings of a £5 billion black hole in the public finances.

A report by the National Audit Office found that around 18,000 students from EU member states who took out Government loans for English university courses are in arrears or failing to provide earnings information.

It represents around 40 per cent of the total number of EU students who are eligible for repayments after being given taxpayer funding for degree courses.

In all, European students are believed to be three times more likely to be avoiding repayments than those from Britain – partly because cash cannot be collected through the tax system in foreign countries.

The disclosure came as it emerged that a total of 417,000 students have borrowed money but are failing to make repayments. In most cases, the Government does not hold enough information about them.

Collectively, around £5.7bn of public money is unaccounted for in the English student loans system, figures show. ...

According to the NAO report, 42,000 EU graduates are eligible to make repayments, but 18,000 are failing to do so.

Of those, 7,000 are formally "in arrears" and living abroad, while 11,000 remain in the UK without providing earnings information. Some of the 11,000 may be under the repayment threshold or not in work but no details exist about them.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – economy, happiness
Halt the recovery, we're as happy as we're going to get
Steve Hawkes
Daily Telegraph, 28 November 2013

Forget sharing the proceeds of growth. Britons are not going to get any happier than they are right now – earning an average of £22,000 a year, according to a scientific study.

Rather than rising as a country becomes more wealthy, general levels of happiness peak below the GDP of the richest nations, Dr Eugenio Proto, an associate professor of economics at the University of Warwick, found. ... ...

While those in the poorest countries were least happy, life satisfaction peaked when average income reached $36,000, or £22,114. Britain's GDP per person is at £22,244, almost exactly the ideal level, after the economy grew by 0.8 per cent between July and September.

Dr Proto said: "Many policymakers, including in the UK, are interested in official measures of national well-being. Our new analysis has one very surprising finding which has not been reported before – that life satisfaction appears to dip beyond a certain level of wealth."
[Newspaper link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, EU
Cameron curbs welfare benefits for EU migrants
Andrew Osborn
Reuters, 27 November 2013

Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday promised to make it harder for migrants from the European Union to access Britain's welfare system and pledged to try to restrict the freedom of movement of people from poorer EU states in time. ...

"The EU of today is very different from the EU of 30 years ago," Cameron said in an article in the Financial Times.

"We need to face the fact that free movement has become a trigger for vast population movements caused by huge disparities in income. That is extracting talent out of countries that need to retain their best people and placing pressure on communities."

Cameron said he planned to change British law so that new EU migrants would have to wait three months before they could access unemployment benefits, saying he shared deep public concerns about a possible influx of new migrants.

Newcomers would not be eligible for housing benefits and would lose the right to unemployment benefits after six months unless they could prove they had a realistic chance of finding a job.

He said he also planned to try to renegotiate the way EU freedom of movement rules are applied to make it harder for people from poorer countries in the 28-nation bloc to relocate to richer countries in time.

That, he said, could involve capping the annual number of EU migrants or withholding full freedom of movement rights until a country achieved a certain gross domestic product per head.

"Britain, as part of our plan to reform the EU, will now work with others to return the concept of free movement to a more sensible basis," he wrote.

"We must put in place new arrangements that will slow full access to each other's labour markets until we can be sure it will not cause vast migrations."

The previous Labour government waived transitional controls for migrants from new EU members states, something Cameron called a "monumental mistake" which meant 1 million people from central and Eastern Europe were now living in Britain.

Laszlo Andor, the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, said the kind of "unilateral rhetoric" Cameron was indulging in on immigration was unhelpful.

"This is an unfortunate over-reaction. We would need a more accurate presentation of the reality, not under such hysteria which sometimes happens in the UK," he told BBC radio.

"Unilateral rhetoric ... is not really helpful. It risks presenting the UK as a kind of nasty country. We have to look into the situation collectively and act proportionately."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, EU
EU migrants: David Cameron sets out more benefit restrictions
Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 27 November 2013

David Cameron made a fresh effort to assuage public concern about a wave of migration from Bulgaria and Romania on Tuesday when he announced a series of benefit restrictions on all EU migrant workers, including a ban on access to housing benefit for all new arrivals and a three-month ban before jobseeker's allowance can be claimed.

Saying he shared the deep concerns of many in Britain at the EU's requirement to lift transitional controls on Romanians and Bulgarians in January, he blamed "monumental" mishandling of the issue by the previous Labour government.

The package of restrictions announced late Tuesday was backed by the Tories' coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, as sensible and reasonable. ...

In the package, Cameron announced:

• No newly arrived EU jobseekers will be able to claim housing benefit.

• No EU migrant will be entitled to out-of-work benefits for the first three months. In line with a previous announcement, no EU migrant from January will be able to claim jobseeker's allowance (JSA) for more than a maximum of six months unless they can prove that they have a genuine prospect of employment.

• A new minimum earnings threshold will be introduced before benefits such as income support can be claimed.

• Any EU national sleeping rough or begging will be deported and barred from re-entry for 12 months "unless they can prove they have a proper reason to be here, such as a job".

He also announced a fourfold increase in the fine for employers failing to pay the minimum wage, to £20,000, although critics have claimed the problem lies in lack of enforcement rather than the level of the fine. ...

Downing Street is confident that its own package of restrictions announced Tuesday does not fall foul of EU law, a view supported by the pro-European Nick Clegg. ... ...

Cameron also said he would like to like the EU to tackle long term how it prevented "fresh surges of immigration in future when countries join the EU". The big concern is Turkey.

He said: "One would be to require a new country to reach a certain share of average EU GDP per head before full free movement was allowed. Individual member states could be freed to impose a cap if their inflow from the EU reached a certain number in a single year," he said.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – economy
Labour and the Lib Dems fail to challenge the myth of "benefit tourism"
George Eaton
New Statesman, 27 November 2013

If you're looking for a liberal critique of David Cameron's plan to crack down on "benefit tourism" by restricting payments to new migrants, don't look to any of the main parties. The Lib Dems have welcomed the proposals as "sensible and reasonable", while Labour is busy arguing that it came up with the idea first. Yvette Cooper said this morning: "After Labour proposed this change in March, the government said it was all fine and nothing needed to change. Yet now, rather than following a coherent plan, they are flailing around." Neither party challenged the premise on which Cameron's intervention was based.

With the other main voice in the debate, Nigel Farage, complaining that the UK is "still being far too generous", it was left to EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor to provide a dose of reality. As he told the Today programme, "The point is that the British public has not been told all the truth." The truth being that "benefit tourism" is almost entirely a myth. As a recent EU study noted, "the majority of mobile EU citizens move to another Member State to work" and benefit tourism is neither "widespread nor systematic". Another truth rarely mentioned by any party is that migrants contribute far more in taxes than they receive in benefits and services, and benefit the economy as a result. ...

It's for these reasons, among others, that, as the Office for Budget Responsibility has shown, we will need more, not fewer immigrants, if we are to cope with the challenge of an ageing population and the resultant increase in the national debt. Should Britain maintain net migration of around 140,000 a year (a level significantly higher than the government's target of 'tens of thousands'), debt will rise to 99 per cent of GDP by 2062-63. But should it reduce net migration to zero, debt will surge to 174 per cent. ...

One might expect a fiscal conservative like Cameron to act on such advice but, as so often in recent times, the PM is determined to put politics before policy. By refusing to challenge the terms on which the debate is conducted, Labour and the Lib Dems are doing the same.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – benefit claimants
(No title)
Patryk Malinski
Daily Telegraph, 26 November 2013
[Letter to the Editor]

SIR – There is a need for a proper debate on the immigration issue; but in order to have a proper debate, facts must be established in the first place.

Out of the estimated 7.2 million foreigners living in Britain, only 2.3 million are from the European Union. When we look at foreign benefit claimants, 66 per cent come from Asia, 24 per cent from Africa and only 16 per cent from the European Union.

Any debate should be based on these facts, as they clearly show that the EU's freedom of movement law is not the main source of immigration.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – politics, EU
Cabinet split over restricting migrant benefits
Matthew Holehouse
Daily Telegraph, 24 November 2013

David Cameron faces opposition from within his Cabinet over plans to impose new restrictions on benefits to migrants.

The Cabinet is split over restricting benefits to migrants.

David Cameron is considering dramatically increasing the length of time new arrivals have to stay in Britain before qualifying for welfare, ahead of the relaxation of border controls on people from Romania and Bulgaria in the new year.

One option being studied by the Prime Minister includes restricting benefits to migrants who have been in Britain for more than a year, four times the current requirement.

The move risks triggering a protracted legal row with the European Commission, which bans members states from discriminating between their own citizens and people from other member states.

Mr Cameron faces opposition from within the Cabinet over the plans, it emerged this morning. ... ...

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, indicated Labour would support new restrictions on migrant benefits and said the Government should have acted earlier.

"I do think when people are coming to this country they should be contributing and so we have already said there are changes you could make to Jobseekers' Allowance so people can't come and claim Jobseekers' Allowance straight away," she said.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – politics, EU
Cameron prepares for showdown with Europe over benefits for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants
Mia De Graaf
Daily Mail, 24 November 2013

David Cameron is set to defy European rules by announcing a severe new set of obstacles for immigrants as Britain's Romanian and Bulgarian communities rapidly multiply. ...

People wishing to enter Britain will have to prove they have lived here for a year, up from three months, before they can receive benefits in one of the proposals expected to be unveiled.

Another policy would remove child benefits from the dependent children of migrant workers, sources claim.

The move is a dramatic step that goes against EU laws preventing member states from having one rule for their citizens requesting state hand-outs, and another for immigrants.

If he goes ahead with the proposals, there is little Europe could do to stop him for years. ...

At home, pressure is mounting as at least 33 backbench Tory MPs have so far signed a petition to stop Bulgarian and Romanian immigration altogether by 2018.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Cameron to clampdown on migrants' rights to benefits
Miranda Prynne
Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2013

David Cameron is to impose tougher constraints on migrants' access to benefits to discourage a flood of newcomers when Britain's borders are opened to Bulgaria and Romania next year.

The Prime Minister is attempting to respond to growing public pressure to limit immigration from the European Union, which came top of a wishlist of issues people want to see renegotiated with Brussels in a recent YouGov survey. ...

Mr Cameron has not yet given details of the specific powers he plans to try and wrestle back from Brussels before the promised 2017 referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

He has promised to clampdown on "welfare tourism" and is due to unveil more details proposals to limit EU migrants rights to benefits next week, senior government figures have claimed.

Britain faces opposition from the European Commission over plans to cut down on migrants' access to child benefit, child tax credit and elements of job-seekers allowance for their first year in the country.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Roma, Gypsies, Sheffield
You pay to teach migrants manners: Taxpayers foot bill for crazy council benefits guide
Paul Jeeves
Daily Express, 21 November 2013

A taxpayer-funded guide is asking Roma migrants to refrain from a list of shocking habits.

It says practices such as going to the toilet in the street, having sex in public, and spitting could 'upset your neighbours".

The information pack also asks migrants not to dump litter or hang out washing on a stranger's fence, while telling arrivals how best to claim benefits and interpreters for free.

It was produced by the city council in Sheffield where frightened residents in the suburb of Page Hall have spoken out about criminal and antisocial behaviour following an influx of Roma migrants.

The guide has infuriated opponents of uncontrolled immigration. Last night Ukip MEP Gerard Batten said: 'What kind of lunatic immigration policy do we have where we allow people to flood into this country and then have to tell them it's against the rules to defecate, urinate or have sex in the street?"

He added: "We have invited millions of people to come here that we neither need or want, and one of the first things we tell them is how they can claim benefits and assistance.

"Does Sheffield Council really think that the next wave of migrants have to be told how to use a toilet? If they really think this necessary then it should be protesting about them coming in the first place, not producing a booklet to make them feel welcome."

The guide produced by the Labour-run authority is currently in draft form.

... ...

Last night, Sheffield City Council confirmed the draft document had been created but insisted it would not now be published.

A spokeswoman said: "We have not released this document at all and it is not something which we ever agreed as a council to be used as a leaflet or otherwise."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – students, Romanians, Bulgarians
One in six college applicants is Romanian or Bulgarian: More than 5,000 apply for vocational courses with many entitled to up to £10,000 in grants and loans
Andrew Levy and Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 20 November 2013

Colleges have been hit with a surge in applications from Romanians and Bulgarians wanting taxpayer-funded loans and grants to study in this country.

More than 5,000 students from the two countries enrolled on vocational courses in England last year – accounting for a staggering one in six of all applicants – with many entitled to up to £10,000 in grants and loans.

Yesterday leaked documents exposed government concerns over 'weaknesses' in checks on applicants, prompting fears of potential mass fraud.

Ministers have now announced a freeze on new grants and revealed all applicants from the EU had been asked for extra evidence they were eligible for the cash.

One college – which officials have refused to name – has had all its funding stopped while an investigation is carried out.

Experts also raised fears that Romanian and Bulgarian students could make cash in hand at the expense of the taxpayer while studying for these courses, which officials admit have less stringent entrance criteria.

Currently students from the two countries are allowed to work limited hours in the UK but can avoid checks if they are self-employed or take black market jobs. But from January 1 they will have full rights to live and work here when EU controls expire.

Overall, numbers enrolling for higher national diplomas (HNDs) and certificates (HNCs) have more than doubled from 13,000 to 30,000 in only 12 months.

The rush of applications has left an £80 million blackhole in the finances of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for higher education.

Officials have written to all EU applicants asking for evidence of their eligibility. But nearly three quarters are yet to respond.

The applications surge has apparently caught officials unprepared, and half of colleges have been sent a letter this week telling them to cap student numbers.

HNDs are equivalent to two years' study on a university course and can be used to gain entry to a university in England and Wales. HNCs are equal to one year of study in higher education. ...

EU residents can apply for a loan of up to £6,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees. Those already living in the UK are also entitled to a maximum £3,400 maintenance loan for living costs.

Around four in ten students receiving financial support for the qualifications are from abroad, compared to just one in 20 in higher education generally.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Roma, Gypsies, Scotland
The great Roma home giveaway
Ben Borland
Sunday Express, 17 November 2013

Roma gypsies arriving in Scotland as EU citizens are set to benefit from a 'great homes giveaway' courtesy of the taxpayer, the Sunday Express can reveal.

Officials are considering a plan to move them out of the slums into newly renovated social housing alongside Scottish families with rents at "much below market prices".

Incredibly, migrants from eastern Europe may even be offered training and cash in order to construct their own self-build homes.

This is all despite the country facing a major housing shortage predicted to last 20 years, with thousands of young Scots unable to afford their own place to live.

Around 3,500 Roma migrants currently live in a few streets of ramshackle tenement blocks in Govanhill, in the south of Glasgow.

A new action plan prepared by city council officials states: "This number of Roma in Glasgow is likely to rise further as Romania's full accession to the EU in January 2014 approaches and Romanian and Bulgarian residents' rights align with other EU citizens."

The report - which the council insists is only a "draft", despite presenting it as a final document at a top level European conference - sets out dramatic measures to welcome new migrants after January 1.

They include the introduction of a project pioneered in Madrid, where Roma families were moved out of "slum accommodation" and into renovated homes across the city.

They were offered "subsidised rents, much below market price". Not surprisingly, the move created "conflicts between the re-housed former slum dwellers and their new neighbours".

In Glasgow, the council and several city housing associations hope to win public funding for the scheme from Brussels. ...

In addition, £1 million from the Scottish Government and a further £250,000 from the city council is to be spent on sprucing up the Govanhill ghetto.

Yesterday, Eben Wilson of Taxpayer Scotland said: "While we might want to be a society that looks after those who are not well off there have to be limits.

"One of those limits should be that people who have nothing to do with Scotland or Britain and have just arrived here should not be given immediate access to social housing.

"If you follow that course of action then more people will keep arriving and you will only generate more of a problem than you had when you started.

[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Roma, Gypsies
Smirking Roma migrants boast: We get FIVE TIMES more cash in Benefits Britain
Paul Jeeves
Daily Express, 16 November 2013

Roma migrants are revelling in Britain's generous benefits system by boasting they rake in £500 a week compared to just £104 a week at home, it was claimed last night.

Outraged residents in the Page Hall district of Sheffield say the authorities "bend over backwards" to provide Roma arrivals with an array of benefits ranging from free housing to food parcels.

But they claim the generosity is abused with many spending long hours in betting shops or paying girls for sex.

Gangs of men begin congregating outside the suburb's bookmakers as early as 9am and a steady procession fill the shop until late evening.

Outside, the men swig alcohol from soft drink bottles to get round street alcohol laws and locals say they frequently urinate in shop doorways or in people's gardens.

Others complain about the makeshift car repairs taking place in the street.

Shopkeepers near the betting shop are furious that the intimidating presence of the area's 4,000-strong Roma community drives their custom away.

One 33-year-old woman, a governor at a local school, said: "I watch day after day as men who don't work or make any effort to work spend my hard-earned taxes in that betting shop.

"Me and my husband have to work every hour to provide for our family; life is a struggle. They arrive and are instantly given houses to live in, clothing to wear and food along with money supposed to be for their families.

"Yet all I see is them pumping money into slot machines. It has to come from benefits because none of them work."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Roma, Gypsies
Slovakian Roma in Sheffield: 'This is a boiling pot ready to explode'
Helen Pidd
The Guardian, 16 November 2013

Page Hall in Sheffield has seen a huge influx of Slovakian Roma, who say they want to give their children the chance of a better future in the UK. But rubbish, noise and gangs of young people have put them on collision course with other residents ...

... Sheffield MP David Blunkett ... gave an interview this week in which he warned that tensions between local people and Slovakian Roma migrants in this part of his constituency could escalate into rioting unless action was taken to improve integration. ...

In an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield the former home secretary also accused the government of "burying their head in the sand" over the scale of Roma settlement in the UK and said the Roma community had to make more of an effort to fit in with British culture: "We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there's going to be an explosion otherwise. We all know that."

By the time the interview aired and had caught the attention of the national media, Blunkett was on a plane to India, his press secretary saying he was uncontactable for at least a fortnight. By Thursday Blunkett had come out of purdah to say he had never warned of riots. But the touchpaper had been lit. ...

On Friday Sheffield council decided to renew the current Section 30 order until 11 February 2014, given the tension in the area.

South Yorkshire police says it doesn't have crime figures available for Page Hall specifically, but that anecdotally crime does not appear to have increased significantly since large numbers of Slovakian Roma started to move in three years ago. "It's anti-social behaviour which is a problem rather than crime, really," said one of the officers on patrol.

Nobody knows for sure how many Roma people have come to Sheffield since Slovakia joined the EU in 2004. The council's best guess is that 1,500 eastern European Roma children now live in the city as a whole, with around 500 in the small Page Hall area. Miroslav Sandor, a Roma community worker in Page Hall, gives a much higher estimate. He thinks there may be 600-900 large families in the city, mostly concentrated in Page Hall. ...

In Page Hall rubbish fills the gutters, and stained mattresses and sofas are piled up in gardens. Sheets taped to windows as makeshift curtains fail to disguise 10 or more people piled up watching TV in tiny front rooms.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – ghettos
Flood of immigrants make 'township ghettos' out of Britain's seasides
James Murray
Sunday Express, 10 November 2013

Parts of Britain's once glorious seaside towns are becoming "third world township ghettoes" largely because of mass immigration and the Government must act now to stem the expected tide of poverty stricken Bulgarians and Romanians from January, a top council leader warned.

Tory Paul Carter, who leads Kent County Council, says the rising number of migrants in towns from Clacton in Essex, to Margate in Kent and Eastbourne in East Sussex is putting huge pressure on health and other public services. ...

The council is currently preparing a report which will call on David Cameron to demand a radical approach to the problem in towns such as Margate, where up to 3,000 Romas have set up homes in cheap low quality private housing or been given council flats.

Mr Carter revealed: "We will ask the government to stop the inward migration of vulnerable and troubled families out of London or abroad into these communities so we can start to lift them and reverse the trend of potentially building bigger ghettoes." ...

A council report estimated the potential influx of 10,000 Romanians and Bulgarians after restrictions are lifted in January would cost Kent another £3 million a year.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU immigrants
The economy is desperately in need of more productive young immigrants
David Blanchflower
The Independent on Sunday, 10 November 2013

Across the world there is a mobility or movers premium, because moving is costly and difficult. Plus the incumbent population benefits from lower prices often because the new arrivals do jobs that others don't want to do or at a lower price.

The UK has been fortunate enough to receive a large number of young, highly motivated and well qualified English speaking and mobile East Europeans (A10), especially Poles over the last decade, not least because we were the only major country that allowed them to come and work in 2004 when they joined the EU.

I have talked to colleagues in Germany who have argued that it was a big mistake for Germany to allow the UK to get all the good ones who would inevitably stay once they had visited even for short work spells. Now they can live and work anywhere in the EU, but more than 750,000 came to work permanently in the UK.

The numbers from the A8 employed in the UK has risen from 64,000 in 2004 to 683,000 now. At the same time the numbers from Bulgaria and Romania (the A2) have risen from 12,000 to 141,000 and may well rise further next year when restrictions are lifted. About half the total rise in employment since the beginning of 2004 is accounted for by these A10 workers, which made the UK economy more productive.

... Their employment rate – the proportion of the population aged 16 and over that is employed – is much higher than it is for UK nationals and especially so for the A8. ...

The flow of these highly productive young people, especially young men from Eastern Europe that a dynamic economy desperately needs, is unlikely to continue for long as the home countries are suffering from a demographic time bomb.

Across all the A10 countries the collapse of the birth rate when the Berlin Wall came down means that the number of young people is falling precipitously year by year. ...

There is little likelihood this flow will continue for long. In any case what drives migrant flows is differences in GDP per capita and given the lack of growth in the UK most other European countries such as Germany, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, look like more attractive places for migrants to go to – they have jobs available.

A new paper by Christian Dustmann, who is definitively the number one expert on migration in the UK, and his student, Tommaso Frattini*, examines the fiscal impact of immigration to the UK economy and found that European immigrants, the majority of whom have been from the A10, and found that those who arrived since 2000 have made especially large positive fiscal contributions, even during periods of budget deficits.

We are better off with them than without them. They conclude that "rather than being a drain on the UK's fiscal system – immigrants arriving since the early 2000s have made substantial net contributions to its public finances, a reality that contrasts starkly with the view often maintained in public debate. This conclusion is further supported by our evidence on the degree to which immigrants receive tax credits and benefits compared to natives. Recent immigrants are 45 per cent less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits". ...

*Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini, 'The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK', CREAM Discussion Paper #22/13, 2013
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – employment
Immigrants boost the economy says NIESR
Ben Chu
The Independent, 5 November 2013

Immigration to Britain has coincided with a boost to our national productivity, according to new research from a leading economic research organisation.

The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has found a "positive and significant" association between the increase in the employment of migrant workers between 1997 and 2007 and labour productivity growth in that decade.

NIESR said that a 1 per cent increase in the share of migrants over the decade had occurred alongside annual labour productivity growth of around 0.06 per cent to 0.07 per cent.

The report's authors say more research is needed to establish a causal link, but they suggest migrant workers have tended to fill skills gaps in the labour markets rather than crowding out British workers.

NIESR points out that migrant workers' skills level were, on average, higher than those of native-born Britons. The report, which included employer interviews and focus groups, also found migrants were generally welcomed by workforces, despite widespread negative reporting of immigration. ...

The report found that both employers and employees tended to think the benefits of immigration could outweigh any possible drawbacks. ...

Separate research, which is published today, shows that immigrants who have arrived since 2000 are less likely to receive benefits and are less likely to live in social housing than native Britons. The report, from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London, also found that migrants have made a positive contribution to the national finances.

It estimates that immigrants from the European Economic Area have, on average, contributed 34 per cent more in taxes than they received in welfare transfers. Over the same period the average total of native Britons' tax payments were 11 per cent lower than the transfers they received.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – taxes, benefits
How migrants from outside Europe leave a £100 billion hole in the public purse: Amount taken in benefits and services is 14% higher than money put back
Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 5 November 2013

Immigrants from outside Europe have taken £100 billion more in benefits and services than they paid back in taxes, a major study revealed yesterday.

Over a 16-year period, the bill to the taxpayer of providing them with welfare, health and education was 14 per cent higher than the money they put in the national purse.

However, migrants from Europe – including those from Eastern Europe who came in large numbers after 2004 – have paid more in taxes than they received, researchers said.

The report from academics at University College London claims to be the most far-reaching study yet conducted of the impact of migration on taxpayers.

Its findings were based on official figures, including those for public spending and tax receipts, and on the Government's Labour Force Survey that looks at the lives of around 150,000 families each year.

Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini said that between 1995 and 2011, migrants from European countries paid 4 per cent more into the tax system than they took out, while British-born people had on average paid in 7 per cent less than they received from the state.

However, migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) – which is the 27 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – had made a 'negative fiscal contribution' overall,' their report said.

'This is partly explained by their demographic structure – non-EEA immigrants have had more children than natives, and we have allocated educational expenditure for children to immigrants.' ...

UCL's report said the population of migrants from outside Europe grew by more than 2.2 million between 1995 and 2011, reaching just under 6.15 million in 2011.

It said that over the same period, the non-EEA immigrants received public services and benefits worth £104 billion more, at 2011 prices, than they paid in taxes.

Their contributions, the report said, paid just over 86 per cent of the value of the services and benefits they received.

Over the same period, the EEA migrant population went up from under two million to 2.85 million in 2011. But they contributed £8.8 billion more to the Treasury than they received in services and benefits, meaning they paid 4 per cent more than they took.

According to the data, migrants are 20 per cent more likely to be claiming work tax credit than Britons. One in seven people claiming the benefit is a non-UK national.

The report does not break down differences between migrants from wealthy western European countries like France and Germany and those from poorer Eastern European nations. ...

But Sir Andrew Green of the MigrationWatch UK think tank said: 'It is very interesting that this report finds that non-EU migrants since 1995 have made a negative contribution to the national budget, yet they have accounted for two thirds of foreign immigration over the past 15 years.

'As regards EU migrants, much of the benefit stems from their relative youth but, like the rest of us, they will get older. No allowance has been made in these calculations for future pensions or for higher health costs in old age.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – working tax credit
Revealed: one in seven people claiming working tax credit is a migrant
Douglas Carswell
Telegraph blog, 4 November 2013

Migrants, we keep being told, are much less likely to claim benefits than Brits.


"Oh, yes", insist the "'experts". UK nationals, they repeatedly tell us, are twice as likely to be claiming benefits as foreigners. Anyone who dares question this "fact", as I discovered the other week, gets howled down by supposed "experts" on Twitter.

Yet the assertion that migrants are much less likely to claim benefits than UK nationals turns out to be just that. An assertion. Far from being evidence-based, the evidence turns out to be remarkably flimsy.

To be clear, there is data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that suggests that twice as many Brits claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), and other out-of-work benefits, compared to non-UK nationals in proportion to the size of the population. But it is ridiculous to jump to the conclusion that Brits are therefore twice as likely to claim benefits as non-Brits.

The "experts" who make such claims have failed to look at all the evidence. Those who insist that migrants are less likely to claim benefits tend to draw their data from the Labour Force Survey, which relies on respondents reporting claims to benefits, rather than actual data on claims made.

New evidence produced by Michael O'Connor, not previously in the public domain, looks at in work benefits, and HMRC data. Michael has crunched the numbers and his data seems to show a strikingly different picture.

• Migrants are more likely to be claiming working tax credit than the rest of the population. Indeed, they are 20 percent more likely to be claiming working tax credit that the rest of the population.

• There are nearly half a million migrants claiming working tax credit in the UK.

• One in seven (14.5 percent) claiming working tax credit is a non-UK national.

• More than one in six (17.6 percent) claiming both working tax credit and child tax credit is a non-UK national.

• More migrants claim working tax credit than claim all of the main out-of-work benefits together.

Don't get me wrong. I have enormous admiration for individuals wanting to come to this country to make the best of their lives. Switzerland, a country with a far higher standard of living than ours, has a much higher number of migrant workers (one in five of the work force) than we do. From 13th-century Venice, to 17th-century Holland, to 21st-century London and California, those parts of the planet able to attract the brightest and the best, flourish.

But if we are to attract the brightest and the best – rather than relatively unskilled benefit migrants – we need to have an open and honest debate about the kind of immigration we currently have.

The claim that migrants are half as likely to claim benefits as UK nationals turns out to be a myth.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health tourism
Surgeon faced investigation for refusing to treat health tourist
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 3 November 2013

The surgeon who exposed the scandal of "health tourism" in the NHS spoke out after being investigated by the General Medical Council for refusing to give an ineligible health tourist free treatment.

The regulator subjected Prof Joseph Meirion Thomas, who has 44 years' experience in the health service, to a "fitness to practise investigation" after a complaint by the patient, a non-EU national who had never lived or worked in the UK.

Prof Meirion Thomas was cleared, but said that professional rules were one of many barriers to tackling the problem, claimed to cost the NHS up to £2 billion a year.

"If I recognise a patient as being ineligible, I am not allowed to declare that – because the minute that patient walks in to see me, I have a duty of confidentiality to that patient," he said.

"I cannot even tell my overseas visitor officer [a hospital official with the job of recovering money from non-NHS patients] that I am suspicious the patient is there illegally. The loopholes are phenomenal."

Prof Meirion Thomas, senior cancer surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said he believed that around 5 per cent of the patients he treated were health tourists who had come to Britain specifically for free treatment.

"One of the most awful things that happens to me is that I have to cancel surgery for a legitimate patient because of a health tourist who is ineligible for care," he said. "That really, really bothers me."

NHS rules specify that cancer patients must start treatment within 62 days of being referred, meaning that some health tourists take precedence over British patients. ...

Jacqueline Bishop, an overseas visitor officer from the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton, said that NHS financial structures, where "clinical commissioning groups" of GPs pay hospitals for the patients they treat, actively discouraged hospitals from looking for health tourists.

"I generate a loss. Every overseas visitor I identify, I cannot charge the clinical commissioning group for," she said.

"There are NHS trusts out there who do not identify overseas visitors, because it is not in their best interests. We are penalised for identifying overseas visitors." As a result of this, she added, the NHS had no real idea how big the problem was, but she said that abuse of maternity facilities by health tourists was "rife".

"Anybody who says that they do not have overseas visitors in maternity either are not doing their jobs properly or just have their head in the sand," she said.

Only about 20 per cent of charges due from overseas visitors are ever recovered.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health tourism
I got a call from Jeremy Hunt about health tourism – but he still doesn't get it
J. Meirion Thomas
The Spectator, 2 November 2013

Yet for all the Health Secretary's good intentions, I fear his department is failing to grasp the nettle. The government has not recognised the extent of the problem, so its solutions are inadequate.

When I first raised this issue in The Spectator I quoted from the Department of Health's website section on 'Eligibility for free hospital treatment under the NHS', to show how open to abuse the rules and regulations governing free access to NHS care are. (Strangely enough, the page was removed and archived soon after my article was published.)

On the back of my article, the government employed a company called Creative Research to investigate the health tourism problem. It too found that the eligibility criteria for free NHS care were porous, ineffective and difficult to enforce, and that any determined non-resident can breach them. Nevertheless, Creative Research has grossly underestimated the extent of the problem.

Let's first remind ourselves of the strict definition of a health tourist. It's someone who arrives in the UK with a pre-existing illness whose purpose is to access free NHS care. (The term does not apply to visitors who suffer accidental or incidental illnesses during their stay, nor to asylum seekers or disadvantaged migrants who are entitled to 'Good Samaritan' NHS care.) The claim by Creative Research that this activity costs between £70 million and £300 million cannot possibly be correct. Where is the data to confirm that estimate? I still maintain that the cost of this component of the problem, as defined, is in billions, not millions. For example, the cost of treating expatriates who have lived abroad for decades and returned for treatment has not been included. ...

In the next few weeks, in an attempt to reduce the cost of health tourism, the government will announce new rules about who can access NHS care. There is a proposal for an annual health levy or surcharge set at £150 for foreign students and at £200 for other temporary migrants. The levy will apparently generate £1.9 billion over a ten-year period, based on approximately 490,000 applicants who would be required to pay.

This amounts to the cheapest travel/health insurance on the planet! All that students and temporary migrants have to do is cough up £150 or £200 and they will be fully entitled to unlimited free health care. Besides, don't the geniuses who thought up this plan realise that, apart from a few students who exploit the system, most health tourists come on a visitor's visa, so would be exempt even from this minimal charge? Why shouldn't students and temporary migrants be required to have health insurance, as is necessary for any British citizen studying or working abroad? ...

... Health tourists need to be identified and excluded from the NHS. But there is no method for enforcing payment. It's fraud without penalty. Any charge made is at the NHS tariff, which is about 25 per cent of the equivalent cost in a private UK hospital. The only permanent solution is a method of personal identification to prove entitlement to free NHS care, as you can find in all other countries with health systems equivalent to our own. Health tourists come to the UK because we let them.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services, crime
NHS foreigner charge 'opens floodgates to criminal gangs'
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 30 October 2013

Charging foreigners £200 to access the NHS will "open the floodgates" to criminal gangs who bring heavily pregnant women from Africa to give birth in Britain, leading doctors have warned.

They said that pregnant women are routinely flown from Africa to give birth on the NHS, often to more than one child, in a practise so common it has become known in hospitals as the "Lagos shuttle".

The doctors said the lack of restrictions on IVF treatment abroad mean many of the women give birth to twins or triplets, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to the NHS each time.

They warned that the government's plans to charge migrants and foreign students staying in the UK a £200 NHS surcharge will act as a form of "insurance" and be "extraordinary attractive" to health tourists.

Professor J Meirion Thomas, a cancer specialist at the Royal Marsden hospital in London, said that about 5 per cent of his patients were health tourists.

He told the House of Commons Immigration Bill committee: "If you go to obstetrics at St Thomas's across there they would talk to you about the Lagos shuttle.

"I think there's organised crime behind this, by that I mean people pay an amount of money to come into the country. They are given accommodation, told exactly how to answer the right questions. ..." ...

"It's awful for me as a doctor to have to treat someone who I know is ineligible. I have to cancel a legitimate patient for surgery because there's a health tourist who is ineligible for care who is breaching the NHS rules for two day care. It really bothers me. It really happens so often. Weekly I would say."

Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said that the surcharge should reflect the cost of treatment.

He said: "A flat levy is clearly a nonsense. £200 wouldn't pay didley squit for one consultation. A single inhaler for asthma costs £55. "It doesn't make any sense at all. You would have to match the cost to what people were taking out of the system for it to make any sense."

His concerns were shared by Clare Gerada, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs. She said: "It's not going to deter organised crime. It opens the floodgates to anyone that wants to have free healthcare. It would rapidly become a nonsense."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – NHS, health services
£200 NHS levy on foreigners 'will attract more health tourists': Top cancer surgeon claims move would be a 'disaster'
Gerri Peev
Daily Mail, 26 October 2013

Plans to make foreigners pay a £200 NHS surcharge would create the 'best travel insurance on the planet', a leading surgeon has warned.

Professor J Meirion Thomas said the Government's move would be a 'disaster' and simply attract more 'health tourists'.

The proposals, which affect migrants and foreign students staying in the UK for more than six months, came as the Government estimated that health tourism was costing the NHS up to £2 billion a year.

Professor Thomas, a cancer specialist, was one of the first whistleblowers to expose the financial impact of non-British residents seeking free healthcare on the NHS.

He said: 'It [the levy] is the worst thing they could do. The biggest disaster that can happen to the solution of health tourism would be to accept this £200 levy for migrants wanting to come to this country and for students.' ...

Professor Thomas also said the £2 billion figure quoted by the Government regarding the cost of health tourism was wildly inaccurate.

'I don't accept those figures; they grossly underplay the total cost,' he said. 'For example, I know of examples where the bill for individual health tourists has been between £500,000 and £1 million. I know of one district general hospital where they get about 15 health tourists a month.'

He pointed to British citizens who have retired in the sun and then return to the UK when they find out they have cancer or another illness.

'The longest example I have is 48 years, but I have other examples of 20, 30 and 40 years, who then suddenly just walk back into the country with a serious illness. They are impossible to identify.' ...

The Home Office plans a new annual levy of £150 on foreign students and £200 on temporary migrants. The surcharge is expected to generate £200 million.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health tourism
The truth about 'health tourism': Twice as many foreign visitors pay to use NHS as exploit free healthcare in Britain
Charlie Cooper
The Independent, 25 October 2013

The number of foreign patients who pay to use the NHS each year could be twice as high as the number of so-called "health tourists" exploiting free healthcare in the UK, a new academic study suggests.

In research that turns the high-profile debate over health tourism on its head, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and University of York found that 18 NHS trusts made a total income of £42m in 2010-11 from foreign paying patients – or "medical tourists". ...

In total, 52,000 people who entered the UK in 2010 declared that the main purpose of their visit was to seek healthcare. Researchers said it was highly unlikely that any of them would be seeking to exploit the NHS for free care because it would be too easy to track them. While some will have been visiting for treatment in the private sector, a large number will have visited NHS hospitals that were willing to charge for certain procedures.

Dr Johanna Hanefeld, lecturer in health systems economics at LSHTM, said that as a result it was likely that the number of foreign patients paying for NHS care is double the number coming to the UK seeking free healthcare – a group estimated to number between 5,000 and 20,000 by government-commissioned research published earlier this week. The new research also found that, overall, the UK is a "net exporter" of patients, with 63,000 travelling abroad for treatment in 2010. ...

The potential for foreign patients to pay for care at NHS hospitals is set to increase. Under the Government's health reforms, NHS trusts can now raise up to 49 per cent of funds through non-NHS work – a huge increase on the 2 per cent cap set by the previous government.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Most GPs back Government plans to charge foreign patients
Laura Donnelly
Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013

Ministers have pledged to recoup funds spent by the health service treating foreign nationals, with reports suggesting it costs the UK £2bn a year.

The plans have been opposed by the British Medical Association, the trades union for doctors, and by The Royal College for GPs (RCGP), which said doctors should not be turned into a "border agency" policing entitlement to free care.

But a survey of more than 600 GPs from across the UK found the majority support a £200 surcharge on foreigners who wish to use the NHS, by a margin of almost two-to-one.

In total, 55 per cent of respondents supported the proposed levy, while 30 per cent were opposed to the plans, with the remainder "don't knows".

The survey found support for the plans even among GPs who studied overseas. Almost half of 113 survey respondents trained abroad said they backed the levy, with 34 per cent opposed. ...

Research for the Department of Health predicts that the health service would be more than £500m a year better off if it charged foreign nationals to use GPs and other services, including recovering about £388m in costs recovered from other EU countries and about £200m from the health surcharge.

The report also concluded that the public supported the idea "in principle".
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
For years those who warned about the true cost of health tourism have been called racists. Now the truth is out
Sue Reid
Daily Mail, 23 October 2013

Earlier this week, I received a letter from a hospital nurse who has worked in the National Health Service for three decades. ...

The letter said: 'When I began work in South London, 95 per cent of my patients were from the local population.

'Today, that percentage has shrunk to less than 20 per cent on children's wards and less than 40 per cent on adult wards.

'The impact of health tourists and migrants has been catastrophic for the NHS.

'The pressure on those who work in the health service has also increased as they try to cope with thousands upon thousands of patients from all over the world who come to Britain wanting – and getting – free treatment.'

Yesterday, the nurse, Peter Murray – who won an award as the top agency nurse in the country a few years ago – was proved right.

A report commissioned by the Government on foreign visitors and short-term migrants treated in the NHS reveals that their care is costing a staggering £2 billion a year, a massive squandering of resources in these austere times. ...

Those who have been brave enough to blow the whistle on health tourism have been called racists or, if they work in the NHS, have even been threatened with the sack for speaking out.

Earlier this year, the Mail published a series of articles by eminent consultant Professor J. Meirion Thomas, of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.

Courageously, he stated the truth: that there is a 'massive and escalating problem' of foreigners travelling to Britain to exploit the NHS.

Expectant mothers, he said, are flying here just to give birth, while others are arriving for treatment for cancer and HIV, kidney transplants and even, believe it or not, infertility treatment, before leaving hospitals without paying. ...

One doctor has told me that some scheduled flights from the United Arab Emirates to Manchester are so full of sick people coming to access free treatment at the respected Manchester Royal Infirmary that they are known locally as the 'MRI planes'. ...

The true scale of how the NHS is being exploited by foreigners is shown by the figures for those who are actually billed, but have still not paid. ...

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Local Medical Committee, which represents 500 doctors, said recently that one of his fellow GPs has 'thousands of patients on his list who entertain friends and relatives from Pakistan, India and other Asian countries, who come to England for the sole purpose of accessing free health care.

'This is a problem not just here, but across the country.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Is Jeremy Hunt right to act on health tourism? [part 1]
J Meirion Thomas and Kailash Chand
The Guardian, 23 October 2013

J Meirion Thomas: 'British taxpayers should not be funding an international health service'

I have worked in the NHS for 44 years, 31 as a consultant surgeon specialising in cancer treatment, and I believe health tourists should not be treated in NHS hospitals.

My only motive in campaigning against health tourism is to protect the NHS for future generations. Our health system has finite resources and any capacity taken up by ineligible patients means that other patients remain on the waiting list.

The definition of a health tourist is specific. The term describes somebody who arrives in the UK with a pre-existing illness whose purpose is to access free NHS care. It does not apply to visitors who suffer accidental or incidental illness, nor to asylum seekers or disadvantaged migrants, who are entitled to "good Samaritan" NHS care. ...

Health tourists fall into three categories. First, British citizens who have lived abroad who return for treatment of a serious illness. They have an NHS number from birth and are almost impossible to identify. Quantifying their number and treatment cost is impossible. Second, a proportion of migrants from within the European economic area who come either for better quality of care or because of contraction of health services at home. These patients are equally difficult to identify and are rarely charged. The third category is patients who arrive on a visitor's visa, have no NHS number and can be identified at the treating hospital. These patients can be charged, although less than 20% of invoices are paid. The charges for this group form the only reliable record of the cost of health tourism, which explains why the total cost is unknown and is inevitably underestimated.

The NHS is more vulnerable to exploitation than comparable health systems, all of which have a personal identification mechanism in place to prove entitlement to care. This should be based on residency and contribution as happens in France, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Canada and Australia, whose systems successfully prevent health tourism.

Essentially, the Department of Health allows open access to our health service. The current rules and regulations are porous, ineffective and difficult to enforce. They can easily be breached. ...

The biggest error of all would be to adopt a health levy (said to be £200) on all migrants and students coming to the UK. That would be a disaster. For health tourists, it would amount to the cheapest travel insurance available anywhere and, furthermore, would confirm entitlement.

The time has come to protect our NHS from abuse. British taxpayers should not be funding an international health service.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Is Jeremy Hunt right to act on health tourism? [part 2]
J Meirion Thomas and Kailash Chand
The Guardian, 23 October 2013
[Dr Kailash Chand is deputy chairman of the BMA council]

Kailash Chand: 'This plan will reduce doctors to debt collectors'

Anyone seeking to access the NHS should be eligible to do so and proposals to improve the current system of recovering treatment costs from other governments must be considered. However, there is little evidence that health tourism is a significant burden on the NHS or that migrants and short-term visitors are consuming a large part of the NHS budget.

We need unambiguous evidence and sound facts. The latest government figures are hundreds of millions of pounds higher than previous estimates, because they are based on a particular set of assumptions. ...

Most importantly, GPs and other healthcare professionals do not have the capacity or the resources to administer an extended charging system that could require them to extensively vet every single patient when they register with a new practice. At many GP surgeries, patients are already required to provide proof of residence. Anything more would result in another layer of bureaucracy chewing up time and resources that should be spent on treating the most important people in this – the patients.

GPs are already under pressure from soaring patient demand, declining resources and a proliferation of box-ticking targets. We should not be burdened further by having to verify every patient's eligibility. The government has failed to address the cost of the new structure and it is far from clear that the proposed changes would recoup enough money to cover the costs of setting it up in the first place.

There are also wider risks. Timely treatment keeps people out of hospital, stops the spread of infectious disease such as tuberculosis, and ultimately saves money. Denying treatment to people who need it – including pregnant women, torture survivors, and those with communicable diseases – is inhumane, impractical and could result in further costs to the NHS should a patient's condition deteriorate.

The health secretary would be wise to concentrate on the major pressures on the NHS rather than being distracted by imposing an unworkable system of charging for health tourism. If this plan comes to fruition it will at best reduce the role of doctors to debt collectors. At worst it will deter them from registering migrants and asylum seekers. Tampering with the core principle of the NHS , that it is free at the point of delivery, runs the risk of loading scarce resources on a minority issue, while the more meaty challenges remain unresolved.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Foreign patients 'cost NHS £2bn a year'
James Kirkup and Laura Donnelly
Daily Telegraph, 22 October 2013

The National Health Service is spending up to £2 billion every year treating foreign nationals, a report commissioned by the Government has suggested.

Research for the Department of Health predicts that the health service would be more than £500m a year better off if it charged foreign nationals to use GPs and other services, including recovering about £388m in costs and about £200m from the health surcharge.

So-called 'Health tourists', foreigners who come to the UK with the intention of using the NHS, are costing the taxpayer between £70m and £300 million a year, the study said.

Around £388 million a year is spent on foreigners who should pay for care under current rules – European citizens whose home governments should pay their costs – but only around £73 million is recovered, according to research from Creative Research, a consultancy.

Ministers said the study showed that there is a "serious problem" with foreigners using the NHS and justified Coalition plans for tougher rules, including charging some fees to some foreigners to use the health service.

But doctors and the Labour Party questioned the figures, which the report's authors admitted were subject to considerable uncertainty. ...

Reports commissioned by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said that the total cost of treating both foreign residents and short-term visitors to the UK is between £1.9 billion and £2 billion. ...

Andy Burnham, the Labour shadow health secretary, highlighted a warning from the report's authors that its findings are "based on incomplete data, sometimes of varying quality, and a large number of assumptions".

The British Medical Association, the trade union for GPs, also questioned the accuracy of the research, and warned against imposing a charge on foreign patients.

"It is doubtful that the expensive bureaucracy required to support an extended charging system would recoup enough money to cover the costs of setting it up in the first place," the BMA said.

The union also suggested that a charge could deter some people from seeking medical cares, which could "prevent the NHS from identifying individuals with contagious diseases".
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU migrants
Britain's anger at EC opposition to restriction on migrant benefits
Robert Mendick
Sunday Telegraph, 20 October 2013

The European Commission and the BBC are facing new questions over a controversial report into the effect of European Union migration to the UK.

The study – whose details were first disclosed in The Telegraph – showed that more than 600,000 "non-active" EU migrants were living in the UK at a possible cost to the NHS alone of £1.5 billion a year.

But the EC report's main conclusions – that the impact on the welfare state and on the NHS is "very low" – are now the subject of intense debate. In a series of developments:

. Senior Labour and Conservative politicians made public their opposition to the findings, which have been used by the EC to try to show that "benefit tourism" – the practice of going to a country to claim state benefits – is "neither widespread nor systematic".

. Oxford University's migration research unit said the conclusions drawn by the report were open to interpretation, given the statistical evidence available.

. Inquiries by The Telegraph found that the independent consultancies who wrote the report were awarded EU contracts worth more than £70 million over six years.

. The BBC was drawn into the row over its flagship news bulletin on the report, which Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, accused of lacking "balance".

Evidence of mounting public concern in the EU's biggest economies over migration emerged in a poll yesterday which showed that the introduction of restrictions on EU migrants' rights is backed by 83 per cent of Britons, 73 per cent of Germans and 72 per cent of French respondents, in a survey of 5,206 adults.

David Cameron's official spokesman said last week that there was "widespread and understandable concern" in the UK about benefit tourism.

He was speaking in response to the report, which last night was questioned by Frank Field, a former Labour welfare minister, who chairs Balanced Migration, a group made up of cross-party MPs.

"The conclusion of this report is genuinely mystifying when the issue over what is going on is quite clear," he said. "Many migrants are here and they are not in work. So how are they living?"

The report shows that between 2008 and 2011, the number of job-seeking EU migrants coming to the UK increased by 73 per cent, while during the same period the total EU migrant population rose by only 28 per cent. It found that 611,779 economically "non-active" EU migrants aged 15 and over were in the UK in 2011. This includes job-seekers, students, stay-at-home spouses and pensioners.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – unemployment benefits
Analysis: Was the BBC's reporting of migrant issue fair and balanced?
David Barrett
Sunday Telegraph, 20 October 2013

Last Monday night the BBC's 10 O'Clock News - its most popular television news programme - broadcast a bulletin by Mark Easton, the home editor, in the wake of the publication by the European Commission (EC) of its report on migration. ...

Here The Telegraph analyses the two minutes and 30 second report and examines whether it was fair and balanced broadcast.

What the BBC said

Introduction by presenter Huw Edwards: "The European Commission has found that jobless migrants from different parts of the EU make up a very small share of those claiming benefits.

"The study suggests that claims about large-scale benefits tourism in the EU are exaggerated.

"But the British Government still wants tougher EU rules and the Commission has asked the Government to publish any evidence it has to back up its claims. Our home editor Mark Easton reports."


It is impossible for the BBC to draw such a conclusion from the findings of the EC report. The paper focussed on only one category of migrant, those classified as economically "non-active". And it looked in detail at only one benefit - Jobseeker's Allowance - when many other types of benefits are available to immigrants from the EU. The BBC's assertion that "jobless migrants" make up a "very small share of those claiming benefits" is not based on the document as it did not address what proportion of benefit claimants are migrants. ...

What the BBC said

Easton: "British newspapers were also challenged over headlines that today's commission report identifies 600,000 workless European migrants in Britain."

Jonathan Todd, a European Commission spokesman, is shown at a press conference saying: "This report on behalf of this Sunday newspaper in the UK was a gross and totally irresponsible misrepresentation of the facts."


... The 600,000 - precisely 611,779 - is contained in the report. The Commission does not dispute it - and it is misleading to suggest that it does.

What the BBC said

Easton: "The figure of 600,000, the Commission points out, includes retired people, students and families of those working. Only 60,000 EU migrants claim Jobseeker's Allowance [JSA]."

A graphic reads: "EC Response: 60,000 claiming JSA. Source: DWP"


The Commission do dispute how to describe the 600,000. None of them work, but it objects to them being described as "unemployed" because it says this is a "labour market term" which means "seeking work". The EC paper says there were 112,499 EU migrants in Britain seeking work. It says that the rest are made up of people who are "inactive" for other reasons, including the retired, students and families of those working. However, the BBC uses another figure, 60,000, which is not in the report and comes from the DWP.

It is unclear why the graphic described the 60,000 figure as an "EC response" when it was, in fact, a figure from a completely different set of figures.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU migrants, unemployment benefits
Douglas Carswell: We need an honest debate on migrants
Douglas Carswell
Sunday Telegraph, 20 October 2013

Last week, an organisation called the ICF GHK, published a report on European welfare tourism. Paid for by the European Commission, the report looked at how many non-economically active EU migrants were living in different EU countries, including the UK.

There in black and white on page 234 of the report was an indisputable statistic; 611,779 "non-active" EU migrants were now living in the UK, compared to 431,687 only six years ago.

Not unsurprisingly, The Telegraph decided to report these facts.

How the Guardianistas howled! "How ignorant of labour market statistics", they screeched. How "gullible" Douglas Carswell was for taking what the report said "at face value" sneered Jonathan Portes, of the (part European Union funded) National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

But just what was it that Mr Portes and co found so objectionable? Did he dispute that over half a million EU migrants without a job were now living in our country? No. Did he dispute the Telegraph's observation that this enormous number of new arrivals was equivalent to the population of Glasgow. Not in the slightest.

The issue for Portes seemed to be that these 600,000 plus non-active EU migrants that the Telegraph wrote about were not all lay-about dole seekers, but students, pensioners and housewives.

No one was claiming otherwise. Nor is anyone, as far as I know, trying to imply that most EU migrants living in Britain are on benefits. There are far more EU migrants working in Britain than not working, and many, many more than are claiming the dole. ...

Within the EU today, only a handful of countries - Estonia, Germany, Finland, Ireland and the UK - offer those out of work and looking for a job non-contributory cash payments. In other words, only in those five countries can you draw payments, when unemployed, without having paid into the system. ...

The report's authors draw on "stakeholder consultation" to come to the conclusion that welfare is not acting as a magnet. Seriously. Now that really is taking things at face value.

Sooner or later, Britain must make a choice; either we can continue to allow the European Commission to write the rules, to decide who can come to Britain and claim benefits. Or, we can retain the system of unemployment benefits that we have. We cannot do both.

No rational person could individually begrudge any of the 2.3 millions EU nationals who have settled in our country in search of a better life. With hospitals to run, factories to operate, harvests to gather and innovations to invent, only a fool would suggest there are no advantages in having some skilled young Europeans joining our work force.

But we need an honest debate about it. Having 2.3 million Europeans pitch up in our country is, and will continue to have an impact. Good and bad.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Job Seekers' Allowance
Job Seekers' Allowance
Daily Telegraph, 17 October 2013

On Tuesday we reported that a European Commission study into immigration found that 120,000 EU nationals were claiming Job Seekers' Allowance in the UK. In fact, the study found that they had registered at JobCentres as job seekers, but did not say that they were claiming JSA. The most recent figures from the Department of Work and Pensions put the number of EU nationals claiming JSA at around 60,000.
[Newspaper link]


Benefits and costs – unemployment benefits
UK Taxpayer Picks up Annual £400 Million Bill for Unemployed EU Migrants
Migrationwatch UK, 17 October 2013

Research from the European Commission suggests that it is much easier for migrants to access benefits in the UK than in other EU countries. As a result British taxpayers are paying out £1 million a day to EU citizens who have never worked in Britain.

The research from the European Commission showed that 37% of all EU job seekers have never worked in the UK – twice the proportion in France or Germany. Taking into account just the costs of unemployment benefit and housing benefit the UK taxpayer is picking up an annual bill of £400 million for these migrants. In reality, the costs will be even higher as this does not include the costs of child benefits, and free access to the National Health Service.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

"Unlike our European partners the UK benefits system is wide open to those who have never contributed. A determined renegotiation is now essential to ensure those who have made no contribution should have no access benefits."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU migrants
EU migrants claim jobs' welfare before job
Matthew Holehouse and James Kirkup
Daily Telegraph, 15 October 2013

More than 40,000 European Union citizens are claiming unemployment benefit in Britain despite never having worked here, a European Commission report has indicated.

British ministers and the European Commission are engaged in an escalating row about "benefits tourism".

The report suggested that 112,000 European citizens are claiming JobSeekers' Allowance and, of these, 37 per cent have no history of working in Britain. The study also suggested a possible link between the generosity of a country's welfare system and the number of EU nationals who move there.

However, the report noted that countries with more generous welfare regimes also tended to have better employment prospects and wage levels, which may do more to attract migrants than welfare.

The report was commissioned by Lazlo Andor, the employment commissioner at the European Commission, who has claimed that Britain's benefit system is not the "pull" factor for immigrants.

British ministers dispute that. Under current EU laws, Britain has to offer the same benefits to EU citizens as to native Britons. Senior Conservatives, including Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, say those rules should be changed.

Responding to the report, Downing Street said the Prime Minister believes public concerns about benefit tourism are "widespread and understandable".

The Commission said the Government had failed to provide evidence that EU nationals are coming to Britain in order to claim welfare. Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the Commission, said the "vast majority" of migrants go to Britain to work and contribute more to the welfare system than they take out. "The more EU migrants you have, the better off your welfare system is," he said.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – EU migrants, benefit tourism
Benefit tourism: the Commission gives us some facts
Jonathan Portes
NIESR, 14 October 2013

The Daily Telegraph (quickly followed by the Daily Mail) claimed yesterday that "an EU study has found 600,000 unemployed migrants are living in Britain.. at a cost of £1.5 billion to the NHS alone". ... ...

The report itself was produced in response to this sort of overheated rhetoric, particularly from the UK government. ...

Undeterred by this rather cavalier attitude to facts, the researchers working for the Commission have produced a detailed 291 page compilation of figures. It has now been published, so what does it actually show?

First, the 600,000 figure simply reflects the fact that the Telegraph writer doesn't know the meaning of the word "unemployed". There are in fact two common usages in the UK

• People who are not currently employed and are looking for work (in the EU, this is measured by national Labour Force Surveys). Importantly, such people may or may not be claiming benefits, depending on whether they are entitled to them. In the UK, approximately 100,000 EU nationals are unemployed

• People who are claiming "unemployment benefit" (Jobseekers Allowance]. In the UK, according to the latest DWP figures, approximately 60,000 EU nationals are claiming JSA.

For comparison, the number of (non-UK) EU citizens resident in the UK is about 2.3 million. So where does the 600,000 figure come from? In fact, as the report explains clearly (page 3), it is the "non-active" population aged over 15 – this means everybody who is not currently employed. So most such people are not unemployed at all. They include students, pensioners, those with caring responsibilities (including stay at home parents), older schoolchildren etc. The corresponding figure for the UK population as a whole is 20 million or so, which puts the 600,000 figure in perspective.

... But what is meaningful are the following statistics (accurate when the report was compiled):

• The "non-activity" rate among EU nationals in Britain is 30%. For UK nationals it is 43%;

• The unemployment rate among EU nationals in Britain is 7.5%. For UK nationals it is slightly higher, at 7.9%;

• The employment rate (for those age 16-64) among EU nationals is 77%. For UK nationals it is 72%;

• Approximately 4% of JSA claimants in the UK are EU migrants, although they represent well over 5% of those in work.

All this paints a very consistent picture, albeit not one you'd have got from the Telegraph or Mail, and none of it remotely surprising. ... ...

This is true for the UK. It has been known for some time that EU nationals (especially the more recent migrants from the new Member States) were young and came here to work, and were therefore significantly more likely to be in work than natives – and that this, combined with rules around benefit eligibility, meant that they were much less likely to claim benefits. ...

What about the burden on the NHS? The story here is likely to be very similar to that for disability benefits, and for similar reasons.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – immigrants from EU, welfare tourism
True scale of European immigration
Robert Mendick and Claire Duffin
Sunday Telegraph, 13 October 2013

More than 600,000 unemployed European Union migrants are living in Britain at a cost of £1.5 billion to the NHS alone, according to an EU report.

The authoritative study, ..., shows the number of jobless European migrants coming to Britain has risen dramatically in the past five years, intensifying demands for the Government to renegotiate EU membership.

Opponents of the EU seized on the figures to suggest Britain could not afford to allow European migrants to come here at will while continuing to provide a universal benefits system.

The 291-page report, to be published this week by the European commissioner in charge of employment and welfare, discloses:

• The number of "non-active" EU migrants in Britain has risen by 42 per cent between 2006 and 2012;

• 611,779 "non-active" EU migrants were living in Britain last year, up from 431,687 just six years ago. The total is equivalent to the population of Glasgow;

• The number of EU migrants coming to Britain without a job increased by 73 per cent in the three years to 2011;

• The current annual cost to the NHS of "non-active" EU migrants is estimated at £1.5 billion (€1.8 billion);

• In contrast, the estimated cost to France's health system of "non-active" EU migrants is a fraction of that to the NHS, at just £3.4 million.

The report was written for Brussels and ordered by Laszlo Andor, the socialist commissioner in charge of employment and social inclusion. ...

The report studied the numbers of unemployed EU citizens coming to Britain looking for work, showing that the number coming without jobs has risen by 73 per cent in three years. ...

The report also shows the extraordinary burden on the NHS, concluding it is equivalent to more than one per cent of the total NHS budget of £1.5 billion. ...

Only Italy, of the major countries, came close to such a burden on its health care system, with a bill of £620 million, the report finds. ...

Although the report details the cost to the Government in stark terms, it comes with a conclusion that there is "little evidence" that EU citizens came to Britain to collect state benefits – and the practice known as "benefit tourism" was largely a myth. ...

Open Europe said the report was misleading – "possibly wilfully" – in its conclusions and in apparently ignoring the evidence its authors had gathered.

Mr Andor, who commissioned the report, is to use the conclusions that migration is mostly for work as part of a landmark European Court case he is bringing against the Government.

Mr Andor has accused Britain of discriminating against EU citizens by restricting their ability to claim state benefits through a "right to reside" test introduced in 2004 to stem the flow of claimants from the new Eastern European member states. The test does not apply to UK citizens.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Britain admits it has no figures on EU 'welfare tourist' numbers
Bruno Waterfield
Daily Telegraph, 8 October 2013

The British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK, a classified Home Office document has admitted, despite repeated complaints about "benefit tourism" and social security abuse.

The document is the UK's response to a European Commission demand for evidence of claims by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, that some European migrants abuse the EU's free movement laws and become an "unacceptable burden" after travelling to Britain to claim benefits.

In the eight page text, which has been seen by The Telegraph, the Home Office concedes that it is unable to state the number of EU nationals claiming welfare compared to Britons on social security benefits over a "given period". Nor can it give figures showing the number of EU migrants making fraudulent benefit claims.

"We consider that these questions place too much emphasis on quantitative evidence," says the document, seen by The Daily Telegraph. "The UK does not currently impose a registration requirement upon Union citizens who enter the UK and exercise free movement rights."

Data on the nationality of claimants for social welfare benefits is not routinely published, it adds, as there is not routinely a "nationality marker" attached to them.

The admission, in a text submitted to Brussels last month, risks undermining British calls for tighter restrictions on welfare immigrants as EU interior ministers meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday. With German, Dutch and Austrian support, Mrs May has asked the EU to overhaul freedom of movement rights to make it more difficult to claim residency in another country and to make it easier to deport wrong-doers.

There are 2.3 million EU migrants living in Britain, with 155,000 new arrivals from the EU last year under the "free movement" rules, up by 90 per cent from the 82,000 who came in 2011. ...

An EU migrant must show that they have been in work and have the intention to settle to earn the "right to reside" qualification for benefits. ...


Last night a government spokesman said the system would be improved when the new "Universal Credit" system of benefits, currently on trial in four locations around Manchester, is rolled out nationwide. "We are planning to record the nationality of benefit claimants to ensure we have a better picture of who is claiming benefits," the spokesman said.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services, council housing
End of free NHS care for migrants under new bill
Tim Ross and David Barrett
Sunday Telegraph, 6 October 2013

Major restrictions on migrants' free access to the NHS are to be introduced.

Foreigners will have to prove that they are entitled to be in the country before they are given access to GPs and hospitals, while foreign students will have to make a "contribution" to the health service.

The measure will form the centrepiece of tough new legislation designed to reduce numbers entering the country and put pressure on illegal immigrants to leave.

A senior government source said it was an attempt to target "people who have no right to be here".

Restricting access to the NHS is highly contentious politically.

GPs will be told they have to check that people seeking to register with them are here legally and issue only time-limited "NHS numbers" – the proof of entitlement to free care – to those who do not have a permanent right to be in the country.

Separately, students from outside Europe will have to pay a £200 levy before they can access the NHS.

Hospitals will be told to step up attempts to pursue "health tourists" for the cost of treatments they receive.

The measures will be outlined in the Immigration Bill, which is due to be put before Parliament within days. ...

However, it will not affect migrants from inside the European Union, which is now the biggest single source of new arrivals.

Other elements of the Bill include:

• A ban on councils giving social housing to individuals with no connection to an area, with "penalties" if the rules are not followed;

• Fines of up to £3,000 if landlords do not conduct thorough background checks on their tenants to ensure they have a legal right to live in Britain, and fines of up to £20,000 for every illegal worker employed by unscrupulous businesses;

• A victory for The Sunday Telegraph's campaign to end the farce that sees foreign criminals dodging deportation by appealing using the Human Rights Act.

Instead the law will allow immediate deportation and appeals from outside the country unless criminals can show they face "serious and irreversible harm" in their home countries. ...

The foreign students levy will end the current situation which allows free access to the NHS for all students here for more than six months.

Currently 300,000 students from outside Europe are studying at British universities.

Official projections have suggested that this number will rise to more than 480,000 by 2025.

Although charging these students would raise less than £100 million, ministers believe it would be a significant disincentive to those who would abuse the NHS.

Analysis of Home Office figures suggests that one in five foreign students will remain living in the UK five years after first arriving, and many will settle permanently.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing
Now one council house in ten goes to migrants as Tories blame Labour for allowing locals 'to be pushed out of waiting list'
Daily Mail, 5 October 2013

One in ten of the families given taxpayer-subsidised social housing last year was foreign, figures revealed yesterday.

They show that the rate at which newly arrived immigrants acquire council and housing association homes has gathered pace even in the face of deep public concern.

The proportion of foreign citizens taking advantage of the diminishing supply of publicly-subsidised homes has risen by more than 50 per cent in five years.

In March, David Cameron pledged to stop foreigners taking advantage of state housing by introducing a residence test. It would require immigrants to wait two years before qualifying for social housing.

Yesterday, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles blamed Labour for allowing local people 'to be pushed out of the housing queue by foreign nationals'.

He said 'tough new guidance' to give priority to local residents would be published soon.

The Daily Mail revealed in July that nearly half a million immigrants who came to Britain in the decade after 2001 were housed in taxpayer-subsidised social homes.

The new count was published by the Department of Communities and Local Government in a rundown of social housing statistics for the year to March.

They showed that foreign citizens made up 10 per cent of those newly given social housing, up from nine per cent the previous year and 6.5 per cent in 2008.

That represents 23,000 homes. It is estimated that the cost to taxpayers for those homes over their useful life is £1.5 billion.

The true figure is likely to be higher because many immigrants take up British citizenship shortly after arrival.

The last national census in 2011 revealed that 13 per cent of people in state-subsidised homes were born outside Britain, which represents 1.2 million households.

One in five of the social tenants in London is a citizen of neither Britain nor Ireland.

The new figures brought calls for action from the pressure group Migrationwatch, which has pushed for councils to provide better information on who is being given state housing.

'These figures confirm that the occupancy of social housing by those born overseas is far higher than has been generally realised, or even admitted,' said chairman Sir Andrew Green.

'The Government's proposed action on this front would be welcome to many people.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – productivity, social cohesion
The costs and benefits of mass immigration [part 1]
The Economist, 28 September 2013
[Book review: Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World. By Paul Collier. Oxford University Press USA; Allen Lane]

Paul Collier is one of the world's most thoughtful economists. His books consistently illuminate and provoke. "Exodus" is no exception. Most polemics about migration argue either that it is good or bad. They address the wrong question, says Mr Collier. The right one is: how much more migration would be beneficial, and to whom?

He examines this question from three perspectives: the migrants themselves, the countries they leave and the countries to which they move.

Migration makes migrants better off. If it did not, they would go home. Those who move from poor countries to rich ones quickly start earning rich-country wages, which may be ten times more than they could have earned back home. "Their productivity rockets upwards," says Mr Collier, because they are "escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models".

This is a crucial insight. Bar a few oil sheikhdoms, rich countries are rich because they are well organised, and poor countries are poor because they are not. ... When a rich country lets in immigrants, it is extending to them the benefits of good governance and the rule of law.

What of the countries that receive immigrants? Mr Collier argues that they have benefited from past immigration, but will probably suffer if it continues unchecked.

So far, immigrants have typically filled niches in the labour market that complement rather than displace the native-born. For most citizens of rich countries, immigration has meant slightly higher wages, as fresh brains with new ideas make local firms more productive. It may have dragged down wages for the least-skilled, but only by a tiny amount.

However, says Mr Collier, continued mass immigration threatens the cultural cohesion of rich countries. Some diversity adds spice: think of Thai restaurants or Congolese music. But a large unabsorbed diaspora may cling to the cultural norms that made its country of origin dysfunctional, and spread them to the host country. Furthermore, when a society becomes too heterogeneous, its people may be unwilling to pay for a generous welfare state, he says. Support for redistribution dwindles if taxpayers think the beneficiaries will be people unlike themselves.

Finally, Mr Collier looks at the effect of emigration on poor countries. Up to a point, it makes them better off. Emigrants send good ideas and hard currency home. The prospect of emigration prompts locals to study hard and learn useful skills; many then stay behind and enrich the domestic talent pool instead. But if too many educated people leave, poor countries are worse off. Big emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil benefit from emigration, but the smallest and poorest nations do not: Haiti, for example, has lost 85% of its educated people.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – productivity, social cohesion
The costs and benefits of mass immigration [part 2]
The Economist, 28 September 2013

Mr Collier's most arresting argument is that past waves of migration have created the conditions under which migration will henceforth accelerate. Emigration is less daunting if you can move to a neighbourhood where lots of your compatriots have already settled. There, you can speak your native language, eat familiar food and ask your cousins to help you find a job. Because many Western countries allow recent immigrants to sponsor visas for their relatives, Mr Collier frets that large, unassimilated diasporas will keep growing. And as they grow, they will become harder to assimilate.

Mr Collier is plainly not a bigot and his arguments should be taken seriously. Nonetheless, he is far too gloomy. ...

It is possible that Britain will prove unable to cope with greater diversity in the future, but one cannot help noticing that the most diverse part of the country – London, which is less than 50% white British – is also by far the richest. It is also rather livelier than the lily-white counties that surround it.

America's population consists almost entirely of immigrants and their descendants, yet it is rich, dynamic, peaceful and united by abundant national pride. Every past wave of newcomers has assimilated; why should the next one be different? The recent history of Canada, Australia and New Zealand also suggests that large-scale immigration is compatible with prosperity and social cohesion.

Mr Collier is right that there is a tension between mass immigration and the welfare state. A rich country that invited all and sundry to live off the dole would not stay rich for long. Immigrants assimilate better in America than in most European countries in part because welfare is less generous there. In parts of Europe it is possible for able-bodied newcomers to subsist on handouts, which infuriates the native-born. In America, by and large, immigrants have to work, so they do. Through work, they swiftly integrate into society.

Mr Collier approves of the European-style welfare state, so his policy prescriptions are aimed largely at preventing immigration from undermining it. He would peg the number of immigrants to how well previous arrivals have integrated. He would welcome quite a lot of skilled migrants and students (a good idea) but curb family reunions (which sounds harsh). He would allow in asylum-seekers from war zones but send them back when peace returns to their homelands. (This, he explains, would help their homelands rebuild themselves.) As for illegal immigrants, he would offer them the chance to register as guest workers who pay taxes but receive no social benefits.

Insisting that immigrants work is sound policy, but the tone of "Exodus" is problematic. Mr Collier finds endless objections to a policy – more or less unlimited immigration – that no country has adopted. In the process, he exaggerates the possible risks of mobility and underplays its proven benefits.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing
'House prices driven down in areas full of migrants', shows new study
Sarah O'Grady
Daily Express, 25 September 2013

Spiralling immigration figures are driving down UK house prices, according to a new economic study.

Dr Nils Braakmann identified two reasons for his findings – which contradict the belief that migrants push prices up.

He says people leave areas as immigrants move in. Properties are left empty and in disrepair and then sell cheaper.

And poorer migrants tend to live in crowded conditions to keep costs down. This depresses values because there is no question of demand outstripping supply.

By contrast, many experts have claimed an influx of eastern Europeans in the past decade is a main cause of raised prices.

The research by Dr Braakmann of the University of Newcastle focused on local areas rather than the national picture.

London is the biggest destination for migrants to the UK and has by far the biggest housing affordability problems.

This suggests high levels of new arrivals in the capital help keep housing more affordable than it would otherwise be.

The new data reinforces findings in a paper presented last year to the Royal Economic Society by Filipa Sa, of Trinity College Cambridge. It compared employment figures with Land Registry records.

She found immigration equal to one per cent of a local population was linked to a 1.6 per cent fall in property values. This was because 0.9 per cent of the locals moved out – usually wealthier people.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said: "Dr Braakmann's research suggests immigration has a modest balancing effect on house prices."

Home Secretary Theresa May has said house prices would fall by 10 per cent over 20 years if net migration was cut to zero. And official figures show 200 new homes a day would have to be built for 25 years just to house Britain's extra population caused by immigration.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – visas, health services
UKIP visa insurance plan to curb 'health tourism'
BBC, 19 September 2013

Migrants from outside the EU would have to have medical insurance to enter the UK under plans by the UK Independence Party to curb "health tourism".

UKIP says the current system in which hospitals recover costs from foreigners not entitled to free care is not working, with abuses being ignored.

Instead, they propose making a visa conditional on having health cover to "reduce the burden" on the NHS. ...

At the moment, foreigners can register with a GP practice and receive free consultations whether they are lawfully in the UK or not.

Migrants from outside the European Economic Area - which comprises 25 members of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - are required to pay for hospital treatment while in the UK but only a fraction do at the moment. ...

Under UKIP's plans, migrants would have to provide their insurance details when they registered with a GP and the costs of any treatment would be recovered from insurers by the NHS. ...

Emergency treatment would still be free at the point of delivery to all, while migrants would be eligible for free NHS care once they had worked for five years and paid tax and national insurance on their income.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – employment
EU Immigration Contributes £60bn To UK Economy, CEBR Study
Asa Bennett
The Huffington Post, 10 September 2013

Coalition plans to curb EU immigration could cost the UK economy £60 billion and send national debt soaring, according to a major new report.

Workers from EU countries were found to be more likely to work in more senior jobs than British workers, according to research from Harvey Nash recruiters and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. They were also estimated to earn an average 7.6% (£2,035) more than their British counterparts. ...

The research found that migrant workers are more likely to be in work (63.3%) than UK-born citizens (56.2%), as well as more economically active (at 69.8%) than UK-born citizens (63%).

Tighter immigration controls would result in an estimated loss of 2% from GDP by 2050, equivalent to £60bn, as business suffers from the lack of talent and a booming old-age population takes its toll on the public finances.

The CEBR's analysis comes weeks after the Office for National Statistics predicted that the UK would need seven million more migrants over the next 50 years in order to keep debt down.

The report has been met with scepticism by critics, who branded its conclusions "madness".

A UKIP spokesman told the Huffington Post UK: "According to the logic of this report we as a country would do far better by getting rid of our own population and replacing them, wholesale, with EU migrants.

"Instead of creating skills shortages, getting a grip on EU migration would allow the UK to re-skill, rather than as has happened, de-skill. When a pre-trained migrant worker can undercut a local the net result is that it becomes uneconomic to train. This way madness lies". ...

From 2003 to 2013, the number of non-UK EU-born citizens in employment in the UK more than doubled from 762,000 to 1,647,000

Albert Ellis, CEO of the Harvey Nash Group, said: "Non-UK EU born workers are bringing much needed skills and value to the UK and there is little evidence that EU immigrants are having a negative impact on wages or unemployment. In fact, immigrants are helping to create jobs - a broad and diverse labour market fuels growth as this report shows."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – benefits for foreign nationals
Number of foreign nationals on benefits soars to 400,000
David Barrett and Olivia Goldhill
Daily Telegraph, 29 August 2013

The number of foreign nationals claiming benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance has jumped by 40 per cent in just four years to more than 400,000, new government figures have disclosed.

New figures showed there were 407,000 non-UK nationals receiving the hand-outs last year, a rise of more than 118,000 since 2008, with the total bill running to hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a sharp rise in the number of claims by immigrants from eastern European countries.

Just 12,600 were claiming work benefits in 2008 but this increased nearly fourfold to just under 50,000 last year, when people from Poland and seven other eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 gained full access to the benefits system. ...

The figures provide a snapshot of claims in February last year and will be updated in a new set of immigration figures due to be published on Thursday. Based on upward trends over the last four years they are expected to show an even larger number of foreign claimants.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said: "It is very striking that claimants from Poland and the other new eastern European member states have increased by nearly three quarters in just one year since they gained the same access to the UK benefit system as British citizens.

"Furthermore, these latest figures do not include working tax credit or housing benefit for which most East Europeans, being low paid, would qualify." ...

The new benefit claimant figures also showed there were 102,000 claimants from Africa last year and 132,000 from Asia and the Middle East.

European claimants - including eastern European nationals - made up the largest group, at nearly 139,000.

The figures mean one in 14 people claiming "in-work" benefits were foreigners, although some will have taken British citizenship since first registering.

The benefits covered by the new figures include some available to immigrants who have never worked in this country.

Some types of disability benefit and means-tested Jobseeker's Allowance will be available to new arrivals who have never held a job in Britain, while other payments will be made to immigrants who have paid two years' National Insurance. Also included are lone parent benefits and carer's allowance.

Crucially, the new figures do not include all types of welfare hand-outs.

For example, child benefit payments which EU residents are entitled to claim even if their children live abroad are not included. According to latest figures the taxpayer foots the bill for payments to 40,000 children overseas at a cost of £36 million a year. Tax credits and housing benefit are also excluded from the total.

Dr Scott Blinder, of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said the increase came "partly from population growth but also partly from claims being made at a higher rate"

"From 2008 to 2011, for example, the foreign-born population grew by 12 per cent, while in about the same time span there was a 25 per cent rise in claims made by people who were non-UK nationals," he said. ..."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing
Revealed: How 500,000 immigrants have been given social housing in last decade as number of families on waiting list hits record high
Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 27 July 2013

Nearly half a million immigrants have been given taxpayer-funded homes over the past decade.

The revelation comes as the number of families on the waiting list for social housing hits a record 1.8 million. Most are British born.

Of the four million migrants who arrived between 2001 and 2011, 469,843 were allocated council or housing association properties.

Around 1.2 million foreigners now live in social housing – one in eight of the total. In London the figure is thought to be as high as one in five.

The national census statistics, which were released yesterday, highlight fears about increased pressure on public services when Romanians and Bulgarians win free access to jobs in this country in January.

The figures also show the effects of the large-scale immigration encouraged by the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments.

According to the census, 105,506 of the immigrants who found social housing after 2001 were from Eastern European states that joined the EU in 2004, most of them Poles.

In the mid-2000s, Whitehall officials estimated that the cost to taxpayers of maintaining a single social housing unit was £620 a year.

Assuming each unit is occupied by four people, that would put the housing costs of post-2001 migrants at between £5 billion and £8 billion.

Sir Andrew Green, of the MigrationWatch think-tank, said: 'The figures serve to underline the huge costs of mass immigration – costs often ignored by the immigration lobby.'

In 2009, a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission claimed there was 'no evidence to support the perception that new migrants are getting priority over UK-born residents'.

The research found no evidence of abuse of the system such as queue jumping or providing false information.

But in March David Cameron announced a clampdown, including plans for a local residence test.

Local people will be given priority on waiting lists for social housing and migrants will become eligible only after two years.

Councils say the fundamental flaw in the plan is they will still be obliged to help any EU migrants who present themselves as homeless.

Mike Jones, of the Local Government Association, says: 'If we don't house them that means we are going to have to deal with them under the homeless laws which cost us a great deal more.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs
Migrant claimants 'must speak English'
Daily Express, 20 July 2013

More than three-quarters of Britons think immigrants who cannot speak English should be banned from claiming benefits.

A survey has found that 78 per cent believe those who do not learn the language should be barred from the welfare system and 80 per cent think the number of immigrants coming to Britain should be cut.

Some 37 per cent of those polled by Vision Critical believe immigrants come to the UK to get state benefits and 30 per cent think they come to claim asylum. The survey of 2,000 people was commissioned to tie-in with the Channel 4 series Why Don't You Speak English?, which starts next Tuesday and follows four immigrants trying to learn the language.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – employment
We have to wean the country off the drug of immigration
Fraser Nelson
Daily Telegraph, 19 July 2013

The economy may still be on its uppers, but Britain's appetite for immigrant workers is undimmed. Every day, some 1,100 arrive. Most not only find jobs, but tend to get paid more for them than the average native – not bad in a country nursing youth unemployment of 20 per cent.

All prime ministers need to say they are concerned about immigration levels. But the truth is that this industrious new class does wonders for the economy – at least superficially. This week, for example, David Cameron was boasting about record employment figures. But he did not quite get round to admitting that three quarters of the rise has been due to the immigration he claims to be stamping down on.

Over the past 15 years, the number of foreign-born workers here has doubled. ...

But there is a difference between tolerance and being addicted to immigrant labour, and this week there were signs that the Treasury has succumbed to the latter. Its economic forecasting unit, now called the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), is fretting about what the country would look like if those coaches stopped coming, and has drawn up a scary graph to show us. It has two visions of the future. One "low" forecast envisages 140,000 arrivals annually, equivalent to a city the size of Exeter every year for 50 years. With this inflow, the OBR says, the debt pile will be just about manageable. But without immigrants, then we ageing, unskilled, unproductive Brits will be crushed by the debt burden, ending up as the new Greece.

This sums up the lazy thinking that has reigned at HM Treasury since the days of Gordon Brown. Immigration is seen as a wonder drug, with the bright new workers bringing in far more than they take out. Certainly, under Labour, mass immigration made it possible to enlarge the economy without going through the political pain of sorting out the welfare problem. With newcomers accounting for almost all of the increase in employment, at least four million people were left on out-of-work benefits. And while David Cameron talks about curbing immigration, the number of EU workers in Britain has risen by a quarter since he has been Prime Minister.

The OBR quite likes this: it seems to see Britain's options as immigration or bust. But there are many other ways of reviving an economy, not least improving education. Prof Eric Hanushek, of the Hoover Institution in California, recently asked how much richer Britain would be if its state schools were as good as those of our former colonies. He calculated that if England caught up with Singapore, our growth rate would double, the average Brit would be paid 40 per cent more and our debt pile would terrify no one.

... It only takes an American academic to spell this out for us because Whitehall's economists seem to have no imagination. The sole tools they think we have at our disposal are immigration and debt.

It is also worth asking why these busloads of Poles come in the first place. A large part of the answer is that we're still paying millions of Britons not to work – an expensive business for a government that has run out of money. ... ...

... To advocate mass immigration as a solution to the debt problem, or any other problem, is a counsel of despair. As David Cameron knows, there is so much more he can do with – and for – the population Britain already has.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Romanians
'Come and clean up your own mess': London council demands Romania sends its police to help with travellers turning capital's streets into 'open sewers'
Martin Robinson
Daily Mail, 16 July 2013

A central London council has demanded the Romanian government sends its own police to Britain to deal with rough-sleepers from their country who are setting up camp in the capital.

Westminster Council says the problem is costing the taxpayer £500,000 a year with around 60 immigrants currently bedding down in Hyde Park and next to Marble Arch on Park Lane.

These gangs are being blamed for crime and anti-social behaviour including pickpocketing, cashpoint fraud and street scams.

People living near them say their streets are becoming 'open sewers' and claim they are having to bleach pavements outside their homes and shops because of the dirt.

During the London 2012 Olympics a team of Romanian police came to the UK to tackle the issue and Westminster Council wants them to come back. ...

Councillor Allen has also said she would expect the Romanian government to cover the costs of sending ten officers to London, because 200 of 292 beggars caught in Westminster last year were from that country.

She also plans to push the Government to ensure Romanians committing anti-social behaviour are deported and not allowed to return to the UK. ...

Across the Channel, France is currently considering whether to use laws to remove thousands of Romanian travellers, which could see them end up in the UK.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Migrants will have to pay to visit GPs under NHS registration system planned by Jeremy Hunt
Nigel Nelson
Mirror, 30 June 2013

For the past 65 years NHS rules have said GPs must treat - for free - EVERY patient who walks into their surgeries.

Mr Hunt hopes limiting free access will also halt more pricy hospital referrals for health freeloaders, which cost our taxpayers £200 million a year.

But the Health Secretary is ordering a proper audit of the abuse, fearing the figure could be even higher. ...

The UK gives £700 million a year to European health services to care for Brits taken ill abroad. But we get back only £50 million from EU nations for their patients treated here.

Last year foreigners should have paid £33 million for hospital treatment. But only half of visitors were charged and £12 million was written off, an NHS survey showed.

There will still be free treatment for those needing emergency care, legal immigrants, refugees, and those with overseas student and work visas.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs
Blighted by an epidemic of 'beds in sheds'
Joe Shute and Daniel Johnson
Daily Telegraph, 27 June 2013

Ealing is fast becoming swamped by the "beds in sheds" epidemic that is sweeping the country, costing taxpayers millions and making life a misery for affected communities.

Unscrupulous landlords are creating homes in garden sheds, garages and makeshift outbuildings and charging untaxed rent – sometimes up to £600 a month – from largely migrant workers looking for somewhere cheap to live. Affected local authorities say the sheer number of beds in sheds is putting a strain on local services, yet they are hamstrung by weak planning laws to do much about it.

Pockets of the country are beginning to resemble shanty towns. Yesterday, in north London, 68 Romanians were evicted from the derelict former ground of Hendon FC where they had been living in shacks for months. With Britain opening its borders to Romania and Bulgaria next year, there are fears the problem will get far worse.

It has prompted an extreme response. Slough borough council, which estimates up to 3,000 people are living illegally in the town, recently sent up an aircraft with thermal-imaging cameras to pick up heat being emitted from outbuildings. In a two-hour flyover it identified 210 suspected illegal dwellings. ...

Ealing council, which is one of nine to have been allocated £2.5 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government to tackle rogue landlords, says it has carried out nearly 4,500 site inspections since October 2011 in addition to unannounced fortnightly raids. But landlords can still run rings around its officers.

Outbuildings often do not require planning permission if they comply with size restrictions and are not used for sleeping accommodation. Landlords usually claim they are gyms or playrooms. Under the Housing Act, councils must give 24 hours' notice before inspections, meaning evidence is often destroyed and tenants simply moved on. Even if a fine is eventually served, the penalties (a maximum of £5,000 for letting a property of hazardous condition) are far outweighed by the untaxed profits landlords make.

For law-abiding neighbours squeezed in on all sides by over-development, life can become a misery. Brian and Anne Davies say they have seen their home depreciate by £30,000 following a valuation three months ago, and have lodged numerous complaints with the council. ...

Over in Southall, another part of Ealing blighted by the problem of beds in sheds, derelict outbuildings are sprawled across a labyrinth of alleyways.


A report published today analysing the scope of forced labour in the UK claims the number of migrant workers being exploited is a growing problem. ...

The overcrowded and unregulated conditions are of particular concern to the fire service.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – translation
Police spend £40 million on translators in just three years
Robert Watts
Daily Telegraph, 26 June 2013

Police Forces have spent nearly £40 million on translators for suspects and victims unable to speak English over the past three years, an investigation by this newspaper has established.

London's Metropolitan Police paid out £7.1 million on decifering 97 languages including the African dialects of Wolof, Yoruba and Oromo.

Rural constabularies have also spent substantial sums on language services. Thames Valley Police's bill for translators and interpreters has exceeded £1 million in each of the past three years.

Forces in Kent, Norfolk and Lincolnshire have at times spent more than £400,000 a year on translation.

The figures - obtained using the Freedom of Information Act - expose one of the hidden costs of years of high migration. ...

Some constabularies are already spending as much public money on translating Romanian as they do Polish. Whereas Poles became eligible to work and live in the UK nine years ago, Romanians became entitled to do so from January next year.

Police in Hertfordshire hired Romanian interpreters on 538 occasions during 2011. This was nearly 100 times more than the constabulary hired translators for Polish speakers.

In 2011 Surrey Police spent £39,764 hiring Polish interpreters and a further £39,648 on Romanian interpreters. ...

Greater Manchester Police spent £1.5 million on translators between 2010 and 2012. The force said it will "usually engage with 72 languages" each year, including a range of dialects from the subcontinent such as Marathi, Telugu, Sylheti.

Over three financial years between 2009 and 2012, Police in Cambridgeshire paid out £1.8 million to translate languages such as the Philippine dialect of Tagalog, Jamaican Patois and Amharic, which is spoken in parts of Ethiopia.

Suffolk Police's spending on telephone translation services last year came in at £26,702 – 30 per cent over budget. The force also spent more than £200,000 on interpreters.

The Telegraph received responses from 35 police authorities. Forces in Hampshire, Northumbria and South Wales refused to handover any details on their spending on interpreters and translators. ...

Last week official figures showed that foreign workers account for more than half of the rise in employment in Britain over the past year.

The Office for National Statistics also said that 112,000 people who were born in Bulgaria or Romania are now working in Britain – a 14 per cent rise on the same period in 2012.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – economic benefits
The truth about immigration: it's good for Britain
Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP for Croydon Central
Daily Telegraph, 20 June 2013

Last week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development published a report which showed that immigration makes a positive contribution to the public finances of many countries, including the UK. Yes, you read that right: migrants in the UK pay more in tax than they consume in public services (that's not true of every migrant of course, but collectively they make a net contribution). Without them, we would have to make further cuts to public services or pay higher taxes or both. ...

Of course, that's not the story we're told by parts of our media or in the "pass it on" emails we receive, but it's the truth. And coming on top of the Office for Budget Responsibility's analysis that immigration adds to economic growth, it is further confirmation of the economic case for immigration.

Despite all the evidence, the anti-immigration lobby can't bring themselves to admit this. They want you to believe that immigration is a bad thing, when in truth it has benefits as well as costs. They know that if they admitted the truth, fewer people would support their position, as a recent poll for Migration Matters (which I co-chair) confirmed. Nonsense, they say, there is no evidence that immigration increases GDP per head. But this is a straw man. GDP per head is essentially a measure of productivity. Nobody is claiming immigration significantly increases that. What the evidence shows is that it boosts GDP itself – the size of our economy. And because migrants tend to be younger and more economically active than the population as a whole (this is of course a generalisation – the reality is that some types of immigration are more economically beneficial than others, of which more shortly), it also helps us deal with our debt problem at least in the short to medium term.

So what does this all mean in terms of our immigration policy? Well it doesn't mean that we should just return to Labour's policy of allowing net migration of hundreds of thousands of people a year. As a constituency MP in a part of south London that has seen very rapid demographic change in recent years, I am well aware of the scale of public concern about this issue. And the economic arguments are not the only things we need to consider. ...

What it does mean though is that we need a more nuanced debate. What is the right balance to strike between these competing concerns and what types of migration are of most benefit to the country? ... What my constituents are rightly concerned about is uncontrolled migration from within the EU, abuse of the student and family routes by people who are actually coming here looking for work, low-skilled migrants who compete with our unemployed for work and drive down wages in certain sectors of the economy and all the people who are here illegally.

The Prime Minister rightly says that the biggest challenge facing this country is how to win in the global race. We have to find a way to earn a living in an increasingly competitive world. Allowing the best and the brightest from around the world to come and study and work here can help us do that. So yes let's make sure we have control of our borders, yes let's tackle abuse, yes let's talk about how many people and who we should allow to move here – but don't let's delude ourselves that immigration is always bad news.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – OECD
Immigration Costs Are Overstated, Study Finds
David Jolly
New York Times, 13 June 2013

Public debate about immigration is being distorted by unfounded concerns over the financial burden that new arrivals put on governments, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report Thursday.

Across the developed world, "the fiscal impact of immigration is close to zero," the organization said in the report, which compares the costs of immigration internationally. "The current impact of the cumulative waves of migration that arrived over the past 50 years is just not that large," it added, "whether on the positive or negative side."

The O.E.C.D., which is based in Paris, noted that over the decade 2001-2011, immigration was responsible for 40 percent of the population growth in member countries. ...

"Immigrants contribute more in tax and social contributions than they get in individual benefits," said Jean-Christophe Dumont, the O.E.C.D. official who headed the study. "That's why the net fiscal impact is mostly positive."

"The public perception is that they take much more out than they put in," he said, "but that's just not the case."

That message, however, has largely failed to sink in, the O.E.C.D. found, partly because some children of immigrants perform poorly in school and the job market and need government aid. In other cases, politicians find it easy to stereotype immigrants for political gain.

While the study did not address the question of illegal immigration, Mr. Dumont said that "in most cases," such migrants are net contributors, since they pay many taxes but have limited access to public services like education and health. ...

The organization's 34 members include most of the developed world nations, but exclude important emerging economies like China, Russia, India and Brazil. ... ...

The O.E.C.D. study found that the average age of immigrant populations affected their fiscal impact: The younger the immigrants, the greater the positive contribution. In a country like the United States, with a young immigrant base and relatively weak social welfare net, the positive impact is great, the study found. By contrast, in Germany, where the immigrant base is skewed toward people who arrived in the 1970s and are now retiring, the picture is more negative.

Asia, largely China and India, was the source of 36 percent of all immigration to O.E.C.D. countries in 2011, the study found. China, with 10.3 percent of all immigration to O.E.C.D. nations, was the largest source, while India, at 4.7 percent, ranked fourth. Within Europe, Romania, at 6 percent, ranked second, while Poland, at 5.3 percent, ranked third.

The total number of Chinese-born immigrants in just four O.E.C.D. countries – the United States, Britain, France and Australia – doubled between 2001 and 2011, from 1.3 million to 2.6 million. But as the overall number rose, the skill level of those immigrants increased, with 51 percent holding a college degree in 2011, up from 43 percent in 2001. The story over that period was similar for Indian immigrants in those countries, with their numbers rising to 2.5 million from 1.5 million, and the share with college degrees rising to 65 percent from 55 percent.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, European Union's rules
Analysis: Losing the 'right to reside test' could cost the UK economy up to £2bn a year, as EU says it 'discriminates against migrants'
James Slack
Daily Mail, 31 May 2013

The row over benefits centres on two of the most explosive issues in British politics: welfare and immigration.

In 1994, the then Tory government introduced a so-called 'habitual residence' test to limit the number of state hand-outs available to migrants.

It stated that, in order to qualify for means-tested support, a person must have a job, be self-employed, a student, actively seeking work or have enough funds to support themselves.

This test, which was applied to UK nationals, was considered by Brussels to comply with EU rules on free movement.

The controversy centres on a second rule, called the 'right to reside test', introduced by Labour in 2004 to prevent benefit tourism when the EU expanded to eastern Europe in 2004.

It states that the economically inactive, who are neither in work nor seeking work, must be self-sufficient if they want to live in the UK. They are banned from receiving income support, income-related employment and support allowance, income-related jobseekers allowance, pension credit, housing benefit and child benefit.

The EU says the rules are discriminatory and therefore illegal because British citizens automatically pass the right to reside test.

The cost to the UK taxpayer of lifting the controls is hard to quantify as it depends how many jobless migrants will move here specifically to claim benefits. However, ministers consider the worst case scenario to be £2 billion. Even if no new migrants arrive, the bill for lifting restrictions on those already here will be £155 million a year.

The political ramifications of the EU's decision to drag Britain to court could be huge.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, European Union's rules
Iain Duncan Smith says he'll fight EU demands over migrants' entitlement to benefits
James Tapsfield
The Independent, 30 May 2013

Iain Duncan Smith has vowed to fight European Commission demands to ease restrictions on immigrants' access to benefits.

A source close to the Work and Pensions Secretary insisted he would not "cave in" to legal action over the right-to-reside test imposed on nationals from EU member states.

The check is said to be discriminatory because it goes beyond the standard eligibility criteria for welfare payments.

The Commission is set to make a formal announcement later, but Mr Duncan Smith has indicated he will "see them in court" if they try to strike out the test.

"He will not be dictated to on what he can and cannot do," the source said. "It is his responsibility to do all that he can to stop abuse and benefit tourism in this country."

A Government spokesman said the right to reside test was a "vital and fair tool" to ensure benefits were only paid to people legally allowed to live in the UK.

Adam Weiss, legal director of the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe centre, who made the original complaint to the Commission, said the UK was unlawfully discriminating against EU citizens by paying benefits to British and Irish citizens but not to EU citizens.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The problem is that there is an extra test which the UK applies. British and Irish citizens always pass this so-called right to reside test but other EU citizens do not always pass that test and as a result they are often refused certain benefits in circumstances when British citizens and Irish citizens would receive them.

"What EU law says is that in relation to these benefits, discrimination based on nationality is prohibited so it is not fair, it is not lawful, to discriminate, to favour British and Irish citizens on the one hand and to discriminate against citizens of other EU member states on the other hand."

But former social security secretary Peter Lilley, who introduced the habitual residence test, said the Commission was "flying in the face of its own rules" as the right-to-reside rule is based on a European directive.

Mr Lilley - now a member of David Cameron's Tory policy board - said the UK tightened up that rule in 2004 based on the directive, under which EU citizens who passed the habitual residence test but were not working would not pass the right-to-reside test and so would not be entitled to benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – multiculturalism, translations
Police spend £40 million on translators in just three years
Robert Watts
Sunday Telegraph, 26 May 2013

Police Forces have spent nearly £40 million on translators for suspects and victims unable to speak English over the past three years, an investigation by this newspaper has established.

London's Metropolitan Police paid out £7.1 million on deciphering 97 languages including the African dialects of Wolof, Yoruba and Oromo.

Rural constabularies have also spent substantial sums on language services. Thames Valley Police's bill for translators and interpreters has exceeded £1 million in each of the past three years.

Forces in Kent, Norfolk and Lincolnshire have at times spent more than £400,000 a year on translation.

The figures – obtained using the Freedom of Information Act - expose one of the hidden costs of years of high migration.

They emerge after the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles deplored the use of translators by local authorities and said he wanted all people who live in Britain to speak English as their "first and predominant" language.

Some constabularies are already spending as much public money on translating Romanian as they do Polish. Whereas Poles became eligible to work and live in the UK nine years ago, Romanians became entitled to do so from January next year.

Police in Hertfordshire hired Romanian interpreters on 538 occasions during 2011. This was nearly 100 times more than the constabulary hired translators for Polish speakers.

In 2011 Surrey Police spent £39,764 hiring Polish interpreters and a further £39,648 on Romanian interpreters.

Greater Manchester Police spent £1.5 million on translators between 2010 and 2012. The force said it will "usually engage with 72 languages" each year, including a range of dialects from the subcontinent such as Marathi, Telugu, Sylheti.

Over three financial years between 2009 and 2012, Police in Cambridgeshire paid out £1.8 million to translate languages such as the Philippine dialect of Tagalog, Jamaican Patois and Amharic, which is spoken in parts of Ethiopia.

Suffolk Police's spending on telephone translation services last year came in at £26,702 – 30 per cent over budget. The force also spent more than £200,000 on interpreters.

The Telegraph received responses from 35 police authorities. Forces in Hampshire, Northumbria and South Wales refused to handover any details on their spending on interpreters and translators.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Free-loading foreigners in £70m NHS rip-off: After treatment they fly home without paying
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 22 May 2013

Freeloading foreign patients owe taxpayers almost £70 million in unpaid NHS bills, it emerged yesterday. ...

Health service finance chiefs have little chance of tracing foreign patients who fly home without paying.

And there is evidence the problem is growing. Almost a third of the total, £25 million, has been lost in the past two years alone.

Officials warn that the figures are only the "tip of the iceberg" and the real total debt from health tourism will be much higher. Tory MP Stephen Barclay, who uncovered the figures, said: "Taxpayers support the principle of a healthcare service free at the point of access. But they support a national service, not an international service."

Free NHS hospital treatment is available to British residents. Overseas patients are charged the full cost of any treatment they receive unless a specific exemption applies.

Urgent treatment is always available to overseas visitors, regardless of their residence status or ability to pay, but non-urgent treatment is not supposed to go ahead without the NHS first receiving payment.

The Government recently announced plans to tighten the rules to prevent "inappropriate" access to free hospital treatment by foreign visitors. ...

Last August a Nigerian woman – worried about care standards in her own country – flew from Lagos to Manchester to give birth then returned home owing £10,000 to the NHS.

Two midwives, two urology consultants, a radiology consultant, two obstetric consultants and two anaesthetists helped deliver a healthy baby by emergency caesarean. Two years ago, another Nigerian mother, Bimbo Ayelabola, 35, flew to Britain when she learnt she was pregnant with quintuplets. Her babies were born by caesarean and cared for at Homerton Hospital, in Hackney, east London, at an estimated cost of £200,000.

The woman, who is married to a wealthy businessman, is thought to be still in the UK fighting deportation.

Another case involved a foreign patient who fled after receiving treatment worth £502,815 at Barts Health NHS Trust in London.

The figures released by the Department of Health showed that in 2003, the NHS in England and Wales wrote off £2.1 million in unpaid bills.

In 2008 it wrote off £9 million, and in 2011 it was owed £14 million. The total unpaid last year was £11.5 million.

However, the true figures are much higher as the sums relate only to those patients hospitals know they should charge. Many others who do not qualify for free treatment have not even been identified and some NHS trusts do not keep records of debt.

Foreign governments and embassies are among those who have run up huge bills for treatment.

MPs reported that around 3,600 foreigners a year fail to pay bills of more than £1,000.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
The truth about 'health tourism'
Max Pemberton
Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2013

We all know that the NHS is a finite resource and, like all resources, it is important that it is not wasted or squandered. The fact that foreign nationals are using and abusing the health service we pay for is an affront to our sense, as a nation, of what is fair and just.

Earlier this year, David Cameron announced that foreign nationals' access to the NHS would be restricted, to prevent abuse and to limit "health tourism", whereby people who aren't entitled to free healthcare here travel to the UK specifically in search of it.

The proposed clampdown featured in the Queen's Speech earlier this month. Last week Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall in South London, stoked the fires further by saying that "health tourists" are heading straight from Heathrow to hospital, adding to pressure on accident and emergency departments (A&Es). ...

The Government's proposals display a worrying ignorance of the realities of healthcare delivery. Many conditions – certainly those for which you'd bother to fly to another country to get treatment – if left untreated will deteriorate further. Refuse treatment at the earliest opportunity and their health will get worse until they become an emergency. So, for example, if there is a failure to manage someone's HIV in an outpatient clinic, the disease will progress until they become acutely unwell and are brought into A&E. It's far more expensive to deal with illness when it has got to the life-threatening or emergency stage.

The alternative, of course, is that all areas of the NHS are restricted, but this would be inhumane in my view, and have implications for public health with regard to infectious diseases such as HIV and TB.

But the aspect of the proposals that really alarms me is that it would be doctors who would be policing the changes. ...

And how, exactly, would we check patients' eligibility? What's to stop them lying? Not everyone has a passport. Given the recent NHS computer fiasco, any reliable database is out of the question. ...

Official figures place the cost at around £20 million (out of an NHS budget of £104 billion), although I accept that the true cost is likely to be larger. Last month, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, claimed that the Government currently identifies less than half of those who should be paying, and is collecting payment from less than half of that group.

The fact is that the only reasonable and workable way of ensuring that the NHS is not abused is to make sure that a condition of entry to Britain is the provision of details about how any medical treatment needed will be paid for. By the time individuals not entitled to NHS care arrive in the GP surgery, or are sitting in A&E, it's too late.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – foreign agricultural workers, food prices
Fruit and vegetable prices could rise because of a shortage of cheap foreign workers, government agency warns
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 15 May 2013

The cost of fruit and vegetables will soar unless Britain opens its borders to more foreign workers, it was warned today.

Prices for strawberries and celery in particular could rise, because of a shortage of cheap labour.

The Migration Advisory Committee said supermarkets will be forced to push up prices or import more food, piling pressure on British farmers.

Almost 22,000 Romanians and Bulgarians are employed under the seasonal agricultural workers scheme but it is due to close when access restrictions are lifted at the end of 2013.

British growers fear a shortage of workers could lead to a surge in labour costs and ultimately higher prices for consumers.

Professor David Metcalf, MAC chair, said the Government should consider proposals for a new scheme that targets non-EU workers.

In particular countries which have a high number of agricultural students such as the Ukraine could be targeted. ...

Mr Metcalf said the consequences of a shrinking labour supply include seeing the whole horticulture sector in Britain contract and lead to an increase in technology being used instead of manual labour. ...

The MAC said a lack of seasonal workers was a medium to long term risk with British farmers likely to be able to recruit a sufficient number in the first one to two years after the working restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanians are lifted.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – healthcare
Migrants face ban from the NHS
Macer Hall
Daily Express, 8 May 2013

Migrants are to be banned from free NHS healthcare under measures to combat benefits tourism announced in today's Queen's Speech.

David Cameron wants to halt the defection of Tory votes to Ukip, with immigration at the heart of the Government's agenda to be announced by the Monarch at the State Opening of Parliament today.

The immigration bill seeks to bar access to the NHS for newcomers who have not paid into the system.

Landlords will also have to check the immigration status of tenants or face fines. The bill also risks a new clash with the European Court of Human Rights by seeking to stop migrants from using the "right to a family life" to block deportation.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Immigration: The British public is close to despair
Leo McKinstry
Daily Express, 29 April 2013

... The forces of mass immigration and European integration have created a profound unfairness in our society. Through the benefits system, the NHS, schools, transport and housing, British citizens are required to support vast numbers of new arrivals who by definition have given little or nothing to our nation.

Such a process is not only unaffordable but it also makes a mockery of basic justice. The social contract, by which we used to be governed, was based on the idea that help from the state was provided in return for past contributions or service.

Promoting personal responsibility and social solidarity, it was never meant to be a system that handed out something for nothing. But that is exactly what it does today as our borders and national identity are systematically demolished.

Tragically this problem is certain to worsen in the near future thanks to the European Union's determination to impose its will on our country.

As this paper revealed on Saturday, the EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Lazlo Andor, a Left-wing Hungarian economist, wants to remove all restrictions for EU migrants on access to labour markets and benefits systems.

In Commissioner Andor's brave new world of absolute free movement, the concepts of nationality and kinship will completely disappear. British taxpayers will owe the same obligations to someone from Budapest as they do to someone from Bolton. ... ...

It is nauseating that we should now be told how to run our labour market by an unaccountable, unelected academic who graduated from Karl Marx university in Budapest, runs an obscure Left-wing magazine and is a member of the economic board of the Hungarian Socialist Party. ...

A survey by BBC Newsnight last week showed that around 8 per cent of Romanians and almost 14 per cent of Bulgarians want to come here, a finding that implies the arrival of 2.6 million people from these two countries. That would be an utter disaster for Britain, completely wiping out any recent progress the coalition has made in the reduction of unemployment and the reform of the benefits system. ...

Just as importantly, it is a pernicious myth that all migrants are hard-working. In fact, people from migrant communities are on average more likely to be unemployed than Britons.

Only 29 per cent of Somalis and 46 per cent of Bangladeshis are economically active. In total last year at least 370,000 foreign nationals were on out-of-work benefits, costing more than £2 billion.

Around 10 per cent of the entire social housing stock goes to foreigners, with the proportion in London rising to 20 per cent.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – legal aid
Legal aid curb for foreign migrants
Patrick Hennessy
Sunday Telegraph, 7 April 2013

Foreign migrants are to be banned from obtaining legal aid for civil claims until they have lived in Britain for at least a year. ...

Mr Grayling is to take an axe to criminal legal aid in an effort to limit large taxpayer-funded payments to lawyers. Some leading QCs can receive as much as £500,000 a year from the government for defending suspects.

The Justice Secretary said nobody whose earnings came from the public sector "should reasonably expect" to earn more than the Prime Minister, who is paid £142,000 a year. ...

Ministers will hold a consultation on a proposal to ensure that, in future, new arrivals will not be able to receive legal aid in cases that involve benefits, housing or relationship breakdowns. ...

There are currently no nationality or residence restrictions on civil legal aid. Ministers plan to make it a requirement for solicitors to see documentary evidence of at least 12-month residency before taking on cases.

There will be some exceptions, including serving members of the Armed Forces and their families, and asylum seekers. ...

Mr Grayling said: "There are a number of areas where somebody who comes to this country even on a tourist visa can access civil legal aid. We are going to change that.

"There have been examples of people who have come to the country for extraordinarily short periods of time who have had a relationship breakdown and then they end up in our courts at our expense to determine custody of the children.

"This will exclude people who enter the country illegally, who up to now have been able to access our legal aid system in a way I don't think should ever have happened."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health tourists, NHS
How foreign 'health tourists' are bleeding the NHS dry: Damning whistleblowers' testimony exposes how they fraudulently get free treatment worth hundreds of millions a year
Sue Reid
Daily Mail, 4 April 2013

..., Professor Meirion Thomas of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, has now sent shockwaves through the medical and political establishment with an excoriating public attack on what has become of Bevan's beloved NHS 65 years after its inception.

In a series of explosive articles, ... bravely exposing the scandalous truth about the way thousands upon thousands of foreigners fraudulently come here to get free medicines, care and treatment on the NHS. ...

Professor Thomas has worked in the NHS for 43 years and his verdict on how the service is being bled dry by immigration is damning.

'The rules and regulations laid down by the Department of Health governing eligibility for free NHS care are so porous and difficult to enforce that they can be easily breached,' he said in the Spectator magazine.

He added that overseas patients do not come here for trivial ailments, but for problems which require lengthy and expensive treatment.

'The usual reason is a serious illness recently diagnosed in their home country which has poor or unreliable medical services, or where the best care is expensive and has to be paid for,' he explained. ...

Professor Thomas's article prompted sympathetic responses from other doctors, who praised his courage in speaking out and confirmed the growing problem. ...

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the 'known' cost of the problem was between £10 million and £20 million a year. However, Jeremy Hunt said estimates placed the figure at '£200 million', adding: 'I think it's significantly more than that.'

New figures obtained by the Mail following a number of Freedom of Information requests show the enormous scale of the problem.

They reveal that, in the past two years, patients from Africa, Asia and even the U.S. have been using NHS hospitals throughout Britain, often leaving tens of thousands of pounds in unpaid medical bills each – bills which have to be picked up by the taxpayer. ...

The extraordinary laxity of the system means thousands of health tourists cheat the system easily by coming to Britain to visit relatives who have moved here, then registering with a local GP and slipping into the system.

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Local Medical Committee, ... who represents 500 doctors, said one of his fellow Bedfordshire GPs had 'thousands of patients on his list who entertain friends and relatives from Pakistan, India and other Asian countries and who come to England for the sole purpose of accessing free healthcare. The situation is well recognised as a problem across the country.' ...

One telling response to Professor Thomas's concerns came from an unnamed NHS 'Doctor E' who said he works at a hospital near Heathrow airport.

'If you ask anybody who works in the NHS they will tell you the same thing,' he wrote. 'Every single week I see people who have been flown in from all over the world with a great variety of extremely serious health problems. Many of these people had to be wheel-chaired on to the plane because they were too unwell to walk on board.' ...

'We often have our intensive care unit full of patients without NHS numbers who are there for weeks or months at a time with no means or intention to pay. These people do not have credit cards or health insurance,' he added.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing
One in seven families on homeless benefits are foreign migrants
Martyn Brown
Daily Express, 30 March 2013

Nearly 8,000 foreign migrant families in Britain receive emergency homeless handouts, statistics last night revealed.

That figure – one of seven of the total getting that benefit – has soared by 45 per cent in just two years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

Local councils have a legal duty to house homeless families – but 7,740 migrant families are now put up in council houses and B&Bs, a rise from 5,320 in 2010.

Experts estimate homeless foreigners are costing taxpayers £30 million each year. ...

And a Department for Local Government spokesman revealed: "Half of all the rough sleepers in London are now foreigners, and that is why we need controlled immigration." ...

Town halls will have to stop allowing migrants to jump the queue – last year around 32,000 of the 360,000 available council homes went to foreigners.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – illegal immigration, education
Ministers planning immigration crackdown on 'education tourists'
Shiv Malik and Peter Walker
The Guardian, 28 March 2013

Ministers are considering a plan to require schools to check the immigration status of their pupils, as part of a crackdown on "education tourists".

The policy proposal is being weighed up by ministers who make up the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on migrants' access to benefits and public services, according to a chain of leaked emails written by officials of the Department for Education (DfE) in the past week.

The emails from civil servants advising the IMG – which includes schools minister David Laws and immigration minister Mark Harper – suggest that the group considered banning illegal immigrant children from schools. However, the civil servants warned that the UK would be in contravention of article 28 of the UN convention on the rights of the child if ministers took that step.

One study published last May by Oxford University's centre on migration, policy and society estimated there were 120,000 children living in the UK without legal immigration status. ...

Headteachers warned about the potential of such a proposal to politicise the education process. Lesley Gannon, head of policy at the National Association of Headteachers, said it was "very concerned" about the idea.

She said: "You can't hold children responsible for the behaviours of their parents, it's simply not fair. All of our codes of practice around admissions, behaviour and exclusions have always emphasised that you deal with the child and not the parents in terms of their access to education and their treatment within the school. We wouldn't want to see anything jeopardise that.

"It's also really worrying to start to drag schools into politics in this way. Yes, we are public servants, part of the state, but once you put that process in place, I'd suggest you're encouraging parents who are worried about their immigration status to avoid putting their children into school, to avoid detection. That puts the educational rights of that child at risk." ...

The most recent email in the chain, sent on Monday, suggested that examining the migration status of children before they were admitted to school would be a helpful step if ministers decided at a later date to ban them from compulsory education.

"Barring children, whatever their migrant status, from compulsory education has pretty much been ruled out by ministers and at the moment is off the table for cross-government discussions. The question now is whether, if not to enforce a ban, it would nevertheless be helpful to carry out migrant status checks as part of school admissions," the email said.

In a third email, another civil servant warned that although "strategies could probably be employed to deal with 'education tourists', in much the same [way] as 'health tourists' are managed," withdrawing education from illegal immigrant children would throw up legal and logistical problems.

A fourth civil servant said: "If we were to withdraw the right of education from any children in the UK, regardless of their status, we would be hugely criticised for it by the UN ... This would be very controversial."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Migrants must get benefits say EU: Brussels threatens to stop new crackdown
Martyn Brown
Daily Express, 26 March 2013

Meddling European officials threatened to block David Cameron's crackdown on benefits for migrants yesterday.

Minutes after the Prime Minister announced a purge on benefit tourism, the Eurocrats said they would "scrutinise" them for fairness.

They warned that his proposals – including restrictions on housing, health and unemployment support – must comply with EU free movement rules.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing
Foreigners 'can qualify for state-subsidised mortgages'
Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 26 March 2013

Analysis of plans set out by Chancellor George Osborne to make it cheaper for people to take out loans shows that people from inside and outside the European can qualify.

In an analysis published by a leading law firm, asked: "Can EU and non EU residents get government mortgages?" It replied: "Likely to be yes – [it] could be political if non EU residents get government funding."

David Anderson, a partner at SykesAnderson, said human rights rules would make it impossible to stop foreigners from taking advantage of the scheme.

Mr Anderson said: "It would be difficult to stop EU nationals and EU residents, or you would be stopping the free movement of labour.

"If someone wants to come to work here and they could not access the same finance as English person, it would be a case for discrimination because it would prevent them from moving here." ...

Government figures suggest 190,000 people a year will benefit from the scheme, under which buyers would be able to provide a mortgage deposit of as little as 5 per cent, and the Government will underwrite 15 per cent of its value.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
David Cameron talks tough over European migrants' benefits
BBC, 25 March 2013

Europeans will have to prove they are "genuinely seeking employment" to claim UK jobless benefits for more than six months, David Cameron has said.

The prime minister said it was among measures to ensure people came to the UK "for the right reasons" after it became a "soft touch" under Labour.

But Bulgaria's UK ambassador said the UK's rules were already seen in his country as "very restrictive".

Labour warned against an "arms race on immigration rhetoric".

Migrants from the European Economic Area - the EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway - currently have to show they have a "reasonable chance" of finding a job to receive unemployment benefit for more than six months.

Downing Street said they would now face a more rigorous test to assess whether they had a "realistic prospect" of getting a job, with the ability to speak English one of the criteria.

In his speech in Ipswich, the prime minister said there were "concerns, deeply held, that some people might be able to come and take advantage of our generosity without making a proper contribution to our country".

"These concerns are not just legitimate; they are right and it is a fundamental duty of every mainstream politician to address them."

No 10 was unable to give any figures on the scale, cost and numbers of so-called benefit tourists, although Department for Work and Pensions figures suggest 17% of working-age UK nationals claim a benefit, compared with 7% of working age non-UK nationals.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – housing, welfare benefits
New migrants will not get free housing, warns David Cameron as Prime Minister stakes out ground for next election
Brian Brady
The Independent, 24 March 2013

David Cameron will signal his determination to make immigration a key election issue tomorrow, when he pledges to stop new migrants getting taxpayer-funded homes as soon as they arrive in the UK.

The Prime Minister will use a high-profile speech on immigration to announce plans that will force councils to bar migrants from social housing waiting lists until they have been in the country for up to five years. The proposal will form part of a government-wide crackdown on new migrants' access to the benefits system and welfare services, including the National Health Service. ...

Mr Cameron's dramatic intervention, days after Nick Clegg said migrants from "high-risk" countries should only be allowed into the UK if they pay a deposit of at least £1,000, reinforces the expectation that the main parties are preparing to trade blows over immigration in the run-up to the general election in 2015. Labour has already admitted that it failed to heed voters' concerns over rising immigration when it was in office. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, yesterday told activists that the failing was one of several mistakes made by the Labour government which he had since tried to rethink. ...

"At present almost one in 10 new social lettings go to foreign nationals," a Downing Street source said yesterday. "We want to ensure that we remove any expectation that new migrants can expect the British taxpayer to give them a home on arrival.

"We will introduce an expectation through statutory guidance on councils to introduce a local residency test in determining who should qualify for social housing. Someone would have to live in an area for between two and five years before they could even go on the waiting list." ...

But Jan Brulc, of the Migrants' Rights Network, said the proposals, and the escalating rhetoric, endangered the well-being of millions of immigrants who already live in the United Kingdom. ...

The shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant, dismissed the proposals. He said: "It is all very well Mr Cameron coming up with grand plans, but since he came to power, fewer illegal immigrants have been stopped at our borders, fewer foreign criminals have been deported and more people have absconded from Heathrow airport.

"If he is not looking after the nitty-gritty of this issue, he cannot command the trust of the British people."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – education, student loans
EU students '10 times more likely to avoid repaying loans'
Graeme Paton
Daily Telegraph, 23 March 2013

Almost a quarter of European students who borrowed cash to study at British universities have disappeared without making repayments, figures suggest, prompting fears that hundreds of millions of pounds in loans may be written off.

Data obtained by the Telegraph shows that 22 per cent of students from EU member states awarded Government loans up to 2010 had "not been traced" after graduation.

Research published by the House of Commons library suggests these students are around 10-times more likely to fall through the cracks in the system than British graduates.

The disclosure comes just weeks after figures showed that almost £400 million in Government loans had been made to students from mainland Europe in the last six years.

Students from countries such as Germany, France, Cyprus, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria borrowed more than £100m from taxpayers to study in Britain in 2010/11 alone. ...

Parliamentary research – carried out for James Clappison, the Conservative MP for Hertsmere – analysed EU students who claimed loans up to 2010. ...

Controversially, the study also revealed that EU students were "much more likely to have not been traced" after graduating, with 22 per cent failing to notify the Student Loans Company of their whereabouts.

This compares with just two per cent of all borrowers.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – foreign doctors
Allowed to work in the NHS, the doctors guilty of abuses abroad
Ben Leach and Laura Donnelly
Sunday Telegraph, 17 March 2013

More than 130 foreign doctors have been able to work in Britain despite being found guilty of misconduct abroad.

A Sunday Telegraph investigation has found that scores of medics have been able to practise in NHS hospitals even though regulators in their home country have taken action against them. ...

Data from the General Medical Council (GMC), obtained using Freedom of Information laws, shows that since 2006 it has become aware of 138 cases of doctors who were allowed to work in this country despite records of misconduct abroad and, in some cases, criminal convictions.

The cases came to the attention of the authorities only following tip-offs from patients, other doctors or overseas regulators, and experts warn that the number is likely to be the "tip of the iceberg", with other foreign medics with similar records still working here undetected.

The experts say the figures highlight "alarming" loopholes in measures put in place to check the standard of foreign doctors working in Britain. ...

In December an investigation by this newspaper disclosed that three quarters of doctors who were struck off the medical register last year had been trained abroad.

Last month the Government announced new powers that attempted to plug some of the loopholes, by allowing the GMC to test the language skills of medics from European Union states.

Yet doctors who were found guilty of misconduct abroad have still been allowed to work in Britain, often for years. ...

Experts said that in many more cases, a doctor's past could remain hidden, leaving the public at risk.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
A crisis over the UK's benefits bill for EU migrants? What crisis?
Jonathan Portes
The Guardian, 6 March 2013

Do migrants, especially those from within the European Union, get a better deal in Britain than they would elsewhere in the EU? And do they therefore impose a disproportionate burden on UK taxpayers? The answer to the first question is yes, at least compared with some countries, because of the nature of the UK benefit system. But despite this, the answer to the second is a definitive no. ...

The UK benefit system is indeed relatively friendly to migrants from within the EU. ... And given that our benefit system, for those of working age, is now mostly means-tested – that is, based on income and residence, not contributions – that means EU citizens do better here than they would in some other countries, such as Germany, that have more contributory systems, as Dominic Raab pointed out in the Times.

Similarly, the NHS, unlike in many continental European systems that have some element of co-payment, is generally free at the point of use for all residents. And the combination of child benefit and child tax credits is considerably more generous than, say, Italy, where benefits are lower and fall away sharply with income.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as that. The UK has far from the most generous social security system in Europe, both in terms of benefit levels and overall spending. In France, for example, unemployment benefits are considerably higher for most people than they are in the UK, while contribution conditions are, if anything, somewhat weaker; ...

So, overall, the picture is mixed, but certainly some migrants – especially those from the relatively poor new member states – do better here than they would at home. But that doesn't mean British taxpayers are the losers from migration. Quite the opposite. All the evidence suggests that migrants – especially migrants from the new EU member states – are net contributors to the public purse, not a drain. The most comprehensive study on this topic found that the latter paid in via taxes about 30% more than they cost our public services. In particular, they were far less likely to claim benefits and tax credits, and far less likely to live in social housing.

Focusing more specifically on the benefit system, the contrast becomes even starker. Raab claims that there are more than half a million "unemployed" EU citizens in the UK (compared with the national total of about 2.5 million). This is wrong: there are half a million EU citizens who are not in work, but some are retired, and some out of the labour market for other reasons. By Raab's definition, there would be more than 15 million unemployed Britons! In fact, employment rates for EU citizens – especially those from the new member states – are considerably higher than for the UK-born.

And even those who aren't working are considerably less likely than those born in the UK to claim benefits. According to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), of the roughly 1.8 million people from elsewhere in the EU of working age, about 90,000 are claiming an "out of work benefit", or about 5%. That compares with about 13% for natives. Equally, migrants from outside the EU are much less likely to claim benefits than natives. And as for Bulgarians and Romanians, although there are already at least 140,000 in the UK, neither shows up in the top 20 countries of origin for foreign benefit claimants, suggesting the numbers to date are minimal.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, politics
EU migration: taking the Ukip road
The Guardian, 6 March 2013
[Leading article]

Army generals are sometimes accused of preparing to fight the last war rather than the next. The Conservative party seems to be heading down a similar path. Since the Eastleigh byelection, the party and its press supporters have been refighting the byelection they wish, in retrospect, they had fought last week. Ministers, backbenchers and commentators are falling over themselves to appeal to the Ukip voters who pushed the Tories into third place in Eastleigh. Sabre-rattling over Europe, dumping the human rights act, curbs on visas for Brazilians and clamping down on EU migrants' rights to benefits are all part of this reflexive short-sighted response.

These approaches are not just wrong in principle but tactically misconceived. Take the current rush to penalise Romanian and Bulgarian migrants when they are free to come to this country after restrictions expire at the end of this year. To listen to many on the right, you would think that numberless Romanians and Bulgarians will head to Britain in 2014 for the sole purpose of claiming benefits here to which they are indiscriminately entitled.

Yes, there is a policy challenge here for EU nations. Yes, politicians of all parties are under pressure to address it. But the right way to do that is first of all at the European level, with sensible allies (who proved on Tuesday that they inhabit the real world over bankers too), as the government in fact is quietly doing. At home, the right approach is to focus on employers and low-wage no-rights scams, as Labour is doing this week, not to fan demonic visions, or to propose sweeping panic measures that won't work, like ID cards, and which catch everyone in their net.

In fact relatively little of the EU migration fantasy is true. EU nationals do not have an unconditional right to live in another EU nation; they must be in work or have their own resources. They are not automatically entitled to all benefits either; some, like healthcare, are available on the basis of need, while others, like jobseeker's allowance, are based on contributions. The Daily Mail claim that families fresh off the bus from Bucharest will move straight into social housing is simply false. And Britain is far from being the destination of choice for EU migrants. Italy and Spain are expected to be more attractive destinations.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – council housing
Restrictions on council housing central to government plans to deter EU migrants
2dash, 5 March 2013

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is considering plans to give councils the ability to restrict social housing to those with a long-term local connection as part of wider government efforts to deter EU migrants from coming to the UK.

The last Labour government agreed controls on immigration from Bulgaria and Romania when the two countries joined the European Union in 2007, but these expire at the start of next year.

The coalition fears mass immigration from the two countries could put additional pressure on the UK's welfare system, in particular council housing, access to health care and benefit payments.

Ministers are said to be looking at a "huge range" of options "department by department". ...

Some local authorities, such as Westminster, require a 10-year proven local connection for a resident to be given extra points on the housing waiting list, but in reality many access social housing through homelessness routes, or through their children, so making the local connection route less relevant. Under European law, EU citizens cannot be discriminated against.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, meanwhile, is said to be examining whether someone could only be deemed "habitually resident", and therefore entitled to social security benefits, if they have been in the UK for a year, instead of the current three months.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – Romanians
We have been promised benefits, Romanian envoy insists
Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 4 March 2013

Ministers have given secret assurances to the Romanian government that migrants from their country will be able to claim benefits in Britain, it was claimed on Sunday.

Titus Corlatean, the Romanian foreign minister, said that he had "received official assurances from the British Government" that EU rules allowing migrants to claim benefits will be adhered to by the UK. David Cameron has pledged to make the UK the "toughest" country on benefits for foreign migrants.

He wants to ban them from being able to automatically receive legal aid in cases involving benefits, housing and other civil claims.

Ministers are also considering plans to limit the access of foreigners to free health care. Speaking on the Murnaghan programme on Sky News, Mr Corlatean suggested that the Romanian government could take legal action if the UK fails to allow migrants to access benefits.

He said his counterparts in the UK had told him they will "respect" EU directives on the issue.

"If everybody will respect this European legislation I think there is no need to continue this debate on possible legal remedies [or] sanctions," Mr Corlatean said. He added: "We don't speak about the Romanians as migrants, they are European citizens, we are European citizens, we are members of the European Union so we have our legitimate rights according to the EU treaties."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – benefit tourism
William Hague: 'Benefit tourism must end'
BBC, 3 March 2013

"Benefit tourism" must end, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said, ahead of the lifting of work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians.

Mr Hague told the BBC people should not be attracted to the UK just by the benefits available.

He said ministers wanted to remove "artificial, perverse incentives". ...

The government has indicated it wants to tighten the requirements on who is able to claim benefits in the UK and is carrying out a review of access to health, housing and benefits for all migrants.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits, legal aid
David Cameron vows to get tough on freeloading foreigners
Macer Hall and Patrick O'Flynn
Daily Express, 26 February 2013

David Cameron yesterday promised to crack down on the benefits free-for-all for migrants coming to Britain.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Express, the Prime Minister revealed that newcomers are to be banned from claiming legal aid in cases involving benefits, housing and other civil claims.

And the measure – expected to save taxpayers millions of pounds – is the first step in wide-ranging regulations to curb immigrants from getting immediate access to public services and benefits.

"We're a fair country and a welcoming country, but not a soft touch," Mr Cameron said. "Let's make sure that ours is the toughest country instead of the softest." ...

But he reserved his strongest words for a pledge to go far further in cutting annual net immigration.

Promising new curbs on benefits to try to discourage a massive influx from Bulgaria and Romania when border controls are relaxed at the end of the year, he said: "I think the most important thing is to make sure that while you have free movement you are not a soft touch.

"That is why we are going through, in fine detail, our benefits system, our tax system, our health system, our housing system, every aspect of our welfare system."

Mr Cameron's crackdown is designed to save cash from Britain's £2billion annual legal aid bill. ...

The Prime Minister insisted bringing down the annual net flow of immigration – which exceeded 200,000 newcomers a year under Labour – was one of his biggest political motivations.

"Two million people over 10 years net migration into the UK was just much, much too high," he said. "Two hundred thousand a year is like building two cities the size of Birmingham. We were not able to cope with that level of migration and pressure on public services.

"We've seen the level of net migration come down by a quarter over the last two- and-a-half years. I want to see further progress.

"There is an enormous amount of work to be done in looking at what other European countries do. ...

"There are issues about housing, issues about the health service and access to hospitals."
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
NHS foots £1m bill for Polish expectant mothers living in England to return home to give birth thanks to bizarre EU laws
Liz Hull
Daily Mail, 25 February 2013

British taxpayers are forking out almost £1 million a year for pregnant Polish women to go home and give birth in their native country, it emerged yesterday.

Under European Union rules, set up to provide emergency healthcare between member states, hundreds of Polish women are returning to their families to have their children, with the NHS picking up the bill.

Last year around 500 Poles living in the UK went back to their native land to give birth.

Given that the average cost to the NHS per birth is £1,631, Polish births alone cost the British taxpayer around £850,000 in 2012.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Free riding foreigners: the next NHS scandal. We heal the world – and you pay for it
J. Meirion Thomas
The Spectator, 23 February 2013
[Professor J. Meirion Thomas is a consultant surgeon with the NHS]

A fundamental and enduring principle of the NHS is that it is 'free at the point of use'. ... The consequence of such altruism – all at the UK taxpayer's expense – is health tourism and abuse of the NHS by ineligible patients. ...

The rules and regulations laid down by the Department of Health governing eligibility for free NHS care are so porous, ineffective and difficult to enforce that they can be easily breached by would-be patients motivated enough to try. Those patients don't come for the trivial stuff; the usual reason is a serious illness recently diagnosed in a country with poor or unreliable medical services – or where the best care is expensive and has to be paid for. The illness will probably require lengthy and resource-intensive treatment. Any health tourist planning to breach the rules of entitlement will find that the Department of Health's online guide – 'Eligibility for free hospital treatment under the NHS' – provides the essential information and identifies the loopholes. ...

At this point, where does the doctor stand with regard to 'Good Medical Practice' as defined and enforced by the General Medical Council? Their document states that every patient has the right to privacy and to confidentiality. So if a potentially ineligible patient has been overlooked by the screening system and is first identified by a doctor, should the doctor report their suspicion, bearing in mind that the patient will know how they had been exposed? If the patient is deemed to be eligible on appeal, which is usually the case, then the doctor may have to defend a charge of professional misconduct and risk the opprobrium of their Trust.

The Department of Health has abrogated its duties by delegating responsibility to individual hospitals. But the 'Eligibility Officers' at each hospital have a near impossible task, because the guidelines they have to follow are vague and open to interpretation. Moreover, ineligible patients are often familiar with the guidelines and can exploit their ambiguities. ...

What if you are not a citizen of the EU? A bit more difficult, but not insurmountable. A valid visitor's visa will allow you to obtain GP services and an NHS number legally. From there, with some initiative and persistence, it is not too difficult a step to access expensive and long-term medical care.

There is also anecdotal evidence that is even more frightening but undoubtedly true. There are stories of heavily pregnant women arriving in the UK because childbirth qualifies for emergency care and the child would be British, thereby providing the mother with residency rights. There are tales of families relocating because a child has severe congenital or acquired illness and of large numbers of patients with HIV coming to the UK because that is their only hope of getting effective treatment. There are even stories of patients landing at Heathrow in kidney failure and being blue-lighted to hospital for dialysis. ...

What is the solution? We must have an 'NHS passport' to prove eligibility for free and unlimited care. This could be either physical or virtual but must include a photograph or a biometric scan to protect against fraud. ... ...

William Beveridge and Aneurin Bevan would be outraged by the abuse of their flagship social reform and on such a scale.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – welfare benefits
Immigrants must live in Britain for a year before claiming benefits, says welfare minister
Tim Ross
Daily Telegraph, 18 February 2013

Migrants from the European Union will be forced to live in Britain for up to a year before they can claim benefits, under plans outlined by Iain Duncan Smith, the welfare minister. ...

One key measure he hoped to strengthen will be the "habitual residency test", which sets out the minimum amount of time for which migrants must live in Britain before they can become eligible for benefits.

The minister said the rules were already "reasonably tight" in Job Centres. However, he was "looking at" further reforms so that individuals will need to show they have a lease on a home "of nine-months to a year, rather than just a matter of months".

Some benefits may be classified as "contributory", he said, suggesting that individuals may be entitled to receive payments only if they had paid enough tax and national insurance first. ...

However, he faces a fight with the EU, which is attempting to prevent Britain applying the residency test to migrants from elsewhere in Europe. ...

The minister said he also wanted to stop immigrants sending UK child benefit payments, which are more generous than the European average, to their families in their home countries.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Migrants may have to register to use public services
Rowena Mason, James Kirkup and Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 15 February 2013

Immigrants from the European Union could be made to register before being eligible for British public services, a minister has said.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, said that ministers are examining options for a "mandatory register" for European nationals who want to use British services.

He made the disclosure after David Cameron said foreigners are taking advantage of the NHS and should only get free treatment if they have been paying taxes.

The Coalition is under political pressure over the potential arrival in Britain next year of Romanian and Bulgarian workers when restrictions on their movement lapse. Mr Harper said that such arrivals could be forced to register as British residents before being able to use services.

Mr Harper told ITV: "It's certainly an idea we are looking at. Some other EU countries already have a mandatory register for access to public services and we're looking at the costs and benefits to see if it's sensible."

The Prime Minister earlier said the health service should not automatically be free for foreigners from outside the EU. ...

At the moment GPs must treat almost anybody who comes into their surgery. New guidance was issued last year stipulating that "nationality is not relevant" when it comes to registration, and stating doctors had to register those from anywhere on the globe to "promote human rights and public health".

GPs point out that once a foreigner patient has registered, hospital staff hardly ever check whether they are also entitled to more specialist NHS care.

In 2010 a Department of Health report found that health tourism was costing the NHS at least £10 million a year in unrecovered costs, although doctors believe the true figure is far higher because most goes undetected.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – child benefits
Migrants handed £1m a week for children back home as thousands of British families are stripped of THEIR child benefit
James Slack
Daily Mail, 4 February 2013

Britain is giving EU immigrants £1 million a week in handouts for children who live abroad.

The payments include child benefit – which was stripped from more than one million British families last month.

The bill is likely to rise still further when Romanians and Bulgarians get free access to the UK jobs market on January 1.

Critics said it was 'absurd' to carry on sending money to countries such as Poland when families were losing out at home.

Overall, there are 24,082 child benefit awards currently being made, in respect of 40,171 children, according to a study.

EU citizens are also pocketing child tax credits on behalf of youngsters who are living overseas.

It costs the taxpayer an astonishing £55 million a year to fund this system, which is only replicated in four other EU countries. The other 22 nations require the child to be resident in order to qualify.

UK payments relate to cases where migrants have moved to Britain, but left their children at home. When they arrive in the UK, they register with HM Revenue & Customs for the benefit. ...

Two-thirds of the children – 25,659 – for whom child benefit is paid are based in Poland. Child benefit paid for children living overseas costs the taxpayer £36.6 million per year, while child tax credit costs £18.6 million per year.

The figures emerged in a report by the campaign group Migrationwatch, which was based on Treasury figures given in a parliamentary written answer. ...

In Opposition, the Tories wanted to end the payments to migrants, but they have carried on paying the benefit while in power.

The party's then Treasury spokesman, Philip Hammond, said in 2009: 'With Britain facing a debt crisis and the Government's child poverty strategy in tatters, it beggars belief that Gordon Brown is continuing to send millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to children who don't even live in this country.'
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – education
Britain hands over £100m to Polish students
Graeme Paton
Daily Telegraph, 2 February 2013

More than £100 million of taxpayers' money has been awarded to Polish students over the last five years to allow them to take degree courses in the UK, official figures show. ...

But it is feared that many students may return to Poland after graduating and fail to pay the money back – leaving a multi-million pound black-hole in the public finances. ...

Data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by students at Westminster University showed that £102.8m worth of loans had been provisionally awarded to Polish nationals between 2008/9 and 2012/13.

Some 23,500 separate applications for loans had been made over the period, although many students may have applied in more than one year.

Of those, around six-in-10 borrowers were living in Poland or elsewhere in Europe, while the remainder were already in the UK.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – child benefits
50,000 children overseas getting child benefit and tax credit, Treasury admits
Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2013

Nearly 50,000 children who are living overseas are receiving child benefit and tax credits because of European Union regulations, it has emerged.

Figures published by the Treasury showed that 40,171 children living in another member state in Europe were receiving child benefit at the end of last month.

Another 6,838 were receiving "ongoing child tax credit awards" while living in another EU country.

More than half of the children – 25,659 – were living in Poland. ...

The payments are worth tens of millions a year and come as the Government is cutting benefits paid to millions of Britons.

Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the Home Affairs select committee who obtained the figures said: "I am very surprised at this figure. Most people would consider it wrong for people to receive child benefit when the children are living abroad permanently."

Around 7.5 million families are currently claiming child benefit for around 13 million children, while 5.2 million families are receiving the child tax credit for almost 9.3 million children.

Treasury minister Sajid Javid said: "The main purpose of child benefit and the child tax credit is to support families in the UK. Consequently, the rules for these benefits generally do not provide for them to be paid in respect of children who live abroad."

He said the UK was forced to pay out the sums to children living overseas under EC Regulation 883/2004 which "protects the social security rights of nationals of all member states of the European economic area".
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – health services
Migrants with no medical insurance 'won't get NHS care': Minister's tough stance on new influx from the East
James Chapman
Daily Mail, 29 January 2013

Migrants from Romania and Bulgaria who travel to Britain without a job are to be told they must have private medical insurance to prevent the NHS becoming an 'international health service'.

Immigration minister Mark Harper told the Daily Mail that limiting access to free healthcare is seen as key to preventing a fresh influx of migrants when controls are lifted at the end of this year.

He suggested the requirement for medical insurance would apply to all student incomers and those who claim they are 'self-sufficient', meaning they are not coming looking immediately for work.

Ministers are also examining incomers' rights to benefits and other public services. Other measures under discussion include requiring migrants to leave Britain if they fail to secure a job after three months – or cannot prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves for at least six months. ...

It is unclear how the proposals would work in practice but it is likely NHS staff would be asked to check healthcare entitlements when migrants first came into contact with the NHS.

But restrictions on access to free healthcare are likely to run into opposition from some doctors, who resent the idea they should act as another branch of the immigration service. ...

The NHS has written off debts of at least £35 million incurred by foreign national patients since 2002.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – tax credits, benefit fraud, crime
Number of foreigners claiming tax credits 'unknown', ministers admit
Robert Winnett
Daily Telegraph, 1 January 2013

Ministers have admitted that they do not know how many foreigners are claiming tax credits after the Work and Pensions Secretary said that the system was being targeted by fraudsters from "around the world".

David Gauke, the Treasury minister, recently said that "nationality is not a condition of entitlement" and was therefore not recorded under the system established by Gordon Brown.

However, the Coalition has disclosed that the tax credits are paid to support almost 6,000 children living abroad. It does not know how much taxpayers' money is being paid to the foreign-based families, who are entitled to the British handouts under European law.

The admission came after Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, disclosed that taxpayers have lost at least £10 billion to illicit welfare claimants and fraudsters from "around the world" targeting Britain's tax credit system. ...

Last year, Mr Duncan Smith's department disclosed that 370,000 immigrants were claiming out-of-work benefits – and hundreds of thousands more are thought to be receiving tax credits.
[Site link]


Benefits and costs – social housing
Social Housing in London: What is the True Story?
Migrationwatch UK, 1 January 2013

There have long been suspicions that the public have not been told the full story about the impact of immigration on the queues for social housing. Research by Migrationwatch into the situation in London, published today, confirms that there are important questions to be answered. It finds that less than half the new lets by London councils included the nationality of the tenant.

The housing crisis that has developed in London means that the waiting list is ten times the number of new lets each year. That means that many, especially those with smaller families, will never get into social housing. One fifth of all social housing in London is occupied by foreign nationals yet there has been little public debate on who should get social housing.


It is important to be clear that the debate should be about foreign nationals, not the foreign born. Many of the latter have become British citizens and, of course, should be treated like any other British citizen. However, foreign nationals are those who have not even been in Britain long enough to qualify or who do not wish to become citizens.

There can be no debate without the facts yet there are serious gaps in the information available. One third of new lets by London's Local Authorities are not even recorded in the official CORE data [Continuous Recording of Sales and Lettings] while others submit data but without the nationality of new tenants. Indeed, four London councils who, together, own a quarter of London's local authority owned stock do not submit any information at all.

It is particularly striking that, when two other London Councils were challenged by Migrationwatch, the nationality data virtually disappeared in the returns that they submitted to the government the following year.
[Site link]



Bias – BBC
BBC is too big, too left-wing and ignored critics of immigration and Brussels, former head of news admits
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 8 November 2013

The BBC is too big and too left wing and should lose some of its licence fee, the Corporation's former head of TV news has warned.

Roger Mosey claimed the BBC had wrongly kept critics of Brussels, benefits and immigration off the airwaves and veered to the left on many issues.

He said it would 'enrich the nation' if rival commercial broadcasters had access to some of the licence fee to take on the BBC's dominance. ...

Mr Mosey, who was head of BBC Television News and oversaw the BBC's coverage of the London Olympics, said there should be a debate about how the next licence fee settlement 'helps pluralism and diversity'.

Writing in The Times, Mr Mosey said that while the corporation faced widespread competition in network television, its market share of 70 per cent of all news consumption on both TV and radio was something that 'even long-term loyalists find uncomfortable'. ...

Mr Mosey said: "On the BBC's own admission, in recent years it did not, with the virtue of hindsight, give enough space to anti-immigration views or to EU-withdrawalists; and, though he may have exaggerated, the former Director-General Mark Thompson spoke of a 'massive bias to the left' in the BBC he joined more than 30 years ago.

'I share Mark's view that there was more internal political diversity in recent times, but that isn't enough unless it's evident in a wider range of editorial view on air.'

Editors' views are 'influenced by like-minded peers' and co-ordination of policies across programmes can lead to homogeneity, he warned.

'That can be intensified by regulation that sees there being "right" and "wrong" answers.
[Site link]


Bias – politics, USA
IRS Gave Black Nonprofits Preferential Treatment
Paul Sperry
Investor's Business Daily, 9 September 2013

At the same time the IRS harassed Republican nonprofit groups during the 2012 political campaign, it selectively advised black churches and other Democrat nonprofits on how far they can go in campaigning for President Obama and other Democrats. ...

But that same year, top officials with both the IRS and Justice Department – including the IRS commissioner and attorney general – met in Washington with several dozen prominent black church ministers representing millions of voters to brief them on how to get their flocks out to vote without breaking federal tax laws.

The "summit" on energizing the black vote in houses of worship was hosted by the Democrat-controlled Congressional Black Caucus inside the U.S. Capitol on May 30, 2012.

The day before the special IRS training session, then-Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver predicted Obama would get 95% of the African-American vote – but only if black pastors "encourage" them to get to the polls. (He ended up getting over 93% of the black vote.)

At the time, many African-Americans were unhappy that Obama came out in support of gay marriage. So Democrats gathered them in Washington for a "pep talk," which included assurances their tax exemption would be safe if they helped deliver the vote.

It's not clear if the White House helped organize the unusual event, but two key Cabinet members – Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman – both spoke at length to the black church leaders. ...

U.S. tax code prohibits churches and other nonprofits from "participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office."

The ban includes donations, endorsements, fundraising or any other activity "that may be beneficial or detrimental to any particular candidate." In the past, black churches have been known to pass out voting guides to members in violation of IRS rules.

Washington constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley at the time blogged that the special campaign training session offered these Obama supporters – with the direct participation of the IRS chief and attorney general – was a "raw" display of political favoritism.

"If (former GOP Attorney General) Alberto Gonzalez went to Congress to brief evangelical religious leaders on campaigning in the presidential election, the hue and cry would be deafening," Turley said.

Non-black clergy were not afforded the same legal training in campaigning tactics by the Obama administration.

At the time, Turley did not know that the IRS had targeted GOP donors and nonprofits opposed to the president or that it had temporarily suspended tax audits of churches, which it publicly announced just prior to the election. ...

Perhaps more disturbing, Turley remarked, is that the two federal law enforcement officials who would be the ultimate decision-makers in future cases involving IRS tax fraud and exemption violations were front and center in counseling tax-exempt groups that might bump up against those laws.
[Site link]


Bias – Martin Luther King, USA
If the tabloids had been around in his day, 'Dr' Martin Luther King would be in big trouble
Damian Thompson
Telegraph blog, 28 August 2013

Martin Luther King was a hero but he was certainly no saint. If he'd had to face aggressive tabloids and gossip websites, his career would have been destroyed – as, of course, would John F Kennedy's.

Let's begin with the real career-killer: he plagiarised his doctoral thesis from Boston University. ...

A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University concluded today that the Rev Martin Luther King Jr plagiarized passages in his dissertation for a doctoral degree at the university 36 years ago.

"There is no question," the committee said in a report to the university's provost, "but that Dr King plagiarized in the dissertation by appropriating material from sources not explicitly credited in notes, or mistakenly credited, or credited generally and at some distance in the text from a close paraphrase or verbatim quotation."

Despite its finding, the committee said that "no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr King's doctoral degree," an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.

But the committee did recommend that a letter stating its finding be placed with the official copy of Dr King's dissertation in the university's library.

You may not be surprised to learn that the story of King's plagiarism was around for a long time before the American press deigned to touch it – but when his old university found him retrospectively guilty the story could hardly be ignored. Needless to say, BU didn't take away his doctorate, as it would have in almost any other similar case.

Then there's King's womanising, not quite as pathological as JFK's but still – even according to some of his friends – pretty vigorous. ... ...

As I say, Martin Luther King was a hero. We shouldn't remember him for cheating on his doctorate and his wife. But it's worth noting: if he'd been a famous white Republican, his reputation would have been comprehensively trashed by historians and the media.
[Site link]


Bias – broadcasting, BBC
BBC is biased toward the left, study finds
Hayley Dixon
Daily Telegraph, 12 August 2013

The BBC is twice as likely to cover left-wing policy proposals than those that are right-wing, a study has found.

The corporation has long been accused of left-wing bias, but now researchers claim to have found statistical evidence that challenges the broadcaster's claim to fairness.

The BBC are more likely to cover left-wing think tank reports and to hail them as "independent" while giving right-wing research a "health warning" by pointing out its ideological position, the Centre for Policy Studies have found.

Oliver Latham, who compiled the Bias at the Beeb report, said: "Our results suggest the BBC exhibits a left-of-centre bias in both the amount of coverage it gives to different opinions and the way in which these voices are represented."

The team compared the coverage given to think tanks on the BBC website with that given by the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

The BBC covered seven out of ten of the stories on the Guardian, but only mentioned three out of ten reports which had been covered by this newspaper over the set period.

Of reports on four left-of-centre think tanks only one received a health warning - defined as statement of a think tank's views, ideological position, or connection to a political figure - more than 10 per cent of the time, and one never received a warning.

In comparison, the warning appeared on between 25 and 60 per cent of reports on five right-of-centre organisations.

"In other words, the BBC seems to treat right-of-centre views as being more "extreme" and in need of caveats than roughly equivalent left-of-centre views," Mr Latham wrote in the Sunday Times.

A similar trend was discovered in the corporation's tendency to reinforce the views of an organisation by describing them as "independent". ...

"The implication seems to be that the BBC sees left-of-centre views as being more reliable than right-of-centre ones. Overall, the picture is that the existing accusations of bias at the BBC are supported by a more dispassionate, quantitative analysis," Mr Latham said.

He said they could not answer where this slant came from, but added: "The results are consistent with both subconscious "group think" among BBC journalists or a more deliberate left-of-centre bias."
[Site link]


Bias – BBC
BBC had 'deep liberal bias' over immigration, says former news chief
Josh Halliday
The Guardian, 4 July 2013

Helen Boaden, the BBC's former news director, has admitted the corporation held a "deep liberal bias" in its coverage of immigation when she took up the role in 2004.

Boaden, who is now the BBC's head of radio, made the candid admission to a BBC Trust review into the impartiality of the corporation's coverage of immigration, religion and the European Union.

She told the review, published on Wednesday, that the BBC did not take the views of lobby group Migration Watch "as seriously as it might have" when she became director of news in September 2004.

Boaden is the latest BBC executive to state publicly that the corporation had a liberal bias on controversial topics such as immigration – an accusation it routinely faces from rightwing sections of the media.

Ceri Thomas, the acting deputy director of BBC News and former Today editor, was more measured when asked about the BBC's coverage. He told the review: "Any culture can be at risk of excluding what it thinks is wrong, possibly marginalising significant chunks of public opinion. We need to push against this consensus every day."

The frank remarks were included in a 67-page report by the BBC Trust which concluded overall that the BBC reflects a broad range of voices on immigration.

However, it said the BBC had been "slow to reflect the weight of concern in the wider community" about issues around the topic and must do more to seek out opinions "which 'people like us' may find unpalatable". ...

In the report, the trust urged the BBC to urged to avoid an "over-reliance on Westminster voices" after concluding that national politicians "tend to dominate" the views seen and heard on BBC programmes. ...

It is the fifth impartiality review by the BBC Trust, the corporation's governing body, and follows an internal 2007 report that described a "largely unconscious self-censorship" that led to certain opinions being routinely under-represented.
[Site link]


Bias – terrorism, extremism, attacks on Muslims
Muslim hate monitor to lose backing
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 9 June 2013

A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods.

The project, called Tell Mama, claimed that there had been a "sustained wave of attacks and intimidation" against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, with 193 "Islamophobic incidents" reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend.

The group's founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said he saw "no end to this cycle of violence", describing it as "unprecedented". The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media. ...

There have been a further 12 attacks on Islamic buildings, three of them serious, including a probable arson attack on a Muslim community centre in north London, which burned it to the ground.

Tell Mama supporters launched a furious campaign of protest against The Sunday Telegraph after it disclosed the breakdown last week, with round-robin emails to the newspaper accusing it of behaviour "better suited to the days of 1930s Germany".

However, The Sunday Telegraph has now learned that even before Woolwich, the communities minister, the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, called Mr Mughal to a meeting and said that Tell Mama's grant would not be renewed.

The organisation has received a total of £375,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) since last year.

"Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn't stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers]," said one source closely involved in counter-extremism. ...

Tell Mama has also been using its budget to threaten members of the public with libel actions for criticising it on Twitter.

In mid-May, before Woolwich, one Jewish activist, Ambrosine Chetrit, received a threatening letter from solicitors after she tweeted that "Tell Mama are sitting on Twitter on the EDL hashtag, threatening anyone and everyone whose comments they do not like about Islam".

Tell Mama also objected to a tweet in which Ms Chetrit said it was "trying to close down pro-Israel [Twitter] accounts daily". ...

Mr Mughal said that no public money had been used to issue the libel threats.
[Site link]


Bias – terrorism, extremism, attacks on Muslims
The truth about the 'wave of attacks on Muslims' after Woolwich murder
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 2 June 2013

Fiyaz Mughal runs a project called Tell Mama, which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain. In the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby's murder, he has been understandably busy.

There has, said Mr Mughal, been "a wave of attacks, harassment, and hate-filled speech against Muslims ... an unprecedented number of incidents", including "a rise in street harassment of Muslims – unprovoked, opportunistic attacks from strangers as Muslims go about their lives".

He added: "Over the past week or so, these sorts of hate crimes have noticeably increased in number and, in many instances, become more extreme.

"The scale of the backlash is astounding ... there has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice. A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities."

The media, especially the BBC, have accepted the claims without question. A presenter on Radio 4's influential Today programme stated that attacks on Muslims were now "on a very serious scale".

Talk of a "massive anti-Muslim backlash" has become routine. And it is that figure issued by Tell Mama – of, to date, 212 "anti-Muslim incidents" since the Woolwich murder – which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting. ...

What the data broadly show, in short, is that Drummer Rigby's killers have failed. The breakdown in community relations has not come. There has been a rise in incidents, but it appears to be very short-term, overwhelmingly non-violent and even then almost entirely at the lower end of the scale.

Yet this is not a message the Islamophobia industry wants heard, now or ever. ... ...

Loathsome as the white extreme Right is, however, there is clearly no comparison. No one in Britain has been killed by the EDL; 53 people have been killed by Islamist terrorists. White racists, unlike their Islamist equivalents, do not control key religious institutions or have a significant presence in British universities.

Over the past decade, half a dozen or so white British Right-wingers have been convicted of possessing explosives and other weapons. But all were loners not acting in concert with any group.

In contrast, there have, over the same period, been 150 convictions for Islamist-related terrorism in the UK, many relating to serious, carefully organised, often multinational plots against specific targets involving substantial numbers of people.

For some quarters of the Islamophobia industry, it has now become Muslims who are the main victims of the Woolwich horror.

But while some innocent Muslims have of course become victims, the main victim was Drummer Lee Rigby. And in overhyping the backlash, some in the Muslim community are playing right into the hands of his killers.
[Site link]


Bias – BBC
New report highlights the BBC's Islamism and immigration bias
The Commentator, 29 May 2013

A study released today claims that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Britain's publicly-funded broadcaster, has given "overwhelmingly greater weight to pro-migration voices" over the past 15 years.

The report, produced and published by the New Culture Forum, analyses BBC coverage of major immigration events and issues over the past decade and a half, ... The report focuses on the BBC's most influential programmes such as Newsnight, the Today Programme and the News at Ten.

Ed West, the author of the study, writes that like any organisation, the BBC has a "tendency towards groupthink" and one that perhaps reflects "minority - even elitist - viewpoint[s]". ...

Broadcaster Jeff Randall, formerly of the BBC, suggested that the organisation's attitudes to multiculturalism were not impartial, stating, "When I was there, this was not up for grabs. Multiculturalism was 'a good thing'. The BBC supported it. Don't take my word for it because, when I complained to the BBC about our coverage of asylum-seekers, this is what I got back from a very senior BBC news executive: 'Jeff, the BBC internally is not neutral about multiculturalism. It believes in it, and it promotes diversity. Let's face up to that'." ...

But the report also suggests that while the bias is clearly prevalent, it may not be intentional.
[Site link]


Bias – BBC
Groupthink: Can We Trust the BBC on Immigration?
New Culture Forum, 28 May 2013
[New Culture Forum report by Ed West]

A major new report from the New Culture Forum looks at how the BBC has covered the topic of immigration from 1997 to the present.

Written by journalist and author Ed West, the report investigates how one of the most important issues of our time has been reported by the Corporation's news and current affairs strands.

It concludes: 'In its coverage of the topic of immigration, the BBC has given overwhelmingly greater weight to pro-migration voices, even though they represent a minority – even elitist – viewpoint. And in its coverage of the economic arguments for and against immigration, it has devoted somewhat more space to pro-migration voices. In terms of the social costs, the BBC has almost totally ignored certain areas.'
[Site link]


Bias – debate
David Goodhart's book on immigration earns him snub from Hay festival
Sam Jones
The Guardian, 28 May 2013

The Hay literary festival - once described by Bill Clinton as "the Woodstock of the mind" - has been disturbed by a row over a decision not to invite the author of a controversial book about immigration.

David Goodhart, the director of the Demos thinktank and founder and editor-at-large of Prospect magazine may not have been expecting to make a headline appearance, but he was quietly confident that his widely reviewed book would earn him a support slot at the event. However, Goodhart's volume - The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration – which has polarised reviewers with its critical appraisal of postwar immigration – left Hay's organiser-in-chief unimpressed.

Peter Florence, co-founder and director of the Hay festival, decided against inviting Goodhart, criticising the book as "sensationalist" in an email to its author. Florence also singled out a 2004 Prospect article on the same subject in which Goodhart had written, "to put it bluntly, most of us prefer our own kind".

"Peter said, 'I stand for pluralism and multiculturalism', and he made it clear that his own personal views made him not want the book at the festival," Goodhart told the Guardian. "He said he had read my original Prospect essay back in 2004 which he didn't like at all - on the grounds, hilariously, that he is half-Italian."

Goodhart added that while he had no problem with Florence's "sort of ultra-liberal, slightly lefty multiculturalist" views, he had been shocked to learn that the book was to be ignored by the festival. "It's probably been more widely reviewed than any non-fiction book so far this year - both favourably and unfavourably," he said, "so when my publisher said there was no interest from Hay I was a bit surprised." ...

Lord Adonis, the Labour peer and former transport secretary bemoaned the festival's "liberal intolerance" in tweets. "Peter Florence ... rejected David Goodhart because he disagrees with him on immigration," he wrote. "How about some free speech at the Hay festival? Extraordinary that Goodhart [was] told his views on migration unacceptable for debate." ...

Goodhart, who has attended Hay for the last 15 years, said he was disappointed by the decision as he felt the time had finally come for a calm and reasoned discussion about immigration.
[Site link]


Bias – BBC
The BBC and its bias towards pro-immigration lobby: Report accuses 'left-wing Corporation of downplaying violence by Islamists'
Alasdair Glennie
Daily Mail, 28 May 2013

The BBC gives too much weight to pro-immigration voices and 'almost totally ignores' the negative social impact of multiculturalism, a new study has claimed.

The corporation suffers from left wing 'groupthink' that prevents its journalists from challenging institutional bias and results in pro-immigration 'propaganda', according to the research published yesterday.

It was also accused of 'downplaying' violence by Islamists while being happy to criticise Christianity and report on the activities of other violent extremists.

The report, by independent think-tank The New Culture Forum, looked at coverage by BBC news and current affairs programmes since 1997.

It comes as the BBC undertakes an 'impartiality review' by former ITV and Sky executive Stuart Prebble to see whether it gives 'due weight' to a full range of opinion on controversial topics, such as immigration.

The study's author, Ed West, concluded: 'In its coverage of the topic of immigration, the BBC has given overwhelmingly greater weight to pro-migration voices, even though they represent a minority – even elitist – viewpoint.

'And in its coverage of the economic arguments for and against immigration, it has devoted somewhat more space to pro-migration voices.

'In terms of the social costs, the BBC has almost totally ignored certain areas. The more awkward a subject is for polite society to deal with, the less coverage the BBC gives it.' ...

According to the study, it is 'common practice' for the BBC to give a platform to multiple pro-immigration spokesmen with no dissenting voices.

Mr West said: 'Between 1997 and 2013, of the hundreds of immigration news reports that I have personally watched, listened to and read, in literally just a handful have anti-immigration voices not been outnumbered.'

The report was particularly scathing about a BBC Online article on 'Migrant Myths' published in 2002.

The article said the idea of the 'scrounging, bogus asylum seeker' was a 'misconception', while opponents of mass immigration were guilty of 'racism, political opportunism, misinformation, media mischief-making and sheer cowardice' as well as genuine concern.

Mr West said: 'However laudable its intentions may be, a feature like this – which presents only one side of the argument – is propaganda.' ...

In 2010, the BBC's then director general Mark Thompson accepted the corporation had once been guilty of a 'massive' Left-wing bias and admitted its coverage of immigration and Europe had been 'weak'. ...

In 2007, a BBC Trust report into the BBC's impartiality found the corporation had self-censored subjects it found unpalatable.

The BBC said coverage of immigration is 'impartial and balanced', but Trustees are carrying out a review to see if 'due weight' is given to a range of opinions on hot topics.
[Site link]


Bias – BBC
BBC was 'slow on immigration'
Harry Wallop
Daily Telegraph, 25 May 2013

Nick Robinson, the BBC political editor, has admitted the corporation has in the past been too slow to recognise issues of Euroscepticism and immigration.

Robinson said: "There is no doubt that in the 1980s and 1990s the BBC, though not exclusively the BBC, was slow to recognise the growth of a set of ideas that we now recognise as Euroscepticism.

"I think the BBC and many other organisations were also slow to recognise the scale of immigration in the 1990s and early 2000s and the scale of dislocation."
[Newspaper link]


Bias – migrant myths, Jewish community
Time to dispel migrant myths
Edie Friedman
The Jewish Chronicle, 20 May 2013
[Dr Edie Friedman is founder and executive director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality]

In the heated debate about immigration, which seems to intensify daily and has by no means been settled by the recommendations in the Queen's Speech last week, the Jewish community can look back with pride at the number of Jewish migrants who came to Britain and made an enormous contribution to this country.

But can this pride lead us to a romanticised view of our migrant past - one that colours our perceptions of immigration today? There are real debates about how much we allow what has gone before to define our identity, in terms of our place in the Jewish world and also within the wider society.

I am not alone in worrying that this identity can be too defined by victimhood. Our views on modern immigrants might well be influenced by certain pervasive myths, for example that all Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century were refugees. As shown by historian Tony Kushner, many were economic migrants - the very group subject to so much opprobrium today.

The belief that all came seeking refuge, rather than acceptance of the more complex truth, may make us less tolerant of more recent migrants, who, like our Jewish ancestors, come to these shores for various reasons. Some come in desperation, seeking a place of safety. Others come to find a better life for themselves and their families, as migrants have done for centuries.

But we must beware of simplistic analysis: that we were the good and deserving migrants and those arriving today are not. And we would do well to remember that, like today's migrants, we were the targets of a hostile press. Even the most cursory look at the headlines that greeted the arrival of Jewish refugees in the 1880s and before the Second World War demonstrates this:

"These immigrants have flooded the labour market with cheap labour to such an extent to reduce thousands of native workers to the verge of destitution," complained the Manchester City News in May 1888. ...

The headlines that portrayed us as people who were swamping the country, taking jobs away from the indigenous population and not wanting to integrate are paralleled today with monotonous regularity.

This constant drip of sensationalism leads to a widespread perception that Britain is now swamped by migrants. But the cross-party Migration Matters Trust, using Office for National Statistics data, tells a different story. It finds that migrants make up about one in 10 of the population, lower than Australia, the US or Germany and that almost 90 per cent of new jobs go to British nationals.

Our community must be on guard against falling prey to anti-asylum rhetoric and the current trend for blaming migrants for many of the country's ills. Jewish teaching prevails upon us to assist the stranger in our midst. Thus in spite of the prevailing zeitgeist, the impulse for a more positive approach to migration resonates strongly within the community. ...

Surely it is incumbent on us, a group that too often fell victim to anti-migrant rhetoric, to ensure that mythmaking and scapegoating have no place in our public discourse.
[Site link]


Bias – lobbying
Changing Minds – The Financing of the Pro-Mass Immigration Lobby
Migration Watch UK, 7 May 2013

The Daily Mail recently reported on the Diana Memorial Fund's financing of a campaign supporting large scale immigration. We have now looked into this issue and found a systematic attempt by a small group of charities to influence public opinion on immigration by a campaign entitled "Changing Minds". They are, of course, free to act in this way but the "Migration Observatory" which claims to be impartial is in fact a key vehicle in this campaign but, while naming its funders on its website, does not mention its connection with this "Changing Minds" project. There must be some question as to whether such activity is appropriate to a university. ...

... Their work was organised into four programmes. One of which was the Refugee and Asylum Seekers Initiative (RASI). Within the RASI programme is the "Changing Minds" programme - a collaboration between the Fund, the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Unbound Philanthropy and a number of other charities. Its purpose is to "track, inform and influence public attitudes towards migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to alter the dynamics of integration on the ground and provide the space for the development of humane policies for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants."

The main areas of focus have been:

• Funding for the Migration Observatory at Oxford

• The creation and financing of new think-tank, British Future

• Funding the inclusion of questions in the British Social Attitudes survey

• Supporting the Institute for Public Policy Research's "rapid rebuttal" work, presumably intended to counter the arguments of those who are opposed to large scale immigration.

• Funding the Migrants' Rights Network

Each Changing Minds project is operated with a different combination of funders. For example, to create the Migration Observatory, The Fund combined with Unbound Philanthropy- who awarded the Observatory $525,000 over three years – and the Barrow Cadbury Trust who awarded an undisclosed figure. In 2009, the Fund awarded a three-year grant worth £350,000. The Migration Observatory was officially launched in March 2011. ...

The Fund saw itself as an "agent of change" with the Changing Minds project described as trying to "influence public opinion" and "change public opinion".

The Migration Observatory website and the British Future website list their funders but neither mention the Changing Minds project in either their self descriptions or their output.
[Site link]


Revelations about Migration Observatory
MigrationWatch UK, 15 April 2013

Commenting on this weekend's revelations about the Migration Observatory, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

"The Migration Observatory press release avoided the central point, namely their involvement in a programme called 'Changing Minds' together with a number of other pro-immigration organisations.

"I was astonished to discover that they are part of a coordinated effort by a group of pro-immigration charities which is clearly a propaganda operation designed to change public opinion on the present massive levels of immigration.

"The Migration Observatory has declared their three major funders but have not declared the common objective behind the funding."
[Site link]


Bias – charity donations
Princess Diana fund cynically hijacked by the Left: How money is being diverted to pro-immigration campaign fund
James Slack, Michael Seamark and Rebecca English
Daily Mail, 13 April 2013

The Princess Diana Memorial Fund, to which millions of her admirers donated money, has been hijacked by Left-wingers to fund a pro-immigration propaganda campaign.

Directors of the charity set up a secretive project called Changing Minds and then channelled hundreds of thousands of pounds into a string of associated organisations.

The aim of the scheme is to alter British attitudes to immigration – which are currently in favour of far stricter border controls.

Among some of its most successful achievements, it lists the establishment of a new 'independent' think-tank – criticised by a Labour MP as a front for Left-wing views on immigration.

The Migration Observatory is advised by a senior journalist on the Left-wing Guardian newspaper, and the husband of its star columnist, Polly Toynbee.

Last night Rosa Monckton, a close friend of Diana, described the decision as 'outrageous'. ...

The Diana Fund was established within days of Diana's death in 1997, in response to the unprecedented outpouring of public grief. ...

Initially, many of the grants from the Fund were paid to organisations closely associated with the Princess, such as Great Ormond Street Hospital. But, in 2007, its directors and trustees – who include a campaigner against the Government's benefit cuts – dramatically changed direction.

Since then, the Memorial Fund has spent a total of £7,195,575 on 91 grants, made to 79 different organisations working on behalf of immigrants and asylum seekers.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of this new strategy was the Changing Minds project, elements of which have received at least £820,0000.

The Observatory has been paid £350,000 over the last three years. It does not mention Changing Minds in its self-description or output, and there has been little public mention of the 'propaganda' project.

According to strategy documents written by the Diana Fund, Changing Minds exists to address 'the plight of asylum seekers and their children in the UK by seeking to track, inform and influence public attitudes towards migrants, refugees and asylum seekers'.

But last year, a conference of the Association of Charitable Funders said the work was designed to achieve 'attitudinal change' on 'negative attitudes' to all migrants. It described changing attitudes towards migrants as an 'example of the sort of "wicked" social problem that foundations are increasingly likely to encounter'.

Opinion polls in Britain have repeatedly shown the public's desire for a sharp reduction in net migration. This has infuriated the Left-wing establishment, which is a long-standing champion of large-scale economic migration.

The Diana Fund supports Changing Minds in tandem with a string of other charities and pro-immigration organisations. They include the Barrow Cadbury Trust – itself a recipient of a £40,000 grant from the Diana Fund so it could help fund Changing Minds – and a New York-based group named Unbound Philanthropy.

Unbound Philanthropy, ... is ploughing huge sums into pro-immigration groups – including the Migrants' Rights Network, the new British Future think-tank and the Observatory.
[Site link]


Migration Observatory: Independent and Evidence-Based
Migration Observatory, 13 April 2013

Today the Daily Mail – a British tabloid newspaper – features an attack on the independence of the Migration Observatory. This attack is unfounded.

The Observatory is, and will remain, committed to independent analysis of data relating to immigration and other migration issues affecting the UK. Through this approach we have earned a reputation as a leading independent source of data and analysis on migration issues in the UK. Our work has been referenced by politicians from all parties in the House of Commons and in news stories in outlets of all political persuasions – including the Daily Mail.

The issue of immigration is highly polarising in the UK – as in many countries – and as such we have been keen to ensure that all voices are heard and considered in the work that we do. ... ...

The Migration Observatory's independence should be judged based on the work we have produced and on our history of thoughtful, evidence based analysis. We analyse all available data and evidence and are not driven by any perspective either for or against migration.

Our funding has always been transparent and the list of our core funders has always been published on our website. The Daily Mail story is not based on any criticism of any of the work that we have undertaken but on some of the bodies that have funded the Migration Observatory. At no point have we ever allowed, or would we ever allow, the opinions of our funders to influence the independence of our work. None have ever made any effort to do so.
[Site link]


Bias – USA
All the News that Fits: Ideologically Skewed Coverage of Immigration at the New York Times
Jerry Kammer
Center for Immigration Studies, March 2013

... illegal immigration at the Times is not subjected to the rigorous analysis of costs and benefits that, under basic rules of journalism, should be applied to any major issue of public policy.

In its coverage of immigration, the Times has failed its celebrated institutional commitment "to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved." ...

Increasingly in recent years, and especially since the failed 2007 attempt to pass a "comprehensive immigration reform" bill, the Times news coverage of immigration has reflected the ideology made explicit on its editorial page. That page defends immigrants as a vulnerable class and condemns those who want to enforce immigration laws as nativists and racists.

This is not to say that the editorial boardroom and the newsroom coordinate their activities, breaching the sacred journalistic firewall. That firewall still stands at the Times. But it is to say that the Times has demonstrated a broad pattern of hostility toward those who question the benefits of unfettered immigration. ...

Journalist William McGowan, whose book Gray Lady Down is a lament of decline at the Times and a call for reform, described the failure this way: "The paper has either ignored, miscovered or muted the less appealing realities of immigration, especially those involving the illegal immigration that has threatened to swamp the southwestern part of the country in recent decades." ...

The most candid acknowledgement of bias at the Times was written in 2004 by the Times's first "public editor," or ombudsman. Daniel Okrent wrote that when it comes to coverage of social issues, "if you think the Times plays it down the middle ... you've been reading the paper with your eyes closed." He also cited the paper's tendency to "tell only the side of the story your co-religionists wish to hear." ...

... the Times's coverage of the national immigration debate – which is slanted in favor of illegal immigrants – should include a fair-minded explanation of the concerns of those who advocate enforcement of immigration law. It has failed in that regard, frequently presenting those who complain about illegal immigration as small-minded nativists and racists motivated by irrational prejudice. ...

Keller may have engaged in wishful thinking about his staff when he wrote, "We do not go into a story with a preconceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda." That is a concise statement of a long-established American journalism code. It is not, however, an accurate description of the way in which many Times reporters have written about immigration.
[Site link]



Border controls – France, Calais
Forty migrants a night sneak over from Calais, town's deputy mayor says
Henry Samuel
Daily Telegraph, 17 December 2013

Up to 15,000 migrants are crossing the Channel from Calais illegally every year and the British authorities are hypocrites for failing to tackle the problem, the French town's deputy mayor has said.

Philippe Mignonet, who is also the port's immigration chief, told The Telegraph that Britain needed to do more to address the numbers crossing its borders because it had become "a magnet for illegal immigrants".

Calais town hall's estimate came days after MPs accused the Border Force of failing to check lorries for "concealed illegal entrants" before travelling to Dover.

Mr Mignonet called for border controls to be transferred from Calais to Dover to deal with what he said was essentially a "British problem".

"According to our estimations, depending on the night, between 10, 20, even 40 [migrants] are getting through. The UK and French border agency are catching some every night but hundreds are trying. What is for sure is that every night some are going through."

Mr Mignonet said he expected more migrants to arrive in Calais over Christmas, and criticised Britain for having a "hypocritical" attitude by talking tough on stopping migrants but allowing them to remain in the country. He said that if this did not change, France should just "let them through".

"The quickest, most radical and easiest solution would be simply to shift the border from Calais to Dover and Folkestone and then the problem wouldn't be handled in France but Britain," he said. "The ease with which illegal immigrants can work on the black market in Britain, coupled with the fact that migrants' family members can more easily join them, means that Britain is a magnet for illegal immigrants." ...

Under the Sangatte deal, Britain pays a contribution towards the policing of the migrant problem in Calais. British police and border officials also operate on the French side of the Channel. ...

The Commons public accounts committee warned in a report last week that the Border Force had repeatedly suspended checks for stowaways on lorries arriving from Calais because of staff shortages.
[Site link]


Border controls – politics
Nick Clegg: Theresa May's EU Migrant Plan Is 'Illegal And Undeliverable'
The Huffington Post, 16 December 2013

Nick Clegg has dismissed the idea of limiting immigration from the European Union, floated by home secretary Theresa May, as "illegal and undeliverable".

Reports of a leaked Home Office paper on Sunday suggested that May wants to introduce a cap on migration from the EU, possibly at 75,000 a year - around 30,000 lower than the current level.

On Monday morning, May declined to comment on the leaked report when asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. However she said it was something she had been "talking about" with EU ministers. "There is a growing concern not just here in the UK, but elsewhere too, about the abuse of free movement, about the way in which people can move freely across Europe, sometimes for access to benefits," she said.

"The whole issue of free movement has changed over the years. At the original start of the EU, it was about free movement of workers. It's now been expanded by treaties and by the courts in terms of their interpretation of it."

But speaking during his monthly press conference just a few hours later, Clegg slapped down the idea and also accused May of leaking the report in order to generate positive anti-immigration headlines for the Conservative Party.

"My advice to the Home Office is to spend less time leaking policies that are illegal and undeliverable and spend more time delivering on the policies we have agreed as a Coalition - notably to reinstate exit checks," he said.
[Site link]


Border controls – politics
Tory rebels to defy David Cameron over Romanian migrants
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 14 December 2013

More than 70 Tory rebels will next week defy the Prime Minister by confronting ministers and demanding tougher restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

The MPs will accuse ministers of trying to block a new law which would ban migrants from coming to Britain until at least 2019.

It comes amid growing public concern that hundreds of thousands could come to Britain when temporary restrictions are lifted on January 1.

Earlier this month four Tory MPs tabled an amendment to the immigration bill extending the ban, but were left furious when the government delayed a Commons vote until after the New Year.

On Thursday they will confront Mark Harper, the immigration minister, about the delay and warn that the government is "running and hiding" in a Commons debate.

The rebels have been given public support by Kris Hopkins, the local government minister, who has said it is the "democratic right" of MPs to demand that the government defies the European Union.

The amendment has been backed by John Whittingdale, chairman of the culture select committee, Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Public Administration select committee, and former Tory ministers Bill Wiggin, James Duddridge and Sir Gerald Howarth. ...

Mr Cameron is facing growing demands from his own party to force a legal battle with Brussels over control of Britain's borders amid concerns of a fresh wave of mass migration from Eastern Europe.
[Site link]


Border controls – France, Calais
French minister calls on Britain to change its immigration policy and 'understand the burden on Calais' caused by migrants waiting to sneak into the UK
Aaron Sharp
Daily Mail, 14 December 2013

An outspoken French Minister has called on Britain to loosen its immigration policy to ease the pressure on guards at Calais, caused by immigrants waiting to enter the UK.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has criticized the 'impasse' in communication between British border authorities and their French counterparts in the English Channel port.

He has even invited the Home Secretary Theresa May to visit the area to see the pressure on French border guards. ...

As political pressure increases, guards have been accused of turning a blind-eye to immigrants who are sneaking into the UK, where they become the problem of British authorities.

Valls said Britain should understand the plight of French guards and 'develop' its immigration policy accordingly.

He said: 'Our British friends must realise the burden, the weight, which is on France.

'At the time (of original border agreements), the idea was that the UK would evolve and develop its immigration policy.'

A spokesperson for the UK Home Office said would not comment on the offer for the Home Secretary to visit.

They did respond to the called for reform in a statement, however, saying: 'Border Force has staff in Northern France to stop individuals before they reach the UK and in the year to April 2013, 11,000 attempts to cross the Channel illegally were prevented.

'Border Force works collaboratively and successfully with the French authorities to combat cross-channel illegal migration and the organised criminality behind it.'
[Site link]


Border controls – France, Calais
France calls on Britain to 'share' Calais immigrant 'burden'
John Lichfield
The Independent, 12 December 2013

France has called on Britain to "share" more of the policing and financial "burden" caused by the pile-up of illegal immigrants in Calais.

The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, said that he had invited the Home Secretary Theresa May to meet him in Calais in the New Year to discuss a "renegotiation" of the Anglo-French agreement which led to the closure of the Sangatte refugee camp in December 2002.

Speaking at a press conference in Calais, Mr Valls said the agreement had succeeded in reducing the flow of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Britain through the French port. But he said that the current situation - with between 300 and 500 migrants living rough in the Calais area - was an "impasse".

"Our British friends must take more account of the burden, the weight placed on France by the Calais migrant problem", he said.

The French interior minister rejected suggestions in the British media that he was planning to open "another Sangatte" - the Red Cross refugee camp near the Channel Tunnel entrance which was accused of attracting migrants before its closure. He did confirm, however, that France planned to create a "migrant house" which would provide medical help - but not shelter - to foreigners living rough in the Calais area.

The vast majority of the migrants reaching Calais - including many Syrians, Afghans, Pakistanis and Somalis - refuse to apply for asylum in France. Once they do so, they will lose their right to seek asylum in the UK.

Under the present "Sangatte accords" Britain pays a contribution towards the policing of the migrant problem in Calais. British police and border officials also operate on the French side of the Channel.

Mr Valls' call for Britain to share more of the "burden" is believed to refer to these elements of the accord. France is not suggesting that the Government should allow more immigrants to cross to Kent.

Mr Valls did say, however, that Britain had promised in 2002 to "review" policies which, according to France, make the UK a magnet for migrants.

"We have to review these accords. We have to admit that we are at an impasse (here in Calais)," he said.

Local politicians have criticised Mr Valls for failing to declare the port a "priority security area", which would boost police numbers. Mr Valls announced that a mobile unit of 60 riot police, intermittently based in Calais, would now be placed permanently in the town.
[Site link]


Border controls – passport sale, Malta, EU
Malta passport sale puts UK under pressure
Helen Warrell and James Fontanella-Khan
Financial Times, 10 December 2013

UK ministers are under growing pressure to intervene against plans by the island of Malta to sell EU passports for €650,000, allowing buyers immediate rights of residency in all member states.

Several EU states already give wealthy foreigners a fast-track to citizenship on the back of a government bond or property investment. But the new scheme – due to be formally opened by the Maltese government later this month – is unique in offering an instant passport to approved applicants with no requirement to be resident in the country beforehand. ...

David Hanson, shadow immigration minister, said he had "serious concerns" about the Maltese proposal and had tabled parliamentary questions to find out what steps the Home Office had taken to oppose it. "This risks being a backdoor route to reside anywhere in the EU which is not a tight or appropriate immigration policy", he told the Financial Times. ...

For Kamal Rahman, head of immigration at Mishcon de Reya, the Maltese passport represents the "single biggest rival" to the UK investor programme on the basis that €650,000 is a "small price for a highly reputable passport".

"It addresses all the critical concerns relevant to the global high net worth community," Ms Rahman said. "We have a large number of clients urgently awaiting the launch of the programme and are instructed to submit applications at the earliest opportunity."

The UK's own investor programme invites foreigners to make investments of £1m, £5m or £10m in gilts or British companies in return for permission to apply for permanent residence in five, three or two years, respectively. However, in order to qualify for this, applicants must not spend more than 180 days outside the UK each year. ...

The European Commission has no formal right to intervene in an EU member's sovereignty laws, but EU officials privately recognise that the Maltese government's move poses serious concerns to other member states' security.
[Site link]


Border controls
How crime lords slip into Britain: MPs warned gangsters are flying in and out with impunity because border guards are failing to check private planes
Daily Mail, 10 December 2013

The lack of border checks on private planes landing in Britain may be allowing organised crime bosses to fly in and out of Britain with impunity, MPs warned last night.

The chairman of an influential committee in Parliament warned that the failure of border officials to conduct passport and other checks on small aircraft could be 'letting billionaire gangsters off the hook'.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge made her warning in a damning report about failures at the Border Force - a Home Office agency tasked with protecting Britain's borders.

The Public Accounts Committee's report into Border Force found staff shortages meant freight coming in to the country's sea and air ports went unchecked - potentially allowing in illicit goods and illegal immigrants.

It also warned: ...

:: A major IT system, the Warnings Index, used to stop terrorists and criminals from getting in to Britain is 'at risk of collapse'.

:: Staff had been fired, paid off lump sums in redundancy and then re-hired when crisis hit.

:: Nearly forty per cent of passengers are not screened in advance of landing

Mrs Hodge said Border Force was unable to meet and check up to 90,000 private planes and private boats arriving in the UK each year - leaving the UK border 'vulnerable'. ...

The report found huge gaps in the data the agency receives on people landing private planes or boats in Britain.
[Site link]


Border controls – visas
Watchdog voices concern over eastern European visas
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 5 December 2013

There is a "real risk" British visas are being handed to fraudulent eastern Europeans because of failings at one of the UK's major visa processing hubs, a watchdog has warned.

John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, said he was concerned the Home Office's visa section in Poland, which handles applications from 11 eastern European countries, was approving visas "without the necessary checks being conducted".

Full verification checks are carried out on only 4 per cent of applications handled by the office in Warsaw, he said.

Mr Vine also disclosed that officials are now expected to process one application every 10 minutes.

Their workload rocketed by 460 per cent to 56,000 applications a year thanks to a Home Office reorganisation, he said, and it is due to increase even more from April to 87,000 a year.

The chief inspector's findings mean an unknown number of fraudulent applicants may have been allowed to come to Britain - opening the prospect of them staying here illegally once their visas run out. ...

He said security checks were not being used correctly and concerns had been highlighted by the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON), an intelligence operation which identifies threats to the British border. ...

RALON also told Mr Vine the proportion of visa applications refused by the Warsaw office had dropped from 14 per cent to just 4 per cent over a period when the section took on a huge number of extra cases as part of a Home Office reorganisation.

It raised fears that British officials in Warsaw were unable to carry out verification checks because their productivity targets had been increased. Last year the visa section handled more than 36,000 applications from Ukraine, which earlier this week saw anti-government protests demanding closer links with the European Union.

Visa applications from Ukraine are ranked as a "high risk" of fraud, such as forged or counterfeit documents.

Mr Vine said there was a chance foreigners arriving on fraudulent grounds would stay beyond the end of their visa, and they could remain indefinitely because the Home Office has no way of knowing who has left the country. ...

Another report on the visa section in Bangladesh - also published today - warned that paperwork had not been kept in 36 per cent of cases, meaning it was impossible for the inspector to say whether visas had been granted when they should have been refused.
[Site link]


Border controls – education
Recruitment agents for foreign students to be 'vetted'
Graeme Paton
Daily Telegraph, 26 November 2013

Recruitment agents who sign up overseas students for British universities will be subjected to new vetting procedures amid warnings over a sharp rise in the number of foreigners entering the country.

For the first time, agents will be asked to sign up to a new "ethical" code of practice and undertake training to win formal accreditation, it was announced.

The British Council will create a new database of agents and subject them to regular assessments to make sure standards are being maintained. ...

More than 488,000 foreigners currently enter the UK to take degrees and postgraduate courses, with forecasts by the British Council suggesting that numbers could rise by a quarter within the next decade.

In many cases, they are recruited via a network of agents who offer guidance and support for students, particularly in parts of the Far East.

It is estimated that recruitment agents are paid as much as £120 million a year to attract foreign students into the UK.

But concerns have been raised over the system used to recruit some overseas students.

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph last year found examples of agents boasting that they could secure places for overseas students with far worse A-level results than those expected of British pupils. ...

Research last year found that universities made huge payments to agents who in turn recruited 51,000 students into universities.

One university alone – Newcastle – spent £2.2m in commission for foreign agents, who normally help students select courses, fill out application forms and prepare them for interviews.
[Site link]


Border controls – employment, Bulgarians
Bulgarian immigrants: Home Office fails to reject single request
Ben Riley-Smith and Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2013

The Home Office has failed to reject a single request from British employers to hire Bulgarian immigrants since 2007, the country's ambassador has said.

Konstantin Dimitrov said he had never heard of a work permit application being turned down, though Border Agency staff are told to refuse requests if British workers can fill the role.

The disclosure raised concerns over whether the freedom of movement restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants – due to expire on Dec 31 – had ever been working.

It suggests that the Home Office has failed to protect British jobs in competitive markets. Labour said it would table questions in Parliament after the Home Office confirmed that it did not publish records on the number of rejected work permit requests for Bulgarians.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, pledged on Sunday night to look into the matter.

Mr Dimitrov also insisted that Bulgarians moving to Britain should not be described as "immigrants".

"Bulgarians are not immigrants," he said. "Bulgarians are members of the European Union and are moving freely inside the EU, including the UK." ...

Currently between 8,000 and 10,000 Bulgarians are estimated to come to Britain each year to work. Mr Dimitrov said this number would not increase when the restrictions were lifted.

Since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, British employers looking to hire nationals from those countries have had to apply for a work permit, while the worker must get an access card.

Certain understaffed industries are exempt from the work permit scheme – those hiring doctors and teachers, for example. But employers in every other field must prove that the job being offered cannot be filled by a Briton.

These restrictions expire on Dec 31, leading to fears that British jobs will be under threat from a flood of migrants. But Mr Dimitrov says the protections in place have already failed to stop a single Bulgarian from working in Britain.

"In other words, most of all those who wanted to work here, especially since we became a member of the EU in 2007, have managed to do so," he said.
[Site link]


Border controls – Scotland
Prepare the border posts – fears over SNP immigration policy
Paul Gilbride
Daily Express, 22 November 2013

Border posts could be set up between Scotland and England because Alex Salmond wants to bring in more migrants if Scots vote Yes in next year's referendum.

The First Minister is determined to pursue a more "enlightened" immigration policy than Westminster should voters back breaking up Britain.

Twice this week, Mr Salmond has singled out how important it would be to an independent Scotland to have its own immigration policies. He claims that a more liberal approach would tackle the problem of the country's ageing population and boost economic growth. ...

Mr Salmond has said an independent Scotland would try to keep an opt-out from the Schengen agreement, which permits free movement across the Continent.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has warned failure to obtain such a deal would force the remainder of the UK to create passport controls at the Border.

Earlier this year, former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said problems could be created even if Scotland managed to obtain European Union membership with a Schengen opt-out because of the SNP's stance on immigration.

Scottish Tory infrastructure spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "The rest of the UK would see Scotland as a soft point of entry. As a result, that would obviously require some form of border patrol."

Labour shadow immigration minister David Hanson said: "If the SNP wants an independent Scotland to have a radically different immigration policy from the UK it raises the frightening prospect of border posts." ...

A spokesman for the First Minister later said that immigration policy would be detailed in next week's long-awaited White Paper.
[Site link]


Border controls – EU, Romanians, Bulgarians
UK won't see mass Romanian and Bulgarian immigration, minister says
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 21 November 2013

There will be no mass migration of Romanians and Bulgarians, coming to the UK for work in the new year when labour market restrictions are lifted, the immigration minister has said.

In the first official assessment of the likely flow of Romanians and Bulgarians to Britain when the curbs are removed on 1 January, the minister, Mark Harper, said the situation this time would not replicate the mass arrival of Poles to the UK 10 years ago.

He said the government was not complacent about the arrival of new migrants but said it would be different this time and suggested that people were more likely to go to Germany, Italy and Spain than Britain. ...

He said there were now eight other countries also removing their controls. "We are therefore not in the same position as previously, when we were the only country that was an option for those wishing to migrate. There are now a range of other European countries in the eurozone, including Germany, which is an economic powerhouse that is generating jobs and creating economic growth."

The original estimate by University College, London, which calculated that 15,000 Poles and others would arrive each year, was based on an assumption that all the other EU countries would open their borders when former communist states joined in 2004.

In the event, only Britain, Ireland and Sweden opened their borders immediately to allow migrants to work. The rest of the EU, including Germany, imposed the seven-year transitional controls, which came to an end only two years ago.

Harper said there were also other countries which already had significant populations of Romanians and Bulgarians, including Italy and Spain.

The eight countries, besides the UK, due to open their borders to Romanian and Bulgarian labour migrants are Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and France.

More than three million Romanians went to work abroad when Romania joined the EU in 2007; the majority went to Italy and Spain, which have already opened their labour markets to them. ...

Harper criticised rightwing Tory MPs who have been pressing him to extend the transitional controls on Romanians and Bulgarians, telling them it was not legally possible under the European accession treaties. He said Britain's domestic courts would rule that an extension of controls would not comply with the treaties.
[Site link]


Border controls – EU, Romanians, Bulgarians
'Utterly pathetic!' Farage slams Minister's claim that UK is powerless to bar new migrants
Daily Express, 21 November 2013

A minister's claim ... that the Government is legally powerless to block east European migrants working in Britain from the New Year has been condemned by Ukip boss Nigel Farage as "utterly pathetic".

He said Immigration Minister Mark Harper should be "embarrassed at the impotence of his own role in government" after he conceded there was almost nothing Britain could do to stop the lifting of labour market controls on Bulgarians and Romanians from January 1. ...

The minister said a unilateral move by the UK "simply isn't legally possible".

Earlier this week, Tory MP Nigel Mills proposed changes to the Government's Immigration Bill to extend restrictions to Romania and Bulgaria from January 1 next year to the end of December 2018.

The Daily Express is set to hand David Cameron a petition of more than 100,000 signatures calling for the transitional controls to stay in force.

However, Mr Harper said ...: "It simply isn't legally possible. The accession treaties only give us the ability - and the other eight counties with transitional controls - to extend them to the end of the year.

"The only way you could legally extend them is if you amended the accession treaties, which you would have to do by unanimity including getting the agreement of Romania and Bulgaria and I don't think that is at all possible."

Mr Harper added: "We wouldn't even need to go to the European courts, the domestic courts would rule it wasn't compliant with our treaty obligations - because it isn't.

"We've extended the controls to their legal maximum.

"We're bound by the treaties signed by the last Government that limit the controls to the end of this year."
[Site link]


Border controls – Romanians, Bulgarians
Don't lift curbs on Romanian migrants, Tories tell Cameron: Dozens of MPs set to call for five more years of restrictions for jobseekers
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 19 November 2013

Tory MPs will challenge David Cameron over Romanian and Bulgarian migrants today – urging him not to throw open Britain's borders from next year.

Backbench support is coalescing around a plan to extend restrictions on new arrivals from the two eastern European countries, due to expire on January 1, for a further five years.

Dozens of Tory MPs are likely to back the measure and put huge pressure on the Prime Minister to defy the European Union over its cherished free movement rules.

The proposal will be heard by a committee of MPs today and could come before a full vote in the House of Commons within weeks.

Nigel Mills, the MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire, is spearheading the campaign. ...

Extending restrictions on migrant workers would provoke squeals of outrage – and likely legal challenge – from Brussels.

But supporters say it would prevent huge pressure being placed on public services, including the NHS, and on jobs at a time when many British workers are struggling to find employment.

It would also allow Mr Cameron to make a defiant stand over two crucial issues for his supporters – Europe and immigration – where he is seen to be leaking support to Ukip.

Last night Mr Mills warned the economy 'cannot cope' with another large influx of migrants. ...

Eight out of ten newly qualified Bulgarian doctors are planning to work abroad, a study has shown.

In a questionnaire put to graduates from Bulgaria's largest medical school in Sofia, the majority said they planned to leave their country, with preferences for working in Britain and Germany.

One vascular surgeon told the BBC he could earn seven times more in the UK. But most Bulgarian doctors cite their reason for wanting to move as being due to corruption concerns within their own health service.
[Site link]


Border controls – public opinion
Poll shows 74pc not in favour of opening borders
Yorkshire Post, 18 November 2013

Almost three-quarters of people in Yorkshire are opposed to opening up UK borders to migrants from Romania and Bulgaria, according to the results of an opinion roll released today by Eurosceptic business tycoon Paul Sykes.

The polling, carried out by YouGov, found 74 per cent rejected the lifting of border restrictions from the beginning of January, with Mr Sykes using the findings as a springboard to announce plans to fund a war chest for Ukip to fight next May's European elections.

Only 15 per cent of 1,013 people polled in Yorkshire supported the change to border controls while the remaining 11 per cent said they did not know.

Mr Sykes, who developed the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, said he viewed the elections as Britain's last chance to break free from Brussels and was prepared to spend heavily to support Ukip which is already favourite to win the most votes at next year's elections.

He said: "You cannot call yourself an independent country if you surrender all controls over your borders. But this is what we have done by agreeing to ever closer union in Europe, the free movement across borders of its 500 million inhabitants, and signing treaty after treaty giving up our ancient democratic rights of self-government.

"I have nothing against people from Romania and Bulgaria. But given the four million immigrants we have absorbed since 1997 and given the prospect that the end of transitional controls on two of the poorest countries on the Continent will trigger another wave of mass immigration, in defiance of public opinion, we have to draw the line somewhere."
[Site link]


Border controls – France, UK
Britain's attitude to immigration is 'grotesque and hypocritical,' claims Calais politician who says town is approaching Sangatte-style crisis
Tim Finan
Daily Mail, 12 November 2013

Another Calais politician has launched a scathing attack on Britain for its policy on immigration which he claims attracts hundreds of illegal immigrants to the French Channel coast as they attempt to sneak into Britain.

Deputy mayor Philippe Mignonet, the man tasked with solving the problem in Calais, called UK policy on migrants 'grotesque and hypocritical'.

'Britain says we don't want immigrants but does nothing to prevent black economy employment yet two million people work on the black in Britain,' he said.

In an interview with the newspaper Manche Libre he said his town is having to cope with up to 400 migrants at any given time and that numbers will soon approach those counted before the closure of the Sangatte Red Cross Centre and 'The Jungle' - a squalid camp where Afghan and Iraqi refugees stayed before heading for the UK.

'The Town is facing something which is beyond its limits and which must be handled at highest national and European levels ', said Monsieur Mignonet. ...

Last month mayor Natacha Bouchart sparked controversy by using her Facebook page to appeal to citizens to report new squats to the police.

She too blames UK policies for welcoming migrants who queue up at Calais to stowaway to Britain on ferries.
[Site link]


Border controls – Bulgarians, Romanians
Daily Express Crusade finds 75,000 say NO to more EU migrants
Martyn Brown and Alison Little
Daily Express, 5 November 2013

The Daily Express Crusade to stop a new surge of European immigration to Britain has already received the backing of almost 75,000 people.

A staggering 15,000 readers a day have been signing our petition calling on the Government to keep in place controls on Bulgarian and Romanian workers coming here. ...

Yesterday a Romanian MEP demanded we end our Crusade. Catalin Ivan, the leader of the Romanian delegation to the Social and Democrat group at the European Parliament, said in a letter to the Daily Express: "There can be no restrictions on the labour market", adding: "I thus ask you to stop this endeavour".

Mr Ivan said any move by Britain to resist removal of the immigration bars simply could not happen, telling the newspaper "your publication asks for the violation of European Law". ...

... Last week the Daily Express reported that one in three vacancies advertised on Romania's top recruitment agency Tjobs was a British job.

Out of the 87,786 jobs on the agency's website, 28,577 were based in Britain.

The figures have added credence to fears of a mass influx on January 1.
[Site link]


Border controls – visitor bonds
Visitor bond scheme to be scrapped by government
BBC, 3 November 2013

Plans for a £3,000 "security bond" for some "high risk" overseas visitors to the UK are to be abandoned, the Home Office has confirmed.

The visa bond scheme was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May in June and was set to be introduced this month. ...

The decision is thought to have been taken after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg threatened to block it.

The aim of the scheme was to reduce the number of people from some "high risk" countries - including India, Pakistan, and Nigeria - staying in the UK once their short-term visas had expired.

Visitors would have paid a £3,000 cash bond before arrival in the UK - forfeited if they failed to make the return trip.

Mr Clegg initially proposed the idea of a visitor bond in March, but under his version of the policy it would only apply to people from "high risk" countries who had been refused a visa through the normal route.

Business Secretary Vince Cable later claimed the deputy prime minister's plan, which had suggested a bond of £1,000, had been deliberately misinterpreted by some of their Conservative cabinet colleagues. ...

Mr Cable also criticised the level at which the bond was set and said that it had caused "outrage" in India.

He said both he and Nick Clegg would be arguing in government for a "much more sensible and flexible" approach to the policy.

Speaking to BBC's Andrew Marr show earlier this year, Mr Clegg said: "Of course in a coalition I can stop things," adding: "I am absolutely not interested in a bond which becomes an indiscriminate way of clobbering people who want to come to this country."

The bond idea was also floated several times by the previous Labour government but never implemented. ...

The announcement comes two weeks after a roll-out of Home Office vans with posters warning illegal immigrants to "go home or face arrest" was cancelled.

Mrs May told MPs she accepted they had "not been a good idea" and were too much of a "blunt instrument".
[Site link]


Border controls
Britain's real immigration problem: our E-borders aren't fit for purpose
Stephen Barclay MP
Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2013
[Stephen Barclay is the MP for North East Cambridgeshire]

Parliament debated this week the new Immigration Bill, against a backdrop of a couple of poster vans telling illegal immigrants to go home.

Yet little has been said about the real problems at the sharp end – controls at our borders.

Figures I uncovered in Parliament this week reveal that more than nine out of 10 alerts on the Home Office immigration database – E-borders – are incorrect. It raises serious doubts as to whether the data used on a daily basis by the UK Border Force is fit for purpose.

While most false positives can be sifted out without the need for wasteful further investigation, such flaws in the accuracy of data suggests alerts are not being generated on the correct risks.

This compounds a continuing European problem whereby EU nationals from some countries can come to the UK without having to give their details in advance. National data protection laws prevent disclosure of this advance passenger information, even while EU free movement rules allow the journey to go ahead.

With Bulgarians and Romanians preparing to enter the UK with the right to stay from 2014, the pressure on the e-borders system, and on front-line border staff, is set to grow.

Despite repeated requests, the department has still not shared with Parliament the original business case behind the E-borders system introduced by Labour, which justified the initial £1.2 billion spend. Either the system is an important control, in which case it needs fixing, or other controls mitigate any risks raising value-for-money questions as to why we need such an expensive system.

Only a quarter of the 90,000 private flights (and many more maritime journeys) into the UK are classed as high-risk and are subject to routine border checks. Given that this classification is based on a IT system we now learn is wrong more than nine times out of 10, there is little comfort that all the necessary flights are being met.

The Home Secretary deserves great credit for acting to fix the flawed legislation through the new Immigration Bill. Constituents repeatedly tell me they want tougher controls. ...

Legislation will greatly strengthen immigration controls. But it will only be effective if it is enforced. The Treasury needs to show immigration will be a Government-wide priority. That will cost more than a few vans.
[Site link]


Border controls – education, bogus colleges
'Easy' for bogus colleges to abuse system, warns government whistleblower
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013
[Exposure: Undercover Colleges is due to air on ITV at 10.35pm on Wednesday October 23]

A whistleblower has warned bogus foreign students are being allowed into Britain because the government system giving colleges "highly trusted" status is open to abuse.

The civil servant tells ITV's Exposure programme - due to be broadcast later - that colleges allowed to sponsor student visas can sometimes be phony companies operated from "one room above a takeaway", and adds that a "complete overhaul" is required of the Home Office's authentication process.

The programme also used undercover filming at a college in east London to reveal how the manager was willing to falsify students' attendance records so they could work illegally in Britain.

In the documentary, the Home Office employee says: "The system is just too easy to abuse currently. I would say it is broken and it needs a complete overhaul.

"The Home Office are struggling to inspect colleges and educational institutions. There's not enough staff to go out and do the compliance visits."

The whistleblower adds: "The reason I felt I needed to speak out is because there are too many colleges who are deemed 'highly trusted' who are exploiting genuine students who want to come to the UK to study.

"The scale of the problem ranges from one room above a takeaway which could never be perceived to be an academic institution, to a reputable-looking premises."

Colleges are supposed to prove their credentials and comply with a range of requirements, including accurate attendance registers, before being awarded "highly trusted" status.

Once approved for the kitemark they can sponsor students to come to Britain.
[Site link]


Border controls – politics
Great, Theresa! Now get even tougher on immigration
Simon Heffer
Daily Mail, 12 October 2013

Theresa May is reckoned to be a strong contender as a future Tory leader – and no wonder. ...

Mrs May is right to seek to stop foreigners automatically having free access to public services such as the NHS. Most people will also welcome her decision to force landlords and employers to check whether someone is entitled to be in this country before they are offered long-term accommodation or work. ...

Yet despite her tough talk, there are two glaring holes in her immigration crackdown.

It does nothing to address Britain's shamefully lax border controls, and it ignores the fact that the vast majority of immigrants are legally entitled to use state services – at a cost to the country of millions of pounds that it cannot afford.

These ever-increasing numbers, who are entitled to come to this country thanks to EU agreements, are continuing to put an impossible strain on the NHS, on our schools, on the Welfare State and on the transport system.

Of course, this problem will become even worse in January when we have to open our borders to anyone from Romania and Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, many Roma gipsies are already in France, and causing mayhem. Squalid camps have sprung up across the country, particularly in the north – within easy reach of the English Channel.

France's socialist interior minister, Manuel Valls, has bravely tried to tackle the problem. Fearing a massive, new influx of foreigners, he wants the Schengen Agreement – which allows free movement of people without passport controls throughout most of mainland Europe – to be changed to exclude Bulgaria and Romania.

In Britain, however, our political leaders seem paralysed and unwilling to do anything to deal with the issue.

With breath-taking naivete, the Government has tried to allay fears by claiming that relatively few Romanians and Bulgarians will want to come here. ...

The truth is that the poor economic and social record of Romania and Bulgaria means their nationals mostly lack the education, training or entrepreneurial outlook to make a positive contribution to British life.

Questioning the wisdom of such a policy is not 'racist' – as opponents crassly argue. But I am concerned this may be a reason why ministers are so reluctant to take the issue of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants seriously.

In modern, multi-ethnic Britain, no insult sticks more firmly than being called 'racist'.

As for Theresa May, all the good she is trying to achieve through her immigration Bill is likely to be undone by the effects of a new influx of foreigners after January.
[Site link]


Border controls
UK e-borders scheme 'failing to stop terror suspects'
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 9 October 2013

The Home Office's flagship "e-borders" programme, which has taken 10 years to develop and has so far cost more than £500m, has yet to deliver significant benefits to controlling immigration and has had only a limited impact on tracking terrorists, an official watchdog has concluded.

John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, reveals in a report published on Wednesday that high-profile e-borders alerts are not even being routinely used to stop "high-risk individuals" – such as terror suspects, war criminals and those who have previously been deported from Britain – entering the country at ports and airports, apart from Heathrow.

The e-borders programme, which requires passengers to provide airlines with their personal details before they travel to and from Britain, began in 2004.

The declared intention was to "export the border" to improve immigration control and to ensure passengers considered a threat to Britain could be prevented from boarding their flights. But it is thought that only two airlines have so far signed up for the pre-departure screening checks needed for such no-fly lists to work.

Vine's inspection report also reveals that a programme designed to implement the coalition's pledge to track the movement of all passengers in and out of Britain actually covers just 65% of such movements.

Those excluded include some scheduled flights from within Europe, most train and ferry passengers and thousands arriving on private jets and boats.

Security services, counter-terrorism officers and the police told Vine full 100% coverage was vital to track the movements of terror suspects and other national security targets in and out of Britain. ...

Vine says e-borders information has resulted in the arrest of thousands of people wanted by the police over the past decade. But planned increases in passenger data collection had not been able to deliver more than 65% coverage because of problems involving European law and the difficulties of collecting advance passenger data from rail and sea operators and private flights had not been anticipated.

He says that while the high-profile alerts generated by the system – requests to stop at the arrivals gate those who have been excluded from Britain or previously deported – were being used at Heathrow, they were not being acted upon at any other airport or port. ...

The immigration minister, Mark Harper, responded by saying passengers travelling to Britain were checked across a variety of databases before departure and upon arrival: "We now take advance passenger information from 78% of those travelling to the UK by plane, and require this information from 100% of those travelling from outside the EU.

"We have the best coverage of any country in Europe, but we are working to improve our coverage further. We will take the findings of the independent inspector into account as we continue to develop our advance passenger information policies and coverage."
[Site link]


Border controls – failures
70 million a year arrive in UK unchecked: Migration chief slams £1.2 billion electronic borders fiasco
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 9 October 2013

A £1.2 billion 'electronic borders' system supposed to stop terrorists, foreign criminals and illegal immigrants getting into Britain has descended into a shambles, an official report reveals today.

Ten years after it was devised by Labour ministers, e-borders is failing to meet most of its objectives, leaving a string of gaping holes in the protections it promised to deliver.

Some 70 million passengers a year – one in three of the total – are arriving without undergoing background checks because of European Union data protection rules, inspectors found.

The report reveals:

• The system is unable to count people in and out, leaving officials in the dark about the true scale of illegal immigration.

• Technical problems mean people arriving on ferries, Eurostar trains, cruise ships and small planes are not screened in advance.

• Even when known criminals and illegals are flagged by the system, airports may not be phoned in advance to warn about their impending arrival.

• Nearly 650,000 Customs records about drugs and other contraband were deleted without even being read.

• The system is not being used to track tax fraudsters and benefits cheats going on holiday because of technical problems.

• Alerts about criminals and illegal immigrants may be missed because staff start dealing with them then 'log off and go home'.

The report is the second in two months from chief inspector of borders and immigration John Vine to have been heavily redacted by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Some 39 paragraphs or entries were deleted, and four tables of figures, on the grounds that revealing them could undermine national security. ...

When the full plans for e-borders were drawn up in 2007 Labour ministers promised to 'export the border' to other countries by forcing anyone trying to get into Britain to reveal their personal information in advance. ...

The European Commission blew the most gaping hole in the system by ruling that it would breach free movement rules to force EU citizens to hand their data over in advance.
[Site link]


Border controls – Roma, Gyspies, UK, France
The Roma invasion of Paris... next stop Britain
Claire Duffin
Sunday Telegraph, 6 October 2013

Romanian migrants are the scourge of Paris - sleeping rough, begging and blamed for rising crime. Is this what awaits Britain when they start crossing the Channel? ...

Welcome to a very modern European dilemma: how to deal with the increasing numbers of Roma using European freedom of movement rules to leave Romania and gather in the biggest and wealthiest cities of the West, where they turn to begging and, according to the authorities, crime.

Paris is bearing the brunt of the influx, but London is an increasingly attractive destination. ...

The problem in Paris is so great that it is being studied closely by Westminster city council, which is responsible for Park Lane in London, where a group of Roma is sleeping rough.

Under the current law, such Romanian migrants must leave Britain after 90 days unless they have found work. The council fears that London could see an escalation of its problems to those on the scale of Paris when all restrictions on Romanians living in Britain are lifted in the new year. ...

So far this year more than 10,000 Roma have been evicted from informal settlements, but it does not appear to have stopped them. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Roma remain in France, the vast majority gathered in shanty towns.

The Roma have been arriving in France in large numbers over the past two years, mostly thanks to good transport links and the lack of passport controls, because France is part of the Schengen area of European countries that has no border controls.

In Romania they are largely unemployed. The proceeds of begging and – allegedly – crime are far greater in western Europe than at home. ...

In London, Westminster city council is so concerned that it is holding a summit with Paris and other European cities to discuss ways to put pressure on the EU to give them greater powers to combat the problem.
[Site link]


Border controls – refugees
'Take us to the UK': Syrian refugees go on hunger strike in Calais demanding asylum
Owen Bennett
Daily Express, 4 October 2013

Dozens of Syrian asylum seekers were today occupying a roof and footbridge in Calais and demanding: "Take us to the United Kingdom".

Riot police were trying to control the group, all of whom want to claim housing and benefits in Britain rather than France.

Around 40 of them have gone on hunger strike and refuse to move from the bridge in the Calais ferry port. Some have also climbed on a roof and threatened to jump off unless their demand to be taken to England is met. ...

Denis Robin, the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais region, said: "The Syrians are in a stalemate. What we can do is offer them asylum in France", adding that they all had a "95 per cent chance of success."

Mr Robin said: "We cannot take any decision on their access to Britain. I am not persuading them to settle in France but trying to legalise their status." ...

One woman, who said she originally came from 'near Damascus', said: 'The procedures for us to claim asylum are far simpler and quicker in Britain.

"Once there we will be well treated, and can bring our families too. We can start new lives in Britain."
[Site link]


Border controls – bad decisions
Migrants wrongly allowed in to UK watchdog warns
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2013

Hundreds of migrant workers may have been wrongly allowed in to the UK because of bad decisions by immigration officers, a watchdog has warned.

One in three applications for an entrepreneur visa examined by John Vine, the chief inspector of borders, was wrongly granted, his report concluded.

He signalled the problem may have been created by an urgency to clear a new immigration backlog of 9,000 cases which emerged last year when applications for entrepreneur visas increased 16 fold in just ten months.

The scale of wrong decisions could be even worse because it was impossible to judge whether correct decisions had been made in almost half the cases examined due to poor paperwork, the report said. ...

The review is the latest in a series of highly critical reports by the watchdog on the immigration system.

It is particularly embarrassing as the entrepreneur route is part of the Government's flagship policy to cut overall immigration while still attracting "the brightest and the best". ...

The entrepreneur visa is aimed at the most talented and high skilled individuals who can boost the UK economy.

However, following the closure of another immigration route, which allowed foreign students to look for work after finishing their degrees, applications rocketed as they switched to the entrepreneur route.
[Site link]


Border controls – visitor bond
Forcing immigration bonds will cause 'outrage', says Cable
Daily Telegraph, 12 September 2013

Conservative plans to force visitors from India, Pakistan and Nigeria to pay £3,000 cash bonds before they can enter Britain are "negative" and will cause "outrage", the Liberal Democrats have warned.

In a Coalition split Vince Cable, the Lib Dem business secretary, said he will urge Theresa May, the Tory Home Secretary, to reconsider to reconsider the plans amid concerns that they will damage international relations.

Mrs May has proposed that all visitors from seven high risk countries will have to pay a cash guarantee to enter the country, which they forfeit if they overstay in Britain and fail to return to their home countries by the time their visa had expired. ...

Asked if Theresa May should reconsider the policy, which is due to be piloted in November, Mr Cable said: "Yes, I think so."
[Site link]


Border controls
Britain's borders in chaos: How terrorist warning system doesn't work, millions of passengers go unchecked and staff are too frightened to blow the whistle [part 1]
James Slack and Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 4 September 2013

Crippling staff shortages and a failing system to screen criminals have left Britain's borders in a state of chaos, officials warn today.

Terrorists and offenders are slipping through the net, while tens of millions of passengers are arriving on flights and ferries without proper background checks, they say.

In a devastating report, Westminster's spending watchdog highlighted massive security flaws at the country's ports and airports.

The inquiry by the National Audit Office found the database used to stop terrorists, dangerous criminals and illegal immigrants getting into Britain – the Warnings Index system – is deeply 'unstable'.

Border security is being undermined by staff shortages, with immigration officials being pulled off checks on drugs, weapons and illegal migrants to help hit passenger queue targets, it said.

It also uncovered a 'culture of fear' within the agency that prevents staff from raising the alarm over border lapses.

Meanwhile, personal details on one third of the 106 million people entering Britain every year are not handed over in advance, meaning nearly 40 million do not undergo background checks before they land.

The audit's results came as MPs warned border checks in Britain are so lax that the country is at the mercy of 'easyJet criminals' who fly in and out on the same day without detection.

In an evidence session with police, Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz said foreign nationals with convictions overseas can enter the UK, go on a crime spree and then leave hours later without being caught.

Even if police are hunting them, they are not stopped because border guards are not checking people as they leave the country.

Of the criminals who are being trapped by Britain's biggest force, an astonishing 28 per cent a year – or around 70,000 – are born overseas.

Half of them are from inside the EU, where cheap flights to Britain on budget airlines are readily available.

Some 35 per cent of the foreign criminals have convictions at home but nothing was done to stop them entering the UK.

Incredibly, 8 per cent of the foreign nationals picked up by the Met in London were wanted by police in their homeland but still arrived here unhindered.

Police commander Allan Gibson replied: 'That is a matter for the UK Border Agency because I don't police people leaving the country.'
[Site link]


Border controls
Britain's borders in chaos: How terrorist warning system doesn't work, millions of passengers go unchecked and staff are too frightened to blow the whistle [part 2]
James Slack and Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 4 September 2013

The NAO inquiry focused on the Warnings Index system to check for foreign criminals. It was set up in the early 1990s and was designed to last just seven years, but it has now been running for more than 20.

Fed by intelligence from immigration authorities, police, security services and foreign governments, it will raise a 'red flag' when a suspect trying to enter the country has their passport scanned.

This should prompt immigration officials to detain them for questioning.

John Vine, of Borders and Immigration, has described it as the 'single most important electronic check carried out by the Agency on passengers arriving in the UK'.

But the NAO said the Warnings Index system 'contains a great deal of out-of-date information'.

Officials warned that as well as duplicate data it also contains a raft of errors such as the misspelling of a name which could allow a wanted criminal to waltz into Britain unchecked.

The whole system is 'now unstable and at risk of collapsing', they said.

As part of the £1.2 billion e-borders scheme to check those entering Britain, airlines and ferry companies are meant to send information about their passengers in advance of flights arriving in Britain.

Labour ministers had intended the scheme to cover 95 per cent of flights by 2010 but the report revealed they are only collecting information on 63 per cent of passengers, meaning nearly 40 million out of 106 million arrivals are not advance checked before they reach Britain.

Furthermore, a ministerial edict to hit queue targets, combined with staff shortages, meant there were not enough officials to carry out lorry searches for illegal stowaways or to search for weapons, drugs, counterfeit goods and cigarettes, the report said.

Auditors said lorry searches were suspended 22 times in three days in April this year to deal with queues or to allow staff to take meal breaks.

Staff were also 'too busy' to properly interrogate arrivals suspected of intending to remain in Britain illegally – allowing in hundreds every month who should have been turned away. In April last year the numbers refused entry fell to 64 per cent of the target.

MP Margaret Hodge, chairman of the public accounts committee, said it was 'deeply worrying' that the Border Force drive to cut queuing time came 'at the expense of its other responsibilities'.

Between 2010 and 2012, some 500 staff were cut out of the 8,000 Border Force workforce, as its budget fell by nearly £50 million.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: 'The Border Force must be able to check both goods and passengers at the same time – border security cannot be an 'either/or' choice.'
[Site link]


Border controls – identity checks
Vital migrant I.D checks scrapped: Stowaways no longer fingerprinted at Calais which means they can keep trying to sneak back in to claim asylum
Sue Reid
Daily Mail, 24 August 2013

The UK has abandoned identity checks on illegal immigrants trying to sneak into the country from Calais.

In a huge security downgrade, Border Force officials no longer photograph or fingerprint immigrants found stowing away in lorries at the Channel ferry port.

Instead, they are handed to French police, who free them, enabling them to try again and again until they succeed.

The scrapping of fingerprinting means that if the migrants reach Britain and apply for asylum under a false identity, claiming to be refugees, immigration officers have no way of identifying them as having previously tried to enter Britain illegally. As a result, they cannot expose their new identity as fake.

Economic migrants, criminals and terrorists can now slip much more easily through the net. This contrasts with the increasingly strict checks on holiday-makers, who have to hand over their passport which contains biometric information to confirm their identities.

Tory MP Peter Bone last night called for the 'extraordinary' and 'disturbing' loophole to be closed. The scandal, which makes a mockery of Government promises of tougher immigration controls, has been going on for more than three years. It came to light during an official inspection, which published its report two weeks ago.

The security gap also means migrants' details cannot be checked against prints and photos taken in the EU country where they first enter Europe – often Italy, Greece or Malta. Under the rules, migrants are meant to live in the EU country where they arrived while their asylum claim is processed there.

But many immediately head straight for Britain because the benefits system is more generous. Once in the UK, they can avoid being sent back to the original country of entry by lying about their identity.

Terrorists and foreign criminals can create horror stories about their past lives and pretend to be refugees.

Economic migrants seeking a 'better life' are also able to fabricate tales of needing urgent asylum, claiming they come from war-torn countries. This creates havoc in the UK's overburdened asylum system as officials try to sort out who is a genuine refugee.

The Border Force claims it catches 8,000 would-be illegal migrants in lorries in northern France each year.

But this official tally is now in doubt because a migrant whose identity goes unchecked in Calais can make multiple attempts as a stowaway to get to Britain while being counted again and again as a new 'catch'.

John Vine, independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, who wrote the report, said: 'It seems odd that ordinary travellers are subject to 100 per cent checks when those travelling illegally are not subject to this regime. People attempting to enter the UK concealed in freight vehicles, who are discovered by Border Force, are no longer fingerprinted at Calais.'

British border officials stopped processing 'clandestines discovered in freight vehicles' at the port in January 2010. They blamed the lack of available 'detention' facilities.
[Site link]


Border controls – illegal immigration
Border staff 'not fingerprinting' illegal immigrants in France
BBC, 8 August 2013

UK border staff in France are failing to take the fingerprints of thousands of illegal immigrants caught trying to enter Britain, inspectors say.

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration said records should be kept in case the same people later claimed asylum in the UK.

John Vine also said people-smugglers were not being fined heavily enough.

The Home Office pointed to positive elements of the report and said it had "already addressed" some of the issues.

However, Home Secretary Theresa May has redacted [blacked out] some sections of the reporting, prompting opposition politicians to ask what the government was trying to hide.

Overall, Mr Vine said the UK was working well with France and Belgium on stopping illegal immigration.

But inspectors found UK officials at Calais had stopped taking photographs and fingerprints of illegal immigrants in 2010 because of problems with the availability of cells to hold people in. This was also later stopped at Coquelles.

Mr Vine said: "Gathering biometric information such as fingerprints could assist the decision-making process if these individuals were ultimately successful in reaching the UK and went on to claim asylum."

In the 12 months from September 2011, more than 8,000 illegal immigrants were caught and stopped from entering the UK in vehicles and other containers at Calais, Coquelles and Dunkirk.

Under a system called "juxtaposed controls", people travelling on certain routes between the UK, France and Belgium go through immigration checks before boarding a train or ferry rather than on arrival.

Among his findings, Mr Vine said those trying to smuggle immigrants into Britain were being fined far less than the legal maximum.

None of the fines imposed were "remotely close" to the maximum of £2,000 each for the driver and the vehicle owner for every immigrant found, he said.

The report also said border staff remained concerned over the so-called "Lille loophole", which effectively exempts from immigration checks some passengers who travel on the Eurostar from Brussels, in Belgium, via Lille, in France. ...

A Home Office spokesman said Mrs May was required to take out any information which would be "prejudicial to the interests of national security".
[Site link]


Border controls
Theresa May accused of cover up over devastating border security report: 15 passages are redacted 'for reasons of national security'
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 8 August 2013

The Home Office was last night accused of an 'immigration cover-up' after parts of a highly critical border security report were blacked out. ...

Among the details erased from the report is the number of illegal migrants sneaking into Britain on Eurostar trains from Brussels.

The so-called 'Lille loophole' allows migrants to stay on the train through France without showing any documentation because they are in the EU's free travel zone, and then arrive at St Pancras to claim asylum. ...

On the Lille Loophole, Mr Vine wrote: 'During our familiarisation visit in October 2012, managers confirmed that this was still a cause for concern regarding the security of the border.'

The whole of the following paragraph was redacted, as were several others in the section, including one containing numbers of illegals suspected of abusing the route.

Such is the scale of the problem that Mr Vine called on ministers to build immigration detention facilities at St Pancras in central London.

The report warned that the UK was facing a surge in the number of illegal immigrants seeking to enter the country through the channel ports.
[Site link]


Border controls – numbers
Flimsy facts undermine our migration debate
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 28 July 2013

When the Coalition came to office in 2010, net migration was 252,000 – the highest ever. In 2011, it dropped to around 200,000. And in the 12 months to September 2012 it had fallen again, to 153,000. ...

When officials scan your passport, presumably they are tallying up the numbers, and the immigration status, of those passing through?

They aren't. ...

The passport scans are simply for checking names against a terrorist or criminal watchlist. E-borders may eventually help count migration – but not until at least 2018.

The figure is actually calculated by a giant extrapolation, using the International Passenger Survey, which involves face-to-face interviews with randomly selected passengers at airports and ports.

It's a large survey, with around 700,000 interviews a year. But the vast majority of those are tourists, holidaymakers, business travellers or other short-term visitors.

In 2011, the total number of interviews with immigrants was just 2,620 and with emigrants – British people going to live overseas – was 1,824. From this base, the net migration figure is constructed.

Adjustments are made for the smallness of the sample, and the figures are checked against other indicators. The sampling and the quality of the data, according to most experts, has improved recently.

But because that sample is still so tiny, the margin of error is absolutely huge, plus or minus 35,000 in each direction with a small chance it is even more.

The latest net migration figure trumpeted by Mr Harper could, therefore, be as little as 118,000 – or as much as 188,000. Nobody knows where the truth really lies – so much so, that the Government's own advisers say that to be sure of meeting the 100,000 target, ministers should aim for a headline figure of 50,000. ...

The accuracy of the interviews relies on getting a fair sample across all nationalities and entry points. But figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show that in 2010, 76 per cent of all the survey's interviews with immigrants were conducted at Heathrow.

Just 1 per cent – 31 interviews – were done at Dover, one of the biggest ports of entry, and only 4 per cent – 115 interviews – at Stansted, a major destination for low-cost flights from eastern Europe.

Key immigrant nationalities are under-represented too. In 2010's survey, the number of Somalis identifying themselves as immigrants was just three. The number of Jamaicans was three, too. Only 103 Poles – out of a total of 8,294 – identified themselves as long-term immigrants.

That points to another problem: interviewees may not tell the truth (whether intentionally or otherwise – if their English is poor, it might just be that they didn't understand the questions).

Polish immigrants, in particular, often come for less than a year, doing a succession of short-term jobs with brief trips home in between. Anyone in that position doesn't count in the statistics at all. ...

The Commons public administration select committee called it "unfit for purpose" and wondered whether ministers even want it to be right.

"Some would say that successive governments have hardly been trying to fix it – they didn't want people to know the truth," says Bernard Jenkin, the committee's Tory chairman.
[Site link]


Border controls – asylum
REVEALED: How 70 Olympic athletes and coaches are still in Britain after claiming asylum last year
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 22 July 2013

Seventy Olympic athletes and coaches who claimed political asylum after the Games last year are still in Britain.

Half have already been granted refugee status by the Home Office and will be allowed to settle.

The rest are still in the country fighting for the right to remain.

Police have admitted they are also looking for several other Olympic visa holders whose right to be in the UK expired seven months ago. They have 'simply wandered off to make a better life' in Britain, according to a senior officer.

At the end of the Games, reports suggested around 21 athletes and coaches had disappeared from the Olympic Village and failed to return home to countries including the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Cameroon and Sudan.

But the Daily Mail has learnt the true total is much higher.

Some 70,000 Olympic Games Family Member visas were issued to give coaches, athletes and team officials a limited right to stay in Britain until last November.

A Freedom of Information request to the Home Office about how many stayed on after that was not answered for seven months, despite a legal deadline of 21 days.

Sources said officials had been 'running around desperately' to find as many illegal Olympic over-stayers as possible before answering questions.

When the request was finally answered, officials said they believed the 'great majority' of the 70,000 had left the country.

But they admitted asylum applications had been submitted by 79 Olympic visa holders, just nine of whom had been removed from the country.

Another 22 have been refused asylum but are engaged in lengthy appeals, and decisions are pending in 13 cases. ...

Officials have refused to give a full breakdown of the asylum seekers' nationalities because, they claimed, it risked identifying them, but it is thought the vast majority are African.
[Site link]


Border controls – Bulgarians
First the Romanians NOW the Bulgarians: New research shows new wave of immigrants
Alison Little
Daily Express, 12 July 2013

Fresh demands to halt a new wave of immigration next year were made yesterday after research showed that tens of thousands of Bulgarians are set to arrive in Britain.

A survey found nearly a fifth of Bulgarians aged 15 to 55 are planning to move to another EU state in the next couple of years.

It could mean about 400,000 leaving when immigration controls on their movement in the European Union are lifted on January 1.

With Britain the second destination of choice behind Germany, as many as 80,000 could head here. ...

The survey by the agency Afis for the European Parliament found that a significant proportion – mostly qualified and well-educated professionals with only a minority admitting they expect to claim benefits – were keen to move.

Forty-three per cent of those who want to leave Bulgaria would like to go to Germany and more than a third – 34 per cent – want to come here.

English is now the most popular second language in Bulgaria.

A spokesman for the Bulgarian Embassy in London said: "The forecast according to the Afis survey is not that 400,000 but that only 193,000 would eventually migrate for a long term to other EU member states and this could happen from three to six years from now, not in January 2014 alone.

"We still do not have any estimates of how many Bulgarians may move to Britain and we stick to our position that it is hard to predict."

Meanwhile yesterday a gang of Roma gypsies was accused of soaring crime and turning one of London's most exclusive areas into a "sewer".

Official crime figures show the gang of up to 50 migrants makes up a third of the total number of arrests for picking pockets in London's Mayfair.

Westminster Councillor Nickie Allen said: "The figures indicate that the groups around Mayfair and Marble Arch are predominately Roma and they do cause a disproportionate amount of crime, begging and mess.

"We need a tightening of border controls to ensure that people whose only intent is to beg are not allowed."
[Site link]


Border controls – politics, EU
EU immigration policies are fueling extremism, claims Liam Fox in blistering attack
Owen Bennett
Daily Express, 8 July 2013

Extremism is on the rise because immigration policies are being dictated by politicians in Brussels, said former Defence Secretary Liam Fox today in a stinging attack on the EU.

The ex-Cabinet Minister called for an immigration policy which puts Britain first, and warned the EU hierarchy they will destroy the whole project because of their "obsession with ever closer union." ...

Mr Fox argued the issue of border control is one which causes the most concern to British people, and called for tightening up of the immigration rules.

He indicated a green-card style system could be introduced as part of an "open and shut" immigration system.

"What I am proposing is in fact an open and shut policy: more open to those who have the skills that we will need to maintain our prosperity and place in the world and more closed to those who, for whatever reason, would end up placing a burden on our welfare system and national infrastructure," he said. ...

"Those in the political mainstream need to tackle this issue in a rational and responsible way. If we do not, there are those on the political margins who will use it to create division and fear. We have a duty to stop them."
[Site link]


Border controls – visitor bonds
Your money is your bond. An ill-conceived scheme to encourage foreign visitors to leave
The Economist, 29 June 2013

On a visit to India in February David Cameron gushed about Britain's special relationship with its former colony. He talked of forging one of the great partnerships of the 21st century. He bragged of how many Indians could travel to Britain. So much for that. This week Theresa May, the home secretary, announced a pilot scheme to make visitors from India (as well as from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria) pay a £3,000 "bond" when applying for visas. It would be returned when they leave.

Details are scant. The Home Office says it is planning a pilot scheme for November, targeting "high-risk" applicants on six-month visitor visas. The countries have been chosen because they pose a risk of abuse, says the department. Around 400,000 Indians visit each year. Last year 1,710 were forced to leave and 6,896 departed voluntarily after violating the terms of their visas.

... Today Australia demands bonds from some visitors from high-risk countries entering on family visas. The amount varies, but is up to AUD $15,000 (£9,000). A local sponsor must stump up the cash, which is refunded when the visitor leaves. The government says the system has reduced overstaying. In 2009-10 less than 0.5% of the 4.5m temporary entrants broke the rules.

But there is a difference. Australia has tough exit controls, so that it can verify when people leave and refund the bond. Britain would have to introduce new exit checks. It is not clear whether visitors or local sponsors would pay the bond.

Nor, oddly, would immigrant bonds boost the government's fortunes. Ms May says they would bring down net immigration, which the government has pledged to cut to the tens of thousands. But net immigration is measured by the international passenger survey, which does not count as migrants those intending to stay for less than a year. The visas at issue are for up to six months. So even if bonds do deter overstayers, the net migration statistics will not reflect it, says Scott Blinder of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.
[Site link]


Border controls
Border agency ignored 35,000 leads in asylum backlog, says report
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 26 June 2013

Border agency officials ignored 35,000 possible leads which could have been used to trace missing asylum seekers and other immigrants from the Home Office's massive backlog, a new report has revealed.

The immigration watchdog found the now-defunct UK Border Agency (UKBA) failed to pursue leads which surfaced after the names of unaccounted for immigrants were run through the Police National Computer (PNC).

Officials who were supposed to be clearing the backlog took no action on 3,077 positive hits from the database, the report said.

There were a further 32,358 partial matches on the PNC, described as "maybe" hits, which could also have led to the missing immigrants being traced but these, too, were ignored.

The failure is particularly serious because the inclusion of the immigrants' names in the PNC means they had potentially been involved in crime.

John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, said in his report: "We believe that all 3,077 PNC positive hits ... should have resulted in further enquires by the agency in an attempt to locate the applicants.

"In our view, PNC information is valuable and might well have resulted in new information coming to light that would have helped the agency to locate individuals.

"It is surprising that the agency went to the trouble of trying to identify PNC 'maybe' hits only them to take no action on them."
[Site link]


Border controls – visitor bonds
David Cameron halts UK migrant bond plan for 'high risk' visitors
Helen Warrell, Roger Blitz and James Crabtree
Financial Times, 26 June 2013

David Cameron has slammed the brakes on government plans to demand a £3,000 migrant bond from "high risk" overseas visitors after news of the policy provoked uproar in Delhi and threatened his attempt to boost trade links with India.

The prime minister's allies said Mr Cameron had "not signed off" details of the policy – trailed in Sunday newspapers – while Lib Dem and Tory business ministers warned that the idea would be damaging to Britain's economic interests.

Mr Cameron has told Theresa May, home secretary, that he will not sanction any policy that undermines his growth agenda or the "open for business" message he delivered on a recent trip to India.

"The prime minister has not cleared this policy," said one ally. "He doesn't want to do anything that cuts across the message he took to India."

Although Downing St said pilot studies involving the use of migrant bonds – or deposits – for some visitors would go ahead, neither Mr Cameron nor Nick Clegg, his Lib Dem deputy, have agreed the scope of the scheme or the size of the bonds.

Mr Cameron is especially keen that the pilot study targets "high risk" individuals and is not seen as being aimed at any particular country.

Ms May wanted the trial of a £3,000 bond to begin in November, levied on short-term visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana. ...

The Home Office said on Tuesday the November pilot would be "highly selective", focusing only on those visitors from India and other countries thought to present a "residual risk" of overstaying. "Any pilot will not apply to all visitors from the selected countries and the vast majority of visitors will not need to pay a bond," a spokeswoman said.
[Site link]


Border controls – bonds
India warns over UK plan to make visitors pay £3,000 bond
BBC, 25 June 2013

Indian business leaders have criticised plans to make visitors pay a £3,000 "security bond" to enter the UK.

The idea, to be piloted from November, is aimed at deterring people from "high risk" countries staying in the UK once their short-term visas expire.

Under the plan, they would forfeit the money unless they left when required.

The Confederation of Indian Industry said it was "highly discriminatory" but Home Secretary Theresa May defended the "selective" approach to migration.

The UK government says the problem of so-called "overstayers" is one of the biggest challenges facing the immigration system and they want to target visitors from certain countries who present the greatest risk.

Although it has yet to be confirmed, it has been reported that visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria will be required to deposit £3,000 ($4,600) for a six-month visa, to be forfeited if they don't leave when they should. ...

Nigerian politicians have also criticised the plan as "unacceptable" and pledged to stand up for their country's interests. ...

The Home Office said the details of the pilot scheme had yet to be finalised and the countries yet to be selected. ...

A No 10 spokesman said the government was "looking at ways of deterring overstaying and bonds are an option". ...

The idea was floated several times by the previous Labour government but never implemented after protests at the turn of the century against plans for bonds of £3,000 and £10,000 being brought in.
[Site link]


Border controls – cash bonds
Cash bonds to ensure that immigrants return home
Robert Winnett
Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2013

Immigrants seeking to work or study in Britain will have to deposit "cash bonds" that will be returned only when they return to their home countries, Nick Clegg will announce.

The Deputy Prime Minister will say that the growing problem of people overstaying their visas must be addressed and that "innovative" tactics are needed. Those coming from countries deemed to be high-risk may have to deposit at least £1,000 under the plans.

In a major speech on immigration, the Liberal Democrat leader will also warn that Britain cannot "pull up the drawbridge" as the country's future economic prosperity depends on high-quality people moving here.

It is a rare intervention for the Liberal Democrats on immigration policy and reflects growing concern within the Coalition over the importance of the issue to voters. Sources close to the Deputy Prime Minister said the Lib Dems would now be signalling a "tougher stance" towards immigration as polling showed it to be of growing importance.

In his speech, Mr Clegg will say that immigration needs to be "well managed" if the system is to enjoy the confidence of ordinary Britons. He says tolerance of communities across the country was dependent on being intolerant of the abuse of the immigration system.

"The problem is that the system has not been well-managed," he will say. "It has been grossly mismanaged. The previous government left us an immigration system in disarray. I cannot stress enough just how chaotic it was.

"The first thing they did, after coming into office, was stop checking if people were leaving the country. They got rid of exit checks. They weren't counting people in and they weren't counting people out either."

The Deputy Prime Minister will set out proposals to stem illegal immigration, including doubling the penalties for employers taking on those without the necessary documentation.

He will say that one of the main issues is "overstayers" who arrive legally but do not leave again. "Visa overstayers are the major part of UK Border Agency's enforcement caseload," Mr Clegg will say. ... ...

He says he has asked the Home Office to examine a system of security bonds with a view to running a pilot before the end of the year. ...

However, Mr Clegg will also stress the importance of immigration. Noting that he is the son of Dutch mother and has a Spanish wife, he says the NHS would "fall over" if immigration was stopped.
[Site link]


Border controls
Immigration chief: system may never be fixed
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 12 June 2013

The woman put in charge of Britain's immigration system has admitted the organisation once dubbed "not fit for purpose" may never be fixed.

Sarah Rapson, the director general of UK Visas and Immigration, also told MPs that she could not guarantee that further backlogs may be hidden in the system.

Miss Rapson, who was appointed earlier this year by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, told the Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee her organisation is currently processing 190,000 cases.

Keith Vaz, committee chairman, said it was an "astonishing" figure and asked Miss Rapson to provide full written details as soon as possible.

Asked about the chequered history of the immigration service, which was part of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) until it was split up earlier this year, Miss Rapson said: "We are at the start of a journey to creating a customer service culture. Is it perfect? I don't think so.

"It's my intention to make some improvements.

"Will we ever finish the job? No."

Mr Vaz asked her about the long history of backlogs at the former UKBA, which has more than 300,000 unresolved cases on its books.

"Are you satisfied that there is nothing else on the list," said Mr Vaz.

"No, I'm not," said Miss Rapson.
[Site link]


Border controls – European Union
UK Immigration: Benefit Tourists 'Must Be Clamped Down On' Says Theresa May
Huffington Post, 8 June 2013

Theresa May has reiterated her commitment to tackling "benefit tourists", immigrants that move across the European Union to access welfare with no intention of working.

Speaking following discussions at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg, the Home Secretary said free movement abuse was a problem for a number of EU member states.

She said a commitment to tackle the problem had been secured following discussions with EU partners.

Mrs May said: "We must clamp down on free movement abuse, which takes its toll on our public services and local communities.

"The UK ensured this issue was high on today's agenda, and I am grateful to our EU partners for their increased support following our constructive discussion.

"Ministers have today acknowledged that free movement abuse is a problem for a number of Member States and we have secured a commitment to find EU-wide solutions to this problem.

"Stopping the abuse of free movement will help us to maintain an immigration system that works in the UK's national interest.

"But this is not a problem for the UK alone. That is why we are continuing to develop a consistent and collaborative approach across the EU."
[Site link]


Border controls – EU, public opinion
We must stop the migrant invasion: voters demand effective border control
Alison Little
Daily Express, 6 June 2013

Voters have made clear their anger at the European Union for curbing Britain's power to limit immigration.

Wresting back control of our borders from Brussels is the public's number one priority with regard to EU membership, a poll showed yesterday.

Almost seven in 10 say it must be at the top of David Cameron's agenda when he renegotiates our relationship with Europe as promised.
[Site link]


Border controls – EU, crime, politics
Beggars and thieves from across Europe are flocking to the streets of Britain, Theresa May warns the EU
James Slack
Daily Mail, 6 June 2013

Migrants are travelling from across the EU to 'beg and steal' on the streets of Britain, Theresa May will warn Europe's leaders.

The Home Secretary will demand action to end abuse of the EU's free movement directive by people who have no intention of finding work.

At a meeting of European home affairs ministers in Luxembourg on Friday, she will highlight how gangs of beggars are setting up camps in London to launch raids on the unsuspecting public.

She will also outline a case in which Romanian fraudsters fleeced the British taxpayer of almost £3 million.

Home Office officials say it is a huge achievement for the issue to even be discussed.

EU leaders have been reluctant to even contemplate any changes to the rules – it has taken three years for Mrs May to get it on the agenda.

According to Whitehall sources, the Home Secretary will say that abuse of free movement rights by some EU migrants is placing an 'unacceptable burden on our schools, our hospitals, our social security systems and our local communities'.

She will stress that it is unacceptable that some EU nationals are able to come to countries such as the UK with no intention of working, but simply to access our state benefits and take advantage of our public services.

Mrs May will then tell the rest of Europe that it cannot be right that national governments are unable to act to stop this abuse.
[Site link]


Border controls – visas
Auction off immigration visas say Tory MPs
Macer Hall
Daily Express, 3 June 2013

A group of Tory MPs are to call for immigration visas to be sold to the highest bidders.

Under their proposal, foreign tycoons could make offers to pay to come to live in Britain. Overseas-based firms could also bid for visas for their employees.

Backbench MPs from the Free Enterprise Group claim the measure would attract business people who were more likely to contribute to the UK. They also believe the plan would cut the number of immigrants likely to claim benefits.

The proposal is among a string of measures put forward in a report setting out a new blueprint for an "industrial policy".

The document, written by Tory MPs George Freeman and Kwasi Kwarteng, urged ministers to "introduce market-based immigration visas".

It said: "The Government should reform our immigration system to make it easier for entrepreneurs, stop welfare eligibility for immigrants, and auction visas to companies or high net worth individuals.

"This would ensure that the people coming to Britain are those who would add signification value to the economy.

"Selling visas to companies or individuals would be less bureaucratic than today's system, allowing the Government to control the flow through price changes and ensure that workers would only come if they added significant value to the economy."
[Site link]


Border controls
Jump off here for the UK: Looking like Casper the Ghost, migrants smuggled here inside a flour tanker... only to be set free by border officials and told how to claim asylum
Neil Sears
Daily Mail, 18 May 2013

Covered in flour, they clamber from a foreign lorry – to the amazement of other motorists on a busy motorway.

This is the moment that at least nine suspected illegal immigrants emerged from their hiding place after smuggling themselves into the UK.

The gang brazenly strolled off into the English countryside. And although all were caught within minutes, almost half were immediately set free. They were even taken to a hostel, given free accommodation and told how to apply for asylum and benefits.

The graphic illustration of how Britain remains a soft touch for migrants occurred on the M26 in Kent this week. And it seems it was not a rare event. Kent Police say that for the past two years they have received on average one report a day relating to clandestine immigration. ...

The Border Agency said: 'Immigration Enforcement officials were contacted by Kent Police after they attended an incident on the M26 on Tuesday.

'Nine men – four Syrians, two Iranians, an Egyptian, an Iraqi and a Palestinian – were arrested at the scene on suspicion of immigration offences.' But it admitted: 'Four of the men – two Syrians, an Egyptian and an Iranian – have since been released on immigration bail while their cases are considered by the Home Office.

'If they are found to have no right to remain in the UK they will face removal. The other men remain in immigration detention pending their removal from the UK.' ...

Last night a Home Office spokesman refused to discuss the nine arrivals in detail but suggested that the four who were set free would have been given transport to a hostel where they would be housed rent-free. ...

The Home Office spokesman claimed to have no figures for the number of clandestine arrivals caught in Kent – saying immigration control centres were in France and Belgium, not England.
[Site link]


Border controls – European Union
Migrant loophole 'lets in 20,000 a year': Rule allows EU nationals living here to bring their families into Britain without checks
Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 13 May 2013

Twenty thousand migrants a year are being let into Britain under a loophole that could be exploited by sham-marriage racketeers, a report warns today.

Under European law, EU nationals living in this country are allowed to bring in spouses or partners and their families from anywhere in the world with no checks or qualifications.

But British citizens who want to bring in a wife, husband or partner and family from abroad must first show they have an income of £18,600 or more to guarantee their dependants will not become a burden on the taxpayer.

The report by the MigrationWatch UK think-tank warns that 20,000 people a year are now coming to live in Britain as partners of a citizen of another EU country.

The loophole means the system is wide open to abuse by racketeers who can charge vast sums of money to set up a sham marriage, it said.

Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch said: 'This is a loophole that must be closed and soon.

'It is absurd that EU citizens should be in a more favourable position than our own citizens.

'Furthermore, 20,000 per year is a very large number to admit unconditionally, especially compared to the government's target of tens of thousands for annual net migration.'

Under the rules, a member of the family of an EU citizen - who has the right to travel to and work freely in Britain - can bring in their family under a 'European Economic Area family permit'.

The permit is issued to any national of another EU country who is living in Britain and applies for it.

The report said: 'A Polish or French person can marry someone from outside the EU, say Kenya or Vietnam, and can bring their spouse into the UK, even if they do not have a job earning £18,600 or indeed any job.

'The couple would be entitled to full access to the welfare state. A British or non-EU settled resident would not be allowed to bring in a spouse without this minimum income.'

A number of Indian nationals from the former Portuguese territory of Goa are thought to have taken advantage of the loophole. Indians living in Goa can claim they have Portuguese heritage and so claim Portuguese citizenship.

They can then move directly to Britain – without ever having to visit Portugal – and bring a family without meeting any qualification test.
[Site link]


Border controls
Former UK immigration boss says system has been out of control since 2000, 18 April 2013

The former head of the UK Border Force (UKBF) Tony Smith says that Britain lost control of its immigration system between 2000 and 2003 under the Labour government of Tony Blair. He said 'There was a huge influx and frankly I don't think we have ever recovered from that'.

Mr Smith has worked in immigration enforcement for nearly thirty years. In 2012, he took control of the UKBF which was the agency responsible for the UK's frontline immigration activities such as passport control and customs control at airports, seaports and railway stations.

Mr Smith said that the influx of illegal immigrants between 2000 and 2003 was so great that UK immigration staff were unable to do anything about it. He told The Sun newspaper that many of those that arrived then have since changed their names and are now untraceable.

Mr Smith said that UK immigration staff were powerless. 'There's little you can do other than take their details and pass them on' he said.

The UK's immigration regime has been in turmoil for many years. In 2006, the then Home Secretary Dr John Reid abolished the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office, which was then responsible for immigration, because staff discovered a hidden cache of some 450,000 asylum cases that had been put into storage without being dealt with.

Dr Reid declared that the Immigration and Nationality Directorate was 'not fit for purpose' and abolished it. He said that the backlog of 450,000 cases would be dealt with within five years.

In 2008, the UK Border Agency was founded. It was founded as an independent agency in the hope that this would prove to be a more effective management structure providing greater independence of action. However, the UKBA was not a success. Throughout its existence it was criticised by the Home Affairs Committee, a committee of MPs whose task it was to scrutinise the performance of the UKBA.

In February 2012, Theresa May, the UK's Coalition government's Home Secretary, discovered that UKBA staff had stopped carrying out biometric checks on passengers travelling through customs and checking passengers' names against the anti-terrorist Warnings Index on over 150 occasions. Mrs May announced that she would remove the responsibility for frontline border security from the UKBA and establish a separate agency, the UKBF, which would be solely responsible for the frontline.

However, this did not solve the UKBA's problems. On 25th March 2013, the Home Affairs Committee issued a report which criticised the UKBA fiercely. It said that the backlog of 450,000 cases which had been discovered in 2006 had not been cleared by 2011 as Dr Reid had promised but still stood at over 300,000 cases. At that rate, the report said, the backlog would take 24 years to clear. Mrs May said that the UKBA was 'not good enough' and announced on 26th March 2013 that she would abolish the UKBA and take its functions back into the Home Office. This happened on 1st April 2013. ...

It remains to be seen whether the performance of UK immigration will improve.
[Site link]


Border controls – illegal immigration
Our border is out of order: Ex-immigration chief lifts the lid on chaos
Tom Morgan
The Sun, 8 April 2013

Britain's former border control boss has admitted that immigration to this country "was out of control".

Ex-UK Border Agency chief Tony Smith lifted the lid on the task facing ministers as they fight to clear a backlog of 320,000 cases.

And he confessed during a candid interview with The Sun: "We just don't know who's here and who isn't."

Speaking for the first time since retiring from his government post last month, Mr Smith blamed the crisis on a surge of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants who flocked in under Labour from 2000 to 2003. He revealed many had simply ditched their passports and changed their names to avoid detection and stay.

He said: "That's one of the big problems. We just don't know who's here and who isn't.

"The immigration process has been a very tricky journey.

"That was the time we had 100,000 asylum seekers arriving a year – people camping on the beaches in Dover.

"There was a huge influx and frankly I don't think we have ever recovered from that.

"It's quite hard when people come into the country in large numbers. There's little you can do other than take their details and pass them on."

MPs have warned the backlog of cases will take 24 years to clear after Home Secretary Theresa May announced she was breaking up the shambolic UK Border Agency.

But Mr Smith said the crisis could have been averted had the tough ID card scheme and passport finger-printing not been dropped.

He said the new changes would help tackle illegal immigration and that the Border Agency was now "in pretty good shape".
[Site link]


Border controls – UK Border Agency
Theresa May splits border agency to end 'secretive and defensive' culture
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 27 March 2013

Britain's beleaguered immigration service is to be split in two and brought directly under ministers' control for the first time in five years, the Home Secretary announced today. ...

"In keeping with the changes we made last year to Border Force, the Government is splitting up the UK Border Agency," Mrs May told the House of Commons.

"In its place will be an immigration and visa service and an immigration law enforcement organisation.

"UKBA was given agency status in order to keep its work at an arm's length from ministers. That was wrong. It created a closed, secretive and defensive culture.

"So I can tell the House that the new entities will not have agency status and will sit in the Home Office, reporting to ministers."
[Site link]


Border controls – chaos
Chaotic UK Border Agency will not clear backlog until 2037
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 25 March 2013

Britain's border bosses come under fire today in a report which brands their handling of immigration as "misleading" and "chaotic".

A backlog of immigration applications as big as the population of Iceland will take 24 years to clear at the rate the shambolic UK Border Agency is working, according to a House of Commons committee.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, says in the report: "It appears more like a Whitehall farce then a Government agency operating in the 21st century."

Despite granting an "effective amnesty" to 96,000 immigrants, the total number of files sitting on immigration officers' desks has fallen by just 3,500.

During one three-month period last year, 92,000 migrants and asylum seekers appeared on a backlog of applications waiting to be cleared.

The Home Affairs report discovered the total of pending cases in September last year was 321,726 – just one per cent down from three months earlier.

Mr Vaz adds: "Successive chief executives have presided over chaos and yet another effective amnesty for thousands due to calamitous inefficiency.

"For six years we were misled about the unacceptable performance. No sooner is one backlog closed, than four more are discovered. At this rate it will take 24 years to clear the backlog, still the size of the population of Iceland. The delays we know about could be only the tip of the iceberg. UKBA must publish a definitive list of backlogs and senior staff should not get bonuses until they are cleared." ...

Today's report shows 96,000 asylum and migration "controlled archive" cases were taken off the backlog because officials could not trace them. The UKBA says many will have died or left the country, but no one knows. MPs also found 59,000 files had not even been put on UKBA computers.
[Site link]


Border controls – deposits
Paywall UK: Nick Clegg announces tough new regime on visas
Andrew Grice
The Independent, 22 March 2013

Foreigners visiting Britain from certain countries will have to put up "security bonds" costing thousands of pounds to deter them from overstaying their visas, under new proposals.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, today announced plans to bring in the Australian-style deposits for visitors from "high risk" countries, to be repaid when they leave the UK.

Although a list of such nations has not yet been drawn up by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), it is expected to include Pakistan, other countries in the Indian sub-continent and some in the Middle East. The move could run into controversy if the list does not include "white Commonwealth" nations.

Mr Clegg, who chairs the Cabinet's Home Affairs Committee, has asked the Home Office to run a trial "security bonds" scheme by the end of this year. The bonds would cost at least £1,000, rising to as much as several thousand pounds for visitors from the countries deemed to pose the highest risk.

In a speech toughening the Liberal Democrats' stance on immigration, Mr Clegg said that "visa overstayers" are the major part of UKBA's enforcement work.

Describing the bonds as a "powerful new tool" he said: "The challenge isn't just stopping people coming into Britain illegally, it's about dealing with individuals who come over legitimately but then become illegal once they're already here."

Mr Clegg added: "The bonds would need to be well-targeted – so that they don't unfairly discriminate against particular groups. The amounts would need to be proportionate – we mustn't penalise legitimate visa applicants who will struggle to get hold of the money." ...

Mr Clegg has also asked Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to double the maximum fine for unscrupulous employers who hire illegal immigrants as cheap labour. He wants it to rise to £20,000 per illegal worker.

The Liberal Democrats have been seen by some voters as "too soft" on immigration, including some of their natural supporters. In a significant repositioning of his party, Mr Clegg called for a "tolerant Britain" that is "zero-tolerant of abuse".
[Site link]


Border controls – deposits
Vince Cable And Nick Clegg Clash Over Immigration
Huffington Post UK, 22 March 2013

Vince Cable has rubbished plans to reduce net immigration saying it would do "enormous damage" to the UK, even as Nick Clegg signalled he wanted to take a tougher line on migrants.

The business secretary said meeting a pledge to reduce immigration to under 100,000, was an "unattainable" target unless areas that benefited Britain, such as international student numbers, were hit. It wasn't part of the Coalition agreement.

In an interview for parliamentary journal The House Cable said: "It isn't government policy, it is Conservative policy. And it's also not true because that policy purely relates to non-EU people.

"We have obviously no control over the European Union and that is actually where much of the movement comes. And a lot of the public anxiety which is experienced in by-elections and elsewhere has actually been about people from Eastern Europe.

"Now, you can argue whether that's a good thing or a bad thing but it's got nothing to do with the non-EU, which is the area which is controlled by government. ...

However Cable appeared to strike a remarkably different tone on immigration than his party leader, who is to call for a bail-like system of security bonds to tackle visa abuse in his first speech on immigration as deputy prime minister.

The bonds would be paid as a cash guarantee from visa applicants coming from high-risk countries and would be repaid once the visitor leaves Britain.
[Site link]


Border controls – "no borders" activists
'No borders' anarchists aid migrants en route to the UK
James Murray and Tracey Kandohla
Sunday Express, 3 March 2013

Shadowy British "revolutionaries" are helping waves of migrants in Calais get around immigration rules and prepare for life here after they illegally enter the UK, the Sunday Express can reveal today.

The activists, who believe there should be no borders between European countries and that anyone who wants to live in Britain should be able to, encourage the poorly educated migrants to follow their Left-wing anarchist ideology.

Although French police are cracking down on the anarchists, our investigations show they are gaining an even stronger foothold in France while recruiting more volunteers in the UK.

Since the notorious Sangatte refugee camp closed down in Calais, these volunteers make regular trips to France to give would-be migrants sleeping bags, phones, bikes, books, food, and help them to find squats.

Monsieur Philippe Mignonet, deputy mayor of Calais, said: "We've had enough of these 'no borders' people. They are trying to make life as difficult as possible for our police and authorities and we will not tolerate it.

"They say little about themselves but we have a good list now and we know what they want, a Europe without any borders.

"Now we know who they are they face arrest because they are encouraging the migrants to get around the laws." ...

He estimates that at least 200 of the migrants now in Calais are trying to get into Britain.

The British activists contribute to a website called Calais Migrant Solidarity. ...

The group also runs workshops to recruit volunteers, mostly former students, in the UK. We attended one in Nottingham last week where a bearded man who gave his name only as John urged 25 visitors to help migrants get to Britain.

He had plenty of tips to get around immigration rules.
[Site link]


Border controls – bogus students
Yes Prime Minister – Those Indian Students were Bogus
MigrationWatch UK, 22 February 2013

During the Prime Minister's recent visit to India, the immigration lobby claimed that the recent 25% drop in student numbers from India is evidence that Britain has been sending a negative message to overseas students.

The reality is that the number of visas granted to Indian students almost doubled in the two years after the introduction of the Points Based System (PBS). A paper issued by Migration Watch UK today shows that there is clear evidence that a significant part of this increase was due to bogus students.
[Site link]


Border controls – education
PM urged to remove overseas students from migration target
BBC, 31 January 2013

The chairmen of five parliamentary committees have written to David Cameron to urge him to remove overseas student numbers from migration targets.

They are asking him to "reconcile" the "tensions" between tougher restrictions and the desire for economic growth.

Net migration figures fell last year, with officials saying this was "largely due" to a drop in foreign students.

But the government says it is committed to stamping out abuses of the immigration system. ...

Since last year, all institutions which want to sponsor non-European Union students for a visa must be accredited as "highly trusted". ...

The overall UK net migration figure fell from 242,000 to 183,000 in the year to March.

The Office for National Statistics said this was "largely due" to a decline in the number of foreign students despite an increase in the number of arrivals from China - the UK's largest overseas student market. ...

The signatories include three Labour MPs: Keith Vaz (Home Affairs Committee), Adrian Bailey (Business Committee) and Margaret Hodge (Public Accounts Committee). The others are cross-bench peers Lord Hannay (Europe Sub-Committee) and Lord Krebs (Science and Technology Committee).
[Site link]


Border controls – entrepreneurs
UK says immigration route for entrepreneurs 'being abused'
BBC, 30 January 2013

Immigration rules intended to encourage entrepreneurs to settle in the UK are being abused and need to be tightened, a minister has said.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said a "meaningful assessment of the credibility" of immigrants claiming to be entrepreneurs would be introduced.

Fake businesses were being created and funds recycled to provide evidence of entrepreneurial activity, he said.

"Legitimate applicants" would not be deterred, he predicted.

The new rules will come into force on Thursday, Mr Harper added in a written parliamentary statement.

The rules on who is allowed to live in the UK as an investor or an entrepreneur were changed in April 2011.

"These changes have successfully brought about a steady increase in applications from overseas," the immigration minister said.

"However, it is clear that following our tightening of other migration routes, the entrepreneur route is now being targeted by applicants seeking to abuse the immigration rules.

"There is strong evidence that funds to prove eligibility are being re-cycled amongst different applicants and that artificial businesses are being created.

"We need to tighten the current rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant for this route."
[Site link]


Border controls – Border Agency
UK Border Agency has backlog dating back 10 years, inspector finds
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 24 January 2013

A "completely unacceptable" UK Border Agency backlog of more than 16,000 applications from migrants for permission to stay in Britain, some of them dating back almost a decade, has been uncovered by the chief inspector of borders and immigration.

John Vine says the backlog includes 14,000 people who are married to British citizens but whose appeals were put on hold while UKBA sorted out a policy to deal with them. The chief inspector says this marriage backlog was rising at the rate of 700 a month when he carried out his inspection last September.

He also raises "particular concern" over an extra 2,100 cases of temporary migrants in Britain who have not even had an initial decision on their applications to extend their stay in the country.

Vine says the files in these "complex" cases, which go back to 2003, were discovered in boxes that had been transferred last March from a UKBA unit in Croydon to their offices in Sheffield where they had not been dealt with at the time of the inspection. ...

The disclosure follows the chief inspector's reports last year revealing a 150,000-strong backlog of cases of migrants who had been refused permission to stay in Britain but whose whereabouts had not been traced. It was also revealed that more than 100,000 items of post about outstanding asylum cases had at one stage been left unopened.


A Home Office spokesman said the majority of issues identified by the chief inspector had been resolved since his inspection: "The agency is taking action to deal with historic backlogs and has a transformation plan that will put the agency on a surer footing," he said.

On the 14,000 people married to British citizens whose cases had been put on hold, he said: "This group of people have already been refused but are trying to circumvent the appeals process by requesting an informal 'reconsideration'. We've changed the rules to make clear that those not happy with the original decision should re-apply or appeal and if they choose not to, they should leave the UK voluntarily. We are contacting them to make sure they do this, but if they refuse we will enforce their removal."
[Site link]


Border controls – Border Agency
Migrants with no job or money are being allowed to settle here because of failure of background checks
James Slack And Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 24 January 2013

Immigrants are being granted permission to settle in Britain despite having 'zero income and no employment', a government inspector warned last night.

The failure to carry out full background checks on the migrants undermines a key Home Office policy that applicants should be able to support themselves and their families without relying on the State.

Foreign nationals who want to remain in the UK permanently are supposed to undergo strict checks by officials into their financial background.

As a minimum, they require enough money to pay for housing, plus a disposable income of more than £100 a week.

But the chief inspector of immigration, John Vine, found potentially tens of thousands were having their applications rubber-stamped without either a face-to-face interview or HMRC investigation.

An estimated one million migrants apply for permission to stay in the UK each year.

But, incredibly, HMRC is willing to do only 3,000 checks a year for the UK Border Agency – just 250 every month. Such checks would establish if a migrant who claimed to be able to support themselves was telling the truth about their income or even having a job.

As a result of the HMRC policy, officials are letting migrants stay without having had access to wages slips, P60 forms and other crucial data. ...

Of 49 cases he looked at where migrants were asking to stay on the grounds of marriage, not a single person was interviewed. This is despite huge concern over sham marriages. ...

The inspector raised his concerns in a report which focused on how UKBA handles cases involving marriage and civil partnerships.

In it, he also said there are currently more than 16,000 migrants waiting to hear from border officials whether they can stay in Britain in yet another 'unacceptable' UKBA backlog.

Some 14,000 applicants, growing at a rate of 700 a month, have already been refused the right to stay but are pleading with officials to reconsider.
[Site link]



Citizenship – passports, employment
Over 2 million UK passports handed to foreigners since 2000: One immigrant is made a British citizen every two and a half minutes
James Slack
Daily Mail, 21 September 2013

In the past year alone, a record 204,541 requests for a UK passport were rubber-stamped by the Home Office, official figures show.

This is the equivalent of one migrant being given citizenship every two-and-a-half minutes – the fastest rate in history.

It means the total number given out since the turn of the century now stands at 2,053,396.

Campaigners say the face of British society has been changed for ever in just 13 years.

The main beneficiaries are from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China and the Philippines.

Once approved, new citizens are treated in the same way as anybody else with a British passport, including no restrictions on access to housing, benefits or the jobs market.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said the figures were 'the inevitable consequence' of Labour's deliberate policy of mass immigration.

The majority of those currently being given passports arrived in 2008 or earlier. Normally, they qualify for citizenship after living and working in the UK for five years, with officials only able to block those engaged in criminality.

Sir Andrew said: 'Some four million foreign immigrants have arrived since 1997 of whom, so far, half appear to have qualified for citizenship.

'However, nobody seems to have the slightest idea how to integrate these people into our society in such a short time.'

The two million new citizens are entitled to vote in general elections, and critics, including Migrationwatch, have long insisted Labour adopted a deliberate policy of mass immigration for political reasons. ...

Officials are now approving citizenship bids faster than at the height of Labour's open-door policy, in 2009, when a then-record 203,789 were rubber stamped.

The figures also shed new light on ministers' claims that two-thirds of new jobs are going to 'British workers'. They point to the fact that, over the past year, the number of UK nationals in work has risen by 208,000 – compared with an increase of 98,000 in the foreign workforce.

But much of this increase is down to people who were born abroad being handed British passports, rather than UK-born people finding work.

If the figures are recalculated based on a person's place of birth, only 98,000 new jobs have gone to people born in Britain. The vast majority – 204,000 – were born overseas.

The numbers given permission to settle permanently, the last stage before applying for a passport, also rose by nine per cent in the year to June, to 153,000. There are three main routes to British citizenship, which was granted to only 82,210 people in 2000.

The main one is residence. After living here for a fixed-period of time – normally five years – migrants apply for indefinite leave to remain. Last year, 111,637 qualified in this way.

Significant numbers of passports were obtained through marriage to a British citizen, at 42,048, or by being the child of a British national, 45,772.
[Site link]


Citizenship – voting rights
Public strongly oppose votes for foreign citizens
Migrationwatch UK, 5 September 2013

Last week a report by Migrationwatch revealed that about one million Commonwealth citizens who are not British citizens nevertheless have the right to vote in our General Elections.

The government's response was that this right to vote in our elections "reflects our close historical ties with Commonwealth countries. Excluding Commonwealth citizens would be significant and would require careful consideration. Parliament has previously taken the view that these rights should not be changed."

Now an opinion poll by YouGov has found that the present situation is opposed by the public by 2 to 1. 60% do not think that these people should be able to vote in General Elections. Only 30% are in favour; 9% don't know.

There is some variation across parties. Of those intending to vote UKIP 79% are opposed, for the Conservatives 69%, Labour 56% and Lib Dems 42%. The majority of people across all age groups were opposed with the older groups more strongly so. In London, opposition was less strong 48/39 compared to approximately 63/29 in the rest of the South of England (62/29), the North (63/29) and the Midlands/ Wales (63/28). In Scotland it was opposed by 57/35.

Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK said "Public opinion is rightly very strong on this. The situation is both very unfair and undermines the value of citizenship. The government's response so far has been pathetic. When Parliament has considered it in the past MPs had no idea of the scale that this issue had reached. Now that the scale has become known, this hang over from the Empire must be tackled and soon".
[Site link]


Citizenship – voting rights
Foreign citizens votes could critically affect outcome of 2015 election and EU referendum
Migrationwatch UK, 28 August 2013

Commonwealth Citizens who have not yet qualified for British Citizenship, or have not even applied, should no longer be entitled to vote in British general elections, nor in the forthcoming referendum on UK membership of the EU. That is the conclusion of a report issued today by Migration Watch UK.

The report reveals, for the first time, that there are over a million people of voting age living in England and Wales who hold only Commonwealth passports. These Commonwealth citizens currently have the right to vote in all British elections but, except for a few Caribbean states, British citizens do not have reciprocal rights in Commonwealth countries. An address in the constituency is required to get on the electoral roll but no period of residence is laid down and there are no checks on immigration status.

The issue is highly significant because, in the last two general elections, the winning party had a margin over the second party of only two million in 2010 and in 2005 just 750,000. Not all Commonwealth citizens will vote, of course but if their turn out is close to the national average of around 60% they could amount to about half a million votes. An analysis by constituency will not be possible until the Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes the relevant statistics.

'If the next election is close, and especially if there is a coalition negotiation, the number of seats gained by each party will be critical so the outcome could be significantly influenced by a group of people who have not yet qualified to become British citizens or have not even bothered to do so,' said Migration Watch chairman, Sir Andrew Green.

'One example is that a student visitor from a Commonwealth country planning to study for six months, would be allowed to enrol on the Electoral Register and vote in a Parliamentary Election if one was held during the duration of his or her stay. This is clearly absurd,' he said. 'The issue is one of basic fairness. If people want to participate in deciding the future of our country they should at least become citizens'.

The previous government commissioned a review by Lord Goldsmith, their Attorney General, in 2007 and then ignored his recommendation that this anomaly be brought to an end. He had concluded that "Ultimately, it is right in principle not to give the right to vote to citizens of other countries living in the UK until they become British citizens". However, he made no attempt to estimate the number of votes involved.
[Site link]



'People are getting angry' - Kate Hoey on crime in Waterloo
London SE1, 22 December 2013

Vauxhall Labour MP Kate Hoey has described in Parliament local people's frustration with "an increasingly difficult problem" of crimes in the Waterloo area committed by immigrants to the UK.

Speaking on Thursday in a Westminster Hall debate about immigration, Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said: "I would say that we are importing a wave of crime from Romania and Bulgaria.

"I put it as strongly as that deliberately. There are no powers to deport EU citizens, unless they have been convicted of an offence that attracts a two-year prison sentence or a sentence of 12 months or more for an offence involving drugs, violence or sexual crime."

He went on to describe "a crime wave, particularly in London and particularly on the London Underground, to do with Romanians".

Kate Hoey intervened during Mr Hollobone's speech to say: "He raises an issue that resonates closely.

"Just across the river from the House of Commons, there is an increasingly difficult problem with many people doing exactly what he describes in the Waterloo area.

"Everyone gets involved – the police and the community safety teams – but at the end of the day, they can do nothing to get those people, some of whom do not even have the right to be here as EU citizens, out of the country. People are getting angry. I hope the minister will respond to that."

Responding to Mr Hollobone and Ms Hoey, immigration minister Mark Harper said: "The order I signed and laid before the house on 6 December ... enables us to remove from the UK people who are not here to exercise treaty rights – those committing low-level, but damaging crimes, begging and sleeping rough – and importantly stop them from coming straight back again, unless they are coming to exercise those rights.

"That is an important power and change that goes some way to addressing the concerns of my honourable friend and the honourable lady."
[Site link]


Crime – race, social workers, police
'Colour blind' social workers couldn't see glaring racial clues to Rochdale sex abuse
John Bingham
Daily Telegraph, 21 December 2013

A "dangerous" inability to recognise the importance of race meant social workers and police missed glaring warning signs about a gang of Pakistani men grooming white girls for sex in Rochdale, an official inquiry has concluded.

An obsession with being "colour blind" meant they failed even to notice the pattern of abuse going on under their noses, it found.

Although they carefully documented a spate of young white girls from troubled backgrounds in relationships with older men from a community they rarely otherwise mixed with, no one questioned what was going on, it said.

Had they asked why so many vulnerable white girls were striking up "friendships" with older "Asian" men they would have been able to stop the abuse much earlier, a serious case review finds.

The report focusing on six of the victims at the centre of one of the biggest child protection scandals of recent times concludes that a large part of the abuse could have been predicted and prevented if basic questions had been asked.

It found no direct evidence that professionals willfully ignored the problem out of "political correctness".

But it concludes that a baffling failure even to think about the racial element meant they missed some of the most obvious warning signs.

It also found evidence that class played a role in the failings. It said an army of professionals who dealt with the victims simply accepted what would otherwise be seen as tell-tale signs of sexual exploitation as being girls making "lifestyle choices" which fitted what was "expected" of them given their background.

Police, a youth offending team and charities also failed to recognise that many of the girls suffered significant learning difficulties or failed to recognise why this would make them more likely to fall prey to exploitative men.

The publication of the review comes more than 18 months after nine men from Pakistani Muslim backgrounds were convicted of the systematic grooming and sexual abuse of white girls in Heywood and Rochdale in 2008 and 2009.

The victims, some as young as 10, were lured to a flat above a takeaway for sex with the men, who mainly worked as late-night taxi drivers.

The trial resulted in a national debate over the role of gangs of largely Pakistani Muslim backgrounds in grooming white girls. ...

The latest report covers the period from the beginning of 2007 up until 2012 and looked at the involvement of various agencies including social services, health care teams, the Crown Prosecution Service and Greater Manchester Police.

It concludes that although it might not have been possible to have prevented all of the sexual abuse which went on but much of it could and should have been.
[Site link]


Crime – Romanians
Judge warns Romanian criminals: 'Don't come here'
Martin Evans
Daily Telegraph, 19 December 2013

A judge has warned Romanian criminals planning to take advantage of the relaxation of EU migration rules "Don't come here."

Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of Lincoln, expressed his frustration after being told the Romanian authorities are taking up to seven months to provide details of past crimes committed by their nationals.

In a stark warning to those intent on travelling to Britain and continuing their criminal activities he said he will simply lock them up until their own country provides the information.

But Judge Morris urged the Government take up the matter urgently ahead of the 1 January changes. ...

Judge Morris added "You can get in and out of this country. The borders are like a sieve."

His comments came as he said he was left with no choice but to adjourn sentencing a 28-year-old woman who was a member of a travelling gang of Romanians thieves that targeted elderly victims at cash point machines across the Midlands.

The Judge said: "I do not deal with foreign criminals without knowing whether they have been in trouble in their own country.

"If the fact is that people come over here from Romania to commit crime they cannot complain.

"The message can go out that I will not deal with these people until I have full knowledge about their background and that means that there will be Romanians who commit crime here and are left languishing in prison awaiting the confirmation of their previous convictions. The lesson is don't come here and commit crime."
[Site link]


Crime – dishonesty, statistics
Police crime figures being manipulated, admits chief inspector
Kevin Rawlinson
The Guardian, 18 December 2013

It is almost certain that some manipulation is going on in the recording of crime figures by police officers, the chief inspector of constabulary has said.

Tom Winsor the home affairs select committee that rather than asking whether fiddling crime statistics was happening at all, the question was "where, how much, how severe".

Giving evidence to the committee on Tuesday, the police watchdog said: "The fact is in anything that gets measured, once those who are being measured, whose performance are being measured, work out how the system works, there's an incentive, resisted by many, to manipulate the process as to make your own performance look good."

Winsor also questioned the evidence of the Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who told the public administration select committee (Pasc) at the beginning of this month that inspectors had commended his force's crime data as "competent and reliable".

On the contrary, Winsor said he wrote to the commissioner to say he had "some cause for some concern" over the Met's recording of crime statistics. ...

Committee chair Keith Vaz asked Winsor if he was still "very concerned". Winsor replied: "I'd just like him to explain the disparity I'd referred to. But with crime recording, some people will call it fiddling, some people will call it honest mistakes, some people will call it the perfectly legitimate exercise of professional judgment."

Asked what he would call it, the chief inspector said: "It depends on the circumstances of individual cases."

Winsor's appearance before MPs followed the evidence of a group of serving and former police officers last month given to the Pasc. Met officer James Patrick, retired Met detective chief inspector Dr Rodger Patrick and former Met deputy assistant commissioner David Gilbertson all said that crime statistics were routinely being manipulated. ...

In Tuesday's hearing, Winsor was asked by Michael Ellis MP if he had confidence in crime figures. Winsor replied: "I have confidence in the integrity of the vast majority of police officers, some of whom will make honest mistakes."

He said: "There will always be errors in the statistics, the question is the motivation for the errors and many of them will be errors of professional judgment.

"The crime statistics do show that crime has fallen. But let us be quite clear about the nature of the crime statistics. The recorded crime figures do not record all crime. The police reported crime, obviously the police can only know about the crime that's reported to them."

Winsor later said the police had to deal with "industrial quantities of dishonesty".
[Site link]


Crime – slavery
Life in jail for people traffickers but victims will be spared prosecution as Home Office report says there could be more than 10,000 slaves in Britain today
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 17 December 2013

Trafficking gang victims who are caught working in a cannabis farm or forced to run a brothel will escape prosecution.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced a blitz on the 'scarcely believable' modern slave trade yesterday amid claims there are up to 10,000 UK victims.

A Home Office bill will introduce a maximum sentence of life in prison for human traffickers, and new guidelines will be issued which state victims should not face prosecution.

A review by Labour MP Frank Field says those who commit crimes after being trafficked usually do so 'at the behest of their controllers'. ...

Home Secretary Theresa May said that it was impossible to know exactly how many people are being held in conditions of servitude in Britain, but referrals to official agencies suggest that the numbers are growing.

The draft Modern Day Slavery Bill, published today, sets out the Government's plans to tackle the problem of people being trafficked into the UK to work in conditions of slavery.

Thousands of slaves are thought to work in building sites and farms as well as brothels, shops and in domestic servitude.

The bill pulls together into a single act the offences used to prosecute slave-drivers and increases the punishments courts can hand down.

The government has been under pressure to act because fewer than 10 prosecutions are secured each year, despite there being thousands of victims.

Labour MP Frank Field, who has produced a report into slavery for the Home Office, estimates that there are 10,000 victims of slavery in the UK. ...

And a new Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be appointed to hold law enforcement and other organisations to account.
[Site link]


Crime – student loans
How foreign students are fleecing Britain: Taxpayers are owed £46 billion in outstanding student loans. So why are foreigners being allowed to vanish with no intention of paying their debts?
Steve Bird
Daily Mail, 14 December 2013

For Mustafa Ali, stealing a large sum of money from the British taxpayer was remarkably easy. With a fellow fraudster, he fleeced the Student Loans Company out of £370,000 after submitting scores of bogus applications for student credit.

The pair supplied fake A-level exam certificates for people who didn't have the qualifications they needed to get into university.

When the tuition fees arrived in the bank accounts of their 'clients' – who were from both the UK and abroad – Ali and his accomplice would take a cut of the money.

In many cases, the applicants would then withdraw from their courses – and then apply to other universities to claim yet another loan.

The conmen were eventually caught and jailed, but the case highlights the shocking scandal surrounding the Student Loan Company and how vulnerable it is to widespread abuse.

The result is a staggering amount owed to the Government – £46 billion of outstanding student loans. Worse, it is estimated that this will rise within three decades to £200 billion. ...

Worryingly, it isn't just Ali and Buchanan who have identified the Student Loan Company as a soft target. Thousands of unscrupulous students from across the EU seem to have reached the same conclusion.

They take out low-interest loans to study in this country – both England and Wales are particularly popular with European students – and then, when the repayments are due, they simply vanish.

Many UK students fail to repay their loans as well, but, according to the National Audit Office, it is EU students who are three times more likely to default. ... ...

Official figures show that there are 26,800 EU students who have completed their studies in the UK and who now owe the Student Loan Company a total of £177 million. On average they owe £6,620 each.

Of those 26,800, 7,000 people – around one in four – could be said to have 'stolen' from the British taxpayer by going to ground abroad, failing to tell the Student Loan Company if they have any income or where they live.

These 7,000 people owe a total of nearly £50 million. Under the rules, after 30 years, any uncollected debt will just be written off. ...

This week, the Commons Public Accounts Committee heard that in 2010 it was estimated that 28 per cent of money loaned to students would not be repaid, but by 2013 that had risen to 35 per cent, and that figure could now be as high as 40 per cent. ...

It is anticipated by National Audit Office that the size of the outstanding loans will soar to £200 billion within 30 years – a figure it bases on the numbers of borrowers increasing from 3 million to 6.5 million people.
[Site link]


How does immigration affect crime?
The Economist, 13 December 2013

Researchers at the London School of Economics and University College London have studied the effect on crime of two large migration flows to Britain. One was the arrival of large numbers of economic migrants from eastern European after the enlargement of the EU in 2004. Rates of violent crime in the parts of England and Wales where they settled remained stable and property crime fell. Franco Fasani, one of the researchers, argues that such immigrants are eager to work, have social networks of some kind and might well have studied English. Economic migrants are likely to arrange jobs before they arrive. Few are unemployed. Studies in America have shown similar trends: the crime rate among first-generation immigrants is lower than the overall crime rate, even for those in their teens and early 20s, the most common age for criminal activity.

The second group were asylum seekers who fled to Britain in large numbers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Again, their presence had no impact on the prevalence of violent crime. Property crime did, however, rise slightly. Part of the reason behind this is the contrasting circumstances of asylum seekers, says Mr Fasani. Few planned to leave their homelands. They were forced to flee conflict or persecution. The government decided where they would live; many were sent to deprived areas where crime was already high. While waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, they were not allowed to work and had limited resources, leading some of them to turn to certain types of crime.

Among the children of immigrants, however, the situation changes. Bianca Bersani, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, has studied crime among the children of immigrants in America. In contrast to their parents, the crime rate among this group is almost the same as that among any one else born in America. Second-generation immigrants, argues Ms Bersani, become as susceptible to temptation and harmful influences as other Americans. The mixed blessings of integration.
[Site link]


Crime – immigrants
Romanians arrested at seven times rate of Britons: 800 held in London last month
Chris Greenwood
Daily Mail, 13 December 2013

Romanians are being arrested in London at seven times the rate of Britons, it was revealed yesterday.

Around 800 people from the Eastern European state were arrested in the capital last month, according to official figures.

Many of them are linked to a wave of cashpoint fraud which cost an estimated £40 million in the first six months of this year alone.

Police say that for every 1,000 Romanians in London, 183 are arrested. This compares to 26 Britons per 1,000.

Police chiefs have been told to investigate the reasons behind the hugely disproportionate figures. ...

The Government is preparing for a 'comprehensive' review of how foreign national offenders are treated in the criminal justice system.

There are concerns that gaps in cross-border intelligence checks are allowing prolific and dangerous offenders to slip through the net.

The latest figures emerged at a summit about the threat posed by foreign criminals held at City Hall, in Central London.

Stephen Greenhalgh, the capital's deputy mayor for policing, was told the Met has undertaken an in-depth study of overseas offenders.

It found that Romanians account for more than 11% of all foreign national offenders, despite making up just a tiny proportion of residents.

This placed the Eastern European nation at the top of a 'league table' of foreign suspects, followed by people from Poland, Lithuania, India and Nigeria.

The other five countries in the top 10 were Ireland, Portugal, Pakistan, Jamaica and Somalia.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, of the Met, admitted there is a 'capability gap' when it comes to tackling overseas offenders.

He said that 'historically' there has not been a 'strong enough' relationship between police and Home Office border staff.

There now needs to be a 'concerted effort' by both agencies, he added, to identify and kick out the most dangerous criminals operating on British soil.

Mr Rowley said: 'By definition, much of the information that would help us deal with these people more effectively is held in their home country.

'It is only if people are here a long time and develop a criminal history that this gap is equalised. There is a capability issue that needs to be closed.'

A Met study discovered that foreign national offenders are more likely to be cautioned and less likely to be prosecuted.

They are also arrested more often for low level offences such as ticket touting, begging and prostitution. ...

Around 70,000 foreign nationals are arrested in London every year, about 28% of all criminal suspects taken into custody.

Intelligence analysts also estimate that a quarter of the most dangerous criminals are from overseas.
[Site link]


Crime – child sexual exploitation
Asian communities 'in denial' about grooming, says Rochdale MP
Rosa Silverman
Daily Telegraph, 10 December 2013

Some Asian communities are still "in denial" about ethnicity being a factor in child sexual exploitation cases, the Labour MP for Rochdale has claimed.

Simon Danczuk made the comments as Greater Manchester's Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, announced an inquiry in the wake of the grooming case in the Lancashire town.

Mr Danczuk criticised police for saying the case of nine Asian men convicted for grooming and abusing white girls in his constituency was not a racial issue and said similar abuse was still continuing.

"I think it is still going on, not just in places like Rochdale but right across the country," he told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

There was "no doubt" that ethnicity was a factor in such cases, he argued.
[Site link]


Crime – sentences
Why foreign criminals get softer sentences: Police are 'too busy' to check offenders' convictions overseas, warns former Scotland Yard chief
Mario Ledwith
Daily Mail, 9 December 2013

Foreign criminals are ending up with shorter jail terms than British offenders because police are failing to carry out adequate background checks, a former intelligence chief has warned.

Michael Askew, an ex-superintendent at Scotland Yard's intelligence bureau, claimed simple checks that could flag up an offender's criminal history overseas are being overlooked by police who are too busy.

And he said UK citizens are receiving comparatively longer sentences as a result, because their offending history is always considered in court.

Calling for such checks to be 'routine' for foreign offenders, Mr Askew pointed to a number of failings in the way police forces across the UK handle such cases.

His warning follows a spate of high-profile cases in which violent offenders have travelled freely to the UK to commit brutal crimes despite their past.

The alleged failures of police investigations could also increase concerns ahead of the UK's decision to open its borders to migrants arriving from Romania and Bulgaria in January.

Mr Askew said many forces were also regularly failing to act on European Arrest Warrants, and cited cutbacks as a factor in sub-standard investigations.

He said that one in ten foreign nationals arrested when he worked at Scotland Yard was the subject of such a warrant, but they were not effectively investigated.

He also pointed to legislation that suggests the failure of UK courts to check an alleged offender's criminal history could be illegal.

Speaking at a conference in Romania reported by the Times, he said: 'Every day hundreds of foreign nationals are arrested and the police don't always investigate the criminality of those people back in their own countries.

'Officers are under so much pressure to move on to the next case. We are not fully exploring intelligence opportunities and that can lead to problems.'
[Site link]


Crime – multiculturalism, cultural relativism
Female genital mutilation a 'huge problem' in U.K.
Gabrielle Fahmy
CBC, 4 December 2013

Britain's reputation for turning a blind eye on the illegal practice of female genital mutilation may be about to change after British doctors, nurses and midwifes decided to take a stand and demand it be treated as child abuse.

Earlier this month, leading British medical groups delivered an extensive report to Parliament, recommending aggressive steps to eradicate the practice, which is still being carried out on young girls from certain African, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures.

The report revealed tens of thousands of cases of FGM in Britain (as many as 66,000 by some estimates). And while the practice was outlawed in 1985 and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, the country has never seen a single prosecution. ...

In Britain, anti-FGM campaigners are saying that an overzealous cultural sensitivity has led to authorities being slow to react on the FGM front, with some even questioning whether FGM is actually a British problem. ...

In contrast, neighbouring France has adopted a much less tolerant approach to tackling FGM. Its systematic examination of young girls has led to some hundred prosecutions.

''I think England is very tolerant because they put cultural relativism first," says Isabelle Gillette-Faye, a French sociologist. "So if in your country of origin, you cut your girl, then it's possible in England as well.''

Gillette-Faye suspects many French girls are sent to "easier" Britain to have the procedure done.
[Site link]


Crime – cost, Eastern Europeans
British taxpayers foot £73 million bill for Eastern European prisoners
Matthew Davis
Sunday Express, 1 December 2013

Eastern European inmates in British jails are costing taxpayers just under £73 million a year, official figures show.

Romanian and Polish prisoners have swollen their ranks by 60 per cent since 2010, bringing the total to 2,430 from 10 countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain.

Three years ago there were just 1,490 inmates from those nations in our jails, where it costs £30,000 to hold a prisoner each year.

The Ministry of Justice figures reveal Poles now form the biggest foreign contingent in British jails, with Romanians at Number five on the list, up from 400 in 2010 to 532.

In women's jails, with 46 prisoners, they are the second biggest group, behind Nigerians on 47.

Romanians are most frequently jailed for theft, pick-pocketing and shoplifting, as well as burglary, robbery, fraud and sex offences.
[Site link]


Crime – politics, truth, apology
The truths you can't tell in today's Britain
Rod Liddle
The Spectator, 30 November 2013

Mr Grieve has just offered a full and unqualified apology for having told the truth. I thought that politicians were meant to do that – tell the truth?

..., Mr Grieve said the following: 'We have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic. It is something as politicians we have to wake up to.' Asked by the interviewer if he meant the Pakistani community in particular, Mr Grieve said that he did. Although he added that the whole blame should not be laid at the door of any single community. Cue, then, a fugue of idiocy which eventually led to the absurd apology.

First, Grieve's party colleague, the MEP Sajjad H. Karim, said that the comments were 'deeply offensive' and – remarkably – 'not based on fact', then the rest weighed in. Mr Karim is either an idiot or deluded, as we shall see. And so, after only a few hours, Mr Grieve said a really big 'sorry'. Here is his apology – you can cut it out and keep it if you wish, as it's full of asinine genuflections to the hysteria of the mob and therefore a model of its kind: 'Mr Grieve said he was wrong to give the impression that there was a problem in the Pakistani community. In a statement, he said: "It is not my view. I believe the Pakistani community has enriched this country a great deal as I know full well from my extensive contact with the community over a number of years. I'm sorry if I have caused any offence."'

Lordy. Let's deal with the facts first. Do Pakistanis come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic? Yes, they do. Pakistan is one of the most corrupt nations on earth, coming 139th on Transparency International's list of the world's most corrupt countries (the higher the number, the more corrupt, by the way). ...

As for the Pakistani community over here, a report in May this year by the Electoral Commission on voter fraud (to which Grieve was specifically referring) said the following: 'There are strongly held views, based in particular on reported first-hand experience by some campaigners and elected representatives in particular, that electoral fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh.' ...

So, why the apology? An apology for telling the truth – a truth which, incidentally, had already been stated by his own colleague, Baroness Warsi, a couple of years ago: she made the point that there was a problem within British Asian communities of voter fraud. ...

There are truths that you can say in British society and then there are truths that you can't say. And poor Dominic Grieve – who, as Attorney General, should have had a bit more spine – gave voice to one of the truths you can't say. There are many, many, truths about our ethnic minority communities which you can't say and if you do say them you have to apologise and then spew out something egregiously platitudinous about how greatly the Pakistani immigrants have enriched all of our lives, in a very real sense, just as the hapless Grieve was forced to do.
[Site link]


Crime – racism
No need to apologise
Daily Telegraph, 25 November 2013
[Leading article]

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, is one of our most serious and thoughtful politicians. The idea that he would deliberately stoke up racial tensions in order to counter Ukip's anti-immigration rhetoric is absurd. Yet this has been the unjustified interpretation that some have placed upon his interview in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. In it he observed that there is electoral corruption among sections of the Pakistani community that has been imported from the political practices that are rife in the Indian sub-continent.

This is a fact but it does not mean that all Pakistani immigrants are corrupt or that most of them do not make a positive contribution to the UK.


It is dispiriting that when a decent politician tries to make a well-intentioned point, the roof should fall in on him and he is placed under pressure to say sorry for something that does not warrant an apology. As the Government's chief law officer, Mr Grieve was pointing up a problem that will not go away simply by denying it exists but by ensuring it is dealt with in the same way as any other similar offence. It is a shame some of his Conservative colleagues did not endeavour to put what he said in the context in which it was clearly intended. The lack of support or expressions of embarrassment were ill-advised and merely fuelled the chorus of phoney condemnation that too often undermines attempts to conduct serious political debate nowadays.
[Site link]


Crime – fake goods
Britain to be hit with a flood of fake goods as migrants swarm in
Jon Coates
Sunday Express, 24 November 2013

The massive influx of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants expected in the New Year is set to open up a new route for counterfeit goods to be smuggled into this country.

It is feared the sheer volume of people pouring into Britain will swamp an already over-stretched Border Agency, leaving it unable to stop a wave of fake products. ...

In recent years Romania has been flooded with fake handbags, watches, clothes and electronic devices made in China and imported through Ukraine or Moldova.

A recent report by Romania's customs service, ANV, found about 50 per cent of all "brand name" products in its shops were actually fakes. Officers have confiscated thousands of counterfeit Rolex, Bulgari, Police and Patek Philippe watches this year. Lorry loads of counterfeit perfumes destined for Britain have also been seized.

Romania has the highest number of counterfeit toys in Europe seized every year and stashes of fake medicines have also been found.

Europol has warned that Romania and Bulgaria have also become favoured transit routes for fake luxury goods, cigarettes and drugs smuggled from Turkey. ...

The scale of the chaos at British borders was revealed last week, when it emerged three quarters of smugglers caught with cigarettes and alcohol were freed due to poor communication between Border Force guards and HMRC staff.
[Site link]


Crime – corruption
Minister apologies for Pakistani 'corruption' remarks
Edward Malnick and agencies
Sunday Telegraph, 24 November 2013

The Government's chief legal advisor has apologised for "any offence" caused when he said corruption in parts of the Pakistani community is "endemic" and a growing problem that politicians have underestimated.

Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General, said he had not intended to suggest there was a "particular problem in the Pakistani community".

In an interview with the Telegraph Mr Grieve said corruption was "endemic" in some communities and he was "mainly" referring to those of Pakistani origin.

On Saturday he apologised for the remarks, which were branded "offensive" by a senior Conservative MEP.

In a statement Mr Grieve said: "If I gave the impression that there is a particular problem in the Pakistani community, I was wrong.

"It is not my view. I believe the Pakistani community has enriched this country a great deal as I know full well from my extensive contact with the community over a number of years. I'm sorry if I have caused any offence." ...

But his remarks drew criticism from Sajjad Karim, the Conservative Party's legal affairs spokesman in the European Parliament. ...

Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, said it was wrong to single out a particular community.

He told the BBC: "Of course corruption needs to be rooted out wherever it is in this country. But we think that's something that needs to be tackled everywhere, not in a specific community."

Mr Shapps said the Pakistani community has "done an awful lot to work in this country and actually is a well-respected, established community that I think has lent a lot to Britain".
[Site link]


Crime – corruption, racism
Ignoring corruption is the real racism
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 24 November 2013

Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, has warned about "endemic corruption" within some minority communities: Brune House may be the sort of place he meant. Last April, there was a council by-election in this area – a by-election that Lutfur Rahman, the borough's independent mayor, expelled by the Labour Party for his links to Islamic extremism, badly needed to win. It was indeed won by his candidate, Gulam Robbani. He did well to hold on – the by-election happened only because his predecessor, another Rahman ally, had been jailed for benefit fraud, a difficult start to a campaign.

That was not the only unusual thing about the by-election. Despite heavy rain on polling day, turnout (31 per cent) was amazingly high for a council by-election. In the previous contest in the ward, 16 months earlier, it was 17 per cent. Only 14 per cent of people in Tower Hamlets at the time had postal votes – but 36 per cent of votes cast were postal. And that's after 135 postal ballot papers were rejected, mainly because of doubts over their authenticity. Robbani won by 43 votes. ... ...

Mr Khan and Mr Rahman categorically denied misconduct. Gulam Robbani refused to comment. But the authorities' response was the most troubling. The Electoral Commission admitted there had been a "breakdown of trust" in the integrity of Tower Hamlets elections. But it and the police delegated the job of investigating many of the alleged irregularities to the council – in other words, to people working for Lutfur Rahman. Even where the police did knock on doors themselves, they didn't do it very vigorously. ...

It does not appear that the investigators spoke to the most obvious potential suspects, the election candidates. No action was taken, and no action ever has been taken in Tower Hamlets, despite similar allegations year after year.

Mr Grieve spoke of the need for politicians to "wake up to" the problems. He was right. Paralysed by the fear of being accused of racism, the authorities should realise that it's actually inaction that is racist. They are, in effect, saying that Asian people can have their votes misused in a way that would never be tolerated if they were white.
[Site link]


Crime – corruption
Corruption rife in the Pakistani community, says minister
Benedict Brogan
Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2013

Corruption in parts of the Pakistani community is "endemic" and a growing problem that politicians have underestimated, the Government's chief legal adviser has said.

Dominic Grieve QC, the Attorney General, said ministers should "wake up" to the threat of corruption in public life, which he attributed to "minority communities" that operate a "favour culture".

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Grieve praised the integration of minorities into British life, and pointed out that corruption can also be found in the "white Anglo-Saxon" community. But he said that the growth of corruption was "because we have minority communities in this country which come from backgrounds where corruption is endemic. It is something we as politicians have to wake to up to".

Mr Grieve said he was referring to "mainly the Pakistani community" but added that other minority communities had similar problems. ...

Mr Grieve, the MP for Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, has a sizeable South Asian community in his constituency. "I can see many of them have come because of the opportunities that they get. But they also come from societies where they have been brought up to believe you can only get certain things through a favour culture," he said. "One of the things you have to make absolutely clear is that that is not the case and it's not acceptable."

He said electoral corruption in particular had increased. He identified Slough, Berks, as an example of where abuses had occurred. In 2008 a Tory councillor, Eshaq Khan, was found guilty of fraud involving postal ballots. Earlier this year the Electoral Commission announced it was considering introducing ballot box identity checks in Tower Hamlets, east London, in an effort to stamp out electoral fraud in areas with large South Asian communities. ...

Tory ministers have avoided singling out particular communities over political corruption. However, in 2010, Baroness Warsi claimed the Tories lost three seats at the general election as a result of voter fraud within the Asian community.
[Site link]


Crime – slavery
More than 5,000 slaves believed to be held captive in Britain as charity reveals three women held in London is 'tip of the iceberg'
Emma Thomas
Daily Mail, 23 November 2013

Frank Field, chairman of the Modern Slavery Bill evidence review, said criminal gangs were making 'huge sums of money'.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Mr Field said many victims who escape have no way of communicating because they speak little or no English and often come from countries where they are 'deeply suspicious' of the police.

Cases of slavery around Britain have hit headlines in the past as the Serious Organised Crime Agency estimate there to be 2,255 potential victims last year in the UK.
[Site link]


Pakistani airline pilot was four times over the limit after drinking a BOTTLE of whisky ... but believed he was legal under 12-hour 'bottle to throttle' rule
Chris Brooke
Daily Mail, 23 November 2013

An airline pilot has been jailed for nine months for being drunk in his cockpit before a flight.

The judge said it was 'astonishing' that foreign pilots flying out of UK airports were unaware of the law here and believed it was legal to fly if there was a 12 hour gap 'from bottle to throttle.'

Captain Irfan Faiz, 55, was more than four times the drink-fly limit when he was breathalysed after being spotted 'staggering' and 'not walking straight' on the way to the plane, a court heard.
[Site link]


Chief Constable: police manipulate crime figures because of pressure from senior figures
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 21 November 2013

A chief constable has admitted police are "manipulating" official crime figures because they are put under pressure to show crime is falling.

Mick Creedon, the head of the Derbyshire force, said "inadvertent" pressure from senior officers meant statistics did not depict the true level of crime in Britain.

Mr Creedon's candid admissions to the Association of Chief Police Officers conference in Northamptonshire, will further undermine public confidence in national figures which claim crime is at a record low.

The chief constable told the conference: "My fear is that inadvertently we are all still putting pressure on officers to do all they can to manipulate and create crime reductions.

"I don't think they do it because they are inherently corrupt but because pressure is put down to reduce it.

"It is whether we have the nerve to step away from crime reduction and obsession with crime figures, and whether we can move to a real environment where we do properly record."

He said he had spoken to officers from many police forces who said senior officers were applying pressure on them to reduce the crime figures.
[Site link]


Police officers routinely fiddle crime figures, MPs are told
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 20 November 2013

Police forces are routinely massaging crime figures to make hundreds of offences "disappear in a puff of smoke", MPs have been told.

Official crime statistics are regularly skewed to make a police force's performance appear far better than it is in reality, the House of Commons Public Administration Committee heard.

Retired and serving police officers gave evidence about techniques used to manipulate the figures - which they said were sanctioned by senior officers - such as downgrading offences to less serious crimes or persuading victims not to make a complaint.

In some cases crimes were only recorded if they were solved, and others were kept completely off the books if an offender could not be traced, the committee heard.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
Human Rights Act is stopping us deporting foreign criminals, minister says
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2013

European human rights laws that prevent the deportation of foreign criminals must be overhauled, a minister has said, after figures showed that only a tiny fraction are ever thrown out of Britain.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said "human rights laws need to change" after Scotland Yard released figures showing that just one in 100 foreigners arrested in London are removed from this country.

It comes amid growing police concern about the number of "foreign national offenders". More than a quarter of people arrested in London, equivalent to 70,000 people, are from overseas, with about half of them from outside the European Union. ...

In 2011-12 almost 177 foreign offenders who successfully appealed against deportation used the human rights act as the basis for their claim. Their claims were equivalent to 40 per cent of all successful appeals.

Under current legislation, all offenders from outside the European Union jailed for more than 12 months are referred for automatic deportation.

Offenders from the European Union can be deported if they are sentenced to two year jail sentences unless they have committed drugs offences or sexual crimes, in which case they can be deported if they are jailed for one year.

However, despite the arrest of tens of thousands of foreign criminals in London alone last year just 4,765 offenders were successfully deported from Britain.

Mr Grayling said that the government also wants to ensure that foreign offenders serve jail sentences for their crimes. Ministers are concerned that if they are deported before serving their sentences they will escape punishment.
[Site link]


Crime – forgery, illegal immigration
29 arrested for massive document forgery and smuggling migrants in 5 European countries
Europol, 1 November 2013

With the support of Europol, 29 persons suspected of forgery of documents on a large scale, the smuggling of irregular migrants and money laundering, have been arrested in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. ...

The organised criminal network, composed of persons of various nationalities, was involved in the massive production and distribution of falsified or forged documents for the purpose of facilitating illegal immigration.
[Site link]


Crime – prisons
'Irresponsible' prisons release foreign criminals, says jail watchdog
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013

The Prison Service has been criticised for "irresponsibly" releasing foreign criminals without putting them through any courses to combat their offending.

Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, disclosed that foreign offenders are walking free without having to go through rehabilitation because prison officers mistakenly believed they would be deported.

Disclosing the failing in his annual report Mr Hardwick said one jail was releasing 10 per cent of its foreign prisoners back into the community.

There are more than 10,000 foreign nationals in prison in England and Wales.
[Site link]


Crime – bogus marriages
15,000 civil marriages every years are bogus: 1 in 5 weddings held in cities is faked to get around migration laws
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 16 October 2013

One in five civil marriages in parts of Britain may be bogus, it emerged yesterday.

Some 15,000 such ceremonies a year are taking place simply to get around immigration law, estimates one of the country's most senior registrars, Mark Rimmer.

Last year the Home Office received nearly 1,900 warnings about potentially bogus unions.

But Mr Rimmer, the chairman of the Local Registration Services Association, said that figure represented 'the tip of a very large iceberg'. He said that in urban areas, up to 20 per cent of marriages are 'suspicious'.

He estimated that overall, 15,000 of the 173,000 civil weddings each year in England and Wales could be fake unions designed to evade immigration laws.

Registrars were powerless to prevent couples they suspected of faking their relationships from marrying and were forced to conduct the ceremonies 'through gritted teeth', he said.

Mr Rimmer said the problem was worse than at its high point in 2004 because laws drawn up since then to deal with the problem had been watered down by a series of human rights judgments to the point where they were 'meaningless'.

Last week ministers announced a major crackdown on sham weddings, with laws designed to ensure every potential sham wedding is reported and investigated before it happens. It also gives officials more power to delay the ceremony taking place by up to 70 days.

Official figures show that the number of reported cases has tripled in the last three years. In 2009 some 561 reports were lodged with officials, a figure which nearly doubled in a year to 934 in 2010. By 2011 it stood at 1,741 and last year 1,891.

Home Office officials admit that the figure is likely to severely underestimate the scale of the problem. They put the likely number of sham weddings at between four and ten thousand a year. But Mr Rimmer says the problem is even worse than that. ...

The notice period for marriages and civil partnerships will be increased from 15 days to 28 days for all couples, and officials will be able to increase that to 70 days in suspicious cases.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking
Met picked up 9% of human trafficking victims, report says
BBC, 14 October 2013

The Metropolitan Police has picked up only 36 of London's 389 identified cases of human trafficking this year, a report has said.

The research by Tory London Assembly Member Andrew Boff said in one case three police stations turned away a trafficked man who managed to escape.

And one council told a Chinese boy, thought to have been sex trafficked, to look on the Gumtree website for help.

The Met said it was disappointed in the report's conclusions.

As well as the police human trafficking victims are identified by local authorities, non-governmental organisations and charities, the report said.

Mr Boff's research, called Shadow City - Exposing Human Trafficking in Everyday London, said the capital accounted for 39% of identified cases in Britain this year.

But the report said authorities were "blind" to slavery taking place in everyday environments such as construction sites, mobile soup runs for the homeless, Chinese and Indian takeaways and Vietnamese nail bars across the capital. ...

A Met Police spokesman said it welcomed the report but it was "disappointed" by the conclusions.

"Since the launch of the HTU in April 2010, it has carried out 146 complex and lengthy operations and charged 282 people," he said.
[Site link]


Crime – welfare benefits
£1 million gang flies in EU benefit scroungers
Jan Disley
Daily Express, 10 October 2013

A Czech family flew "benefit tourists" into Britain in a bid to fleece taxpayers out of £1 million.

The gang arranged for scores of people from eastern Europe to come to the UK – because they thought it was a "soft touch".

In exchange for setting them up with temporary homes, the gang pocketed tax credits handed out to the immigrant workers.

By the time the scam was exposed they had swindled £500,000 and a further £535,000 was in the system ready to be claimed.

HM Revenue and Customs discovered 124 bank accounts set up to receive cash from 77 claims. ...

Sisters Iveta and Magdalena Ferkova, 32 and 33, their aunt Alena Lackova, 39, and her husband Jan Lacko, 29, were all convicted at Nottingham Crown Court of conspiracy to commit fraud.

A fifth defendant, Julius Ziga, 34, pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking
Trafficking of women for sex in UK worth £130m
Rosa Silverman
Daily Telegraph, 8 October 2013

The trade in the human trafficking of foreign women to be sexually exploited in the UK is worth at least £130 million, a Home Office report suggests.

The annual revenue generated by one female sex worker was estimated as £48,000, which would make the market worth tens of millions of pounds.

Organised crime was responsible for all such trafficking, the report said.

A study of the problem carried out in 2009 identified 2,600 foreign women in England and Wales who were victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

A further 9,200 were identified as vulnerable to being trafficked or may have been trafficked previously.

The report, entitled Understanding Organised Crime: Estimating the Scale and the Social and Economic Costs, warned that the £130 million figure was likely to be an underestimate.

It estimated the social and economic costs of the problem at £890 million.

The authors wrote: "The suffering caused by human trafficking is extensive."

The total social and economic costs of organised crime in general were estimated to be at least £24 billion per year.

This includes the trade in the supply of illicit drugs, whose social and economic costs are estimated at £10.7 billion, and organised fraud, which is thought to cost the UK £8.9 billion.

The damage caused by organised child sexual exploitation was valued at £1.1 billion.
[Site link]


Crime – gangs
A quarter of organised crime gangs are run by overseas thugs, new figures reveal as Theresa May promises to deport foreign suspects
Amanda Williams
Daily Mail / Mail on Sunday, 6 October 2013

A quarter of Britain's organised gangs are operated by foreign criminals, it has today been revealed.

An official study of Britain's criminal world - to be released tomorrow - is expected to say that there are more than 5,500 organised criminal gangs operating in the country - with 25 per cent run by international syndicates.

Security sources say the greatest threat to the UK comes from Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Vietnam. Albania and Turkey are also causing concern. ...

Of the 37,000 gang members 'targeting Britain' according to the Home Office - 7,400 are classed as 'high harm' foreign criminals, the Sunday Times reports.

The Home Office said new measures to be outlined by Theresa May on Monday aim to identify, disrupt and eject foreign criminals operating within our shores while also stepping up protective measures to stop them reaching Britain in the first place.

She will tomorrow launch the £450mn National Crime Agency (NCA) - dubbed Britain's FBI - as she reveals that organised crime is costing the UK £34bn a year, with cybercrime costing a further £2bn.

New measures will see immigration officers based in police stations, who will identify overseas criminals and whether they are here illegally. They will immediately run background checks for previous convictions and to see if they are wanted abroad.

If there is enough evidence, they will be prosecuted here then deported. But if there is insufficient evidence to prosecute them in Britain, and they are found to be here illegally, or to already have a conviction abroad, they will be deported.

Anyone deported will be banned from the country for a decade.

A pilot scheme in London - codenamed operation Nexus - has seen 1,000 foreign criminals were kicked out in just 18 months.
[Site link]


Crime – Romanians, repatriation
How we are powerless to stop the 'carousel of career beggars'
Claire Duffin and Robert Mendick
Sunday Telegraph, 29 September 2013

Mrs Lacusta and dozens of her compatriots had been sleeping rough in Park Lane, one of London's wealthiest areas, earning a living by begging. The group was accused of anti-social behaviour and blamed for a rise in petty crime.

In response – and in the glare of publicity – police and immigration officers raided the Roma camp. More than 20 Roma were sent home on planes and coaches paid for by the taxpayer. Operation Chefornak, jointly staged by the Home Office, police and a taxpayer-funded charity, was deemed a great success. ...

That all had not gone well began to dawn when, a week later, The Sunday Telegraph traced Mrs Lacusta and some of her fellow Roma back at home in Romania. Each said they were planning to return to London.

Now, it can be disclosed, they have done precisely that: the Roma of Park Lane have boomeranged back.

About a third of those sent back in Operation Chefornak – according to Westminster City Council – are known to have returned, Mrs Lacusta among them. ...

Their return after what was effectively a summer holiday in Romania with travel courtesy of the British taxpayer has huge potential to embarrass ministers. It highlights more widely the difficulty of policing what are effectively Britain's open borders – and the burden put on the state by Europe's freedom-of-movement rules.

Westminster City Council, the authority in charge of the area, calls it a "farcical" situation that has created a "carousel for career beggars". ...

The problem of how to tackle the beggars is a vexing one. The Home Office insists that paying for flights is a cheap way of clearing them from London's streets.

Under European Union law, the Romanians have a right to be here for 90 days. After that, they need to be working, studying or self-sufficient. Sleeping rough and begging are grounds for removal.

By offering to pay for travel home the Government is avoiding a potentially expensive legal battle, which can only begin once the 90-day limit has been passed. ...

Meanwhile, the authorities are scrambling for solutions. Westminster council estimates it spends more than £500,000 a year tidying up the mess.

Cleaning up after the rough sleepers costs about £350,000, added to which are costs of £160,000 for a dedicated community-protection team on the ground.

The council spent a further £10,000 in 2011 when the first plan was launched to pay for coach tickets to send the Roma home. The council gave up when it realised the policy was "a bottomless pit". The council wants beggars turned away at the port of entry. Spotting the difference between beggars and Romanians coming on holiday or for social visits should not be hard, say council sources.
[Site link]


Crime – slave gangs, benefits, sham marriages
Police go to Poland to stop slave gangs, benefit cheats and sham brides heading for the UK
James Slack
Daily Mail, 23 September 2013

Criminal gangs are using Poland as a base for smuggling under-age prostitutes, professional benefit cheats and sham brides into Britain.

Concerns that the country has become a 'hotspot' for people-smuggling operations mean that officers from the new National Crime Agency will be based in Poland for the first time.

They have been given instructions to hunt down the gangmasters responsible before their victims can reach our shores.

Poland is one of five 'priority' countries identified by the Home Office and the NCA. Vietnam, China, Albania and Nigeria will also have UK police bases.

The former Eastern bloc country is attractive for gangs trying to bring in under-age prostitutes and other sex workers because of its EU membership – granting its citizens full access to the UK.

It is also at the heart of other scams, such as sending Polish women to the UK to take part in 'sham weddings' to non-EU citizens they have never even met.

As a result of Poland's EU status, marrying a Polish woman gives the migrant permission to remain in the UK. Poles are also forced to make fraudulent benefit claims, then hand the money over to gangs controlling them. ...

The NCA begins operating next month, replacing the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the CEOP child protection agency and some functions of the UK's border force.
[Site link]


Crime – female genital mutilation, multiculturalism
2,000 female genital mutilation victims seek help at London hospitals in just three years but true figure is 'far more than figures show'
Martin Robinson
Daily Mail, 7 September 2013

More than 2,100 victims of female genital mutilation have been treated in London hospitals since 2010, it emerged today.

Almost 300 women needed surgery to help them recover from the brutal ritual, new figures have revealed.

Among those treated in the capital's hospitals included 12 children, including one girl who had been left with an 'open wound' following the criminal act.

Despite being illegal in the UK, female genital mutilation is on the rise with an estimated 66,000 women dealing with the after-effects and more than 20,000 young girls thought to be at risk.

The procedure is associated with communities in Africa, particularly Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya, as well as some parts of the Middle East.

Many girls living in Britain are taken to these countries for be 'cut', and some will be as young as five.

But it is becoming more prevalent in the UK and experts say today's figures are 'truly shocking' but there are 'far more victims' than the data shows.

In the majority of cases the clitoris is removed because it gives sexual pleasure.

A total of 2,115 FGM patients were seen between 2010 and now, the Evening Standard has revealed.
[Site link]


Crime – slavery
The shocking scale of modern-day slavery is revealed
Kevin Bales
Yorkshire Post, 5 September 2013
[Kevin Bales is Professor of Contemporary Slavery at the University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation]

In outlining her plans for new anti-slavery laws, the Home Secretary Theresa May was right to say that prosecution rates for human trafficking are "shockingly low" across Europe. Recent research suggests that the reality is actually far worse than she knows.

The truth about modern slavery is that across Europe we are failing to find, liberate, and care for hundreds of thousands of slaves who live among us. In the UK, thousands of enslaved men, women, and children are slipping between the cracks in law enforcement and social provision.

Over the past six months, researchers working to compile a Global Slavery Index have, for the first time, calculated what is known in criminal statistics as the "dark figure" for slavery in Europe and the UK.

A dark figure is the difference between the number of incidences of a crime that are reported and recorded officially, and the actual and true amount of that crime in society. Some crimes have a low dark figure, for example virtually all murders are reported and recorded. Other crimes have very large dark figures – the theft of bicycles is rarely reported to police. Normally, the more serious the crime, the more it is reported and the lower its dark figure.

But slavery is different. Most crimes are over in a matter of moments. A mugging, a burglary, even a murder, takes only a few minutes and leaves behind a victim who can be identified and the crime reported. The crime of slavery begins and then may not end for months, years, even decades. All the time the victim is being held, abused and exploited, they are out of sight and reach of the authorities. The result is that we have never known the true extent of slavery in Europe or the UK – until now.

Building on earlier research using house-to-house surveys that identified human trafficking victims in five European countries, the Global Slavery Index team has built up new estimates that are more reliable than any before. The results suggest that there are 1.1 million slaves in Europe, and more than 4,000 in the UK. The frightening fact is how many slavery crimes we are failing to detect, over 90 per cent in most countries.

To grasp what this means, imagine that only one murder in every 10 was being reported to the authorities, investigated and prosecuted. If that were the case, it would be a political scandal, seen as a complete failure of law enforcement, and cause for public alarm. Yet that is exactly the proportion of slavery crimes the UK government has been failing to find and address.

Theresa May is doing the right thing in moving a new anti-slavery bill. While previous legislation was well-meaning, it was piecemeal and the result was a dog's breakfast of laws with serious and dangerous gaps.

Human trafficking and slavery make up a bundle of related crimes. Enslavement normally includes rape and assault, as well as document fraud, drug offences, and tax evasion, to name a few.

In spite of this, responsibility for slavery crime was spread across several departments and training has been lacking for police.
[Site link]


Police do not investigate six out of 10 reported crimes, admits chief constable
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 5 September 2013

The head of one of Britain's largest police forces has admitted his officers do not investigate six out of 10 reported crimes.

Sir Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said they were only able to "actively pursue" 40 per cent of cases due to money and the priorities he had set for his officers.

One former Home Office minister demanded an explanation of the comments and said members of the public would find it "simply unacceptable" that so much crime was ignored.

Last year Sir Peter's force received more than 161,000 reports of crime which would mean that nearly 100,000 were not investigated, according to his figures.

About half of Manchester's violent crimes were unsolved, along with 80 per cent of robberies. Only 17 per cent of criminal damage offences were solved by police in the city, and just 34 per cent of sex crimes.

Sir Peter, who is a vice-president of the Association of Chief Police Officers and one of the most senior officers in the country, added that in "many crimes" there were no witnesses or other evidence which would enable the police to prosecute offenders.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking
Report shows increasing numbers of women and children trafficked into UK
Herald Scotland, 31 August 2013

Increasing numbers of men, women and children are being trafficked into the UK, new figures show.

The UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) said 2255 potential victims of human trafficking were recorded in 2012, up 9% on the previous year.

Those secretly imported into the country - often against their consent or with coercion - were exploited for labour reasons, while many were sexually abused and sold to bidders.

Around one-quarter (24%) of these potential victims were children, up 12% on the previous year, with most coming from Vietnam, Nigeria and Slovakia, and some victims aged under 10 years.

Romania was the most prevalent country of origin for potential victims of human trafficking, with 272 recorded cases in 2012, up 26% on the previous year.

Poland had 240 people caught up in the illegal practice, up 48%, while 209 made the journey from Nigeria to settle in the UK, a 22% rise. ...

Children trafficked into the UK were often used to help with criminal or sexual exploitation, the report said.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
Violent Bosnian criminal overturns deportation bid to win 'right to family life' in Britain
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 24 August 2013

A foreign criminal who has committed a string of vicious assaults has been allowed to stay in Britain because of his human rights.

Sanel Sahbaz beat one victim with a chair leg during an argument in the street, breaking the man's arm. In another incident he stamped on his landlord's head until he became unconscious and then kicked him in the face.

The 30 year-old Bosnian was jailed for four years, meaning he qualified for "automatic deportation" under laws which allow the Home Secretary to remove foreigners sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment or more.

But when the Home Office notified Sahbaz they intended to issue a deportation order he brought a legal challenge under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the "right to private and family life".

His lawyers successfully argued that separating him from his parents, brother and cousin in this country would breach his rights, meaning he is now allowed to stay in Britain indefinitely.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, last year attempted to block immigration judges from accepting Article 8 appeals unless there were exceptional circumstances.

But her changes to the immigration rules have been widely ignored and judges continue to allow appeals on "family life" grounds. ...

Sahbaz, who lives in Hertford, in Herts, came to Britain as a dependant of his refugee father in 1993. He was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2000 but is still a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He has a string of offences dating from April 2005 including common assault, handling stolen goods, theft, public order offences and assaulting police.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking, slavery
William Wilberforce's heirs are ready to tackle the great evil of the age
Fraser Nelson
Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2013

The Prime Minister has now agreed to pass a Modern Day Slavery Bill, which aims to extinguish today's slave trade as surely as William Wilberforce's Bill extinguished the old one. ... ...

... Yes, human trafficking is illegal – but the laws are so fragmented that its victims fall between the gaps. Social workers often have no idea how to recognise, let alone treat, modern-day slaves. It is estimated that local authorities lose track of three in every five who go into their care. The police, the lawyers and the Crown Prosecution Service seem utterly bamboozled. ...

... Part of the problem is that human trafficking is not a performance indicator for the police. As one law enforcement official put it, there is more incentive to investigate the theft of some tools from a garden shed than a case of human trafficking.

This is why Britain has become the perfect Petri dish for this new evil. We have 1,200 foreigners arriving each day; a capital city where a third of the population are immigrants; and a confused criminal justice system that finds it easiest to go after the victims. ...

Yet Theresa May is a very unusual politician: one that wants to be known by what she does, not what she says. Her Modern Slavery Bill will bring all the various laws together, and ensure that the issue is a top priority for her proposed National Crime Agency, which starts work in October.
[Site link]


Crime – riots
'The riots? Best thing for Tottenham in ages'
Ben Farmer
Daily Telegraph, 21 August 2013

The mayor of a London borough at the centre of the 2011 riots has said they were "the best thing to happen to Tottenham in a while".

Sheila Peacock, the Labour mayor of Haringey, said the violence that left shops and homes wrecked by fire had caused the Government to increase funding to the borough.

Councillors said her comments were astonishing and deeply insensitive to people who had lost their businesses and homes. Mrs Peacock spoke in an eight-and-a-half minute-long documentary called What is Wrong With Tottenham? which was posted on the internet.

She said: "The second riots that we've just had were the best thing that's happened in Tottenham for a while.

"My reason for saying that is, all of a sudden, the Government is now starting to pump money into Tottenham, because Haringey is an outer London borough so we don't get as much money as Islington or Hackney, and we've been struggling for years."

Richard Wilson, the leader of the Liberal Democrats at Haringey council, said the comments were "absolutely astonishing".
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
European Union ruling aided fake marriages
Macer Hall
Daily Express, 20 August 2013

Immigration officials are probing a huge rise in sham marriages after a ruling by EU human rights judges.

Some areas have reported the bogus weddings between EU citizens and migrants seeking to stay in Britain have soared by up to six-fold over the past three years.

Across England and Wales, the number of sham marriages more than doubled from 934 in 2010 to 1,891 in 2012. ...

Home Office chiefs believe the decision to scrap the Certificate of Approval scheme is to blame for the surge.

Under that scheme, immigrants needed a £100 certificate before they could marry.

That application triggered a series of probing checks.

But the European Court of Human Rights in 2008 ruled the scheme violated the right to equal treatment for foreigners marrying in the UK – and in 2011 certificates were scrapped.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking, employment, Vietnamese
The slave trade of British nail bars: How victims of human trafficking from Vietnam are exploited in beauty salons and forced into prostitution
Rebecca Seales
Daily Mail, 18 August 2013

Vietnamese migrants are propping up Britain's beauty industry after being put to work as slaves in nail bars, police have claimed.

Thousands of manicurists are believed to be victims of a human-trafficking network stretching from Vietnam's poorer communities to the UK.

Once here, the victims - mostly women - are controlled by people traffickers, and many are forced into prostitution.

Investigating agencies told The Sunday Times the victims are being charged up to £20,000 each by crime syndicates to be smuggled into Britain. As they cannot pay outright, they are threatened with violence on arrival and forced to work for minimal wages, until the debt is repaid.

This form of modern slavery can endure for years, as the discrepancy between the 'debt' and the money paid to these people is so great.

There are around 30,000 nail bars in Britain, and police have raided around 100 of them since 2008. Nail bar owners have been fined almost £700,000 for employing 150 illegal immigrants.

London, Manchester and Portsmouth are particular hotspots for the problem. Police admit they have no idea how many trafficked workers there are in the industry - but fear the number is far higher than 150. ...

The Sunday Times, which investigated the trafficking of Vietnamese nationals to UK nail bars, cites figures from two of Britain's biggest nail-product suppliers, who claim there are 100,000 Vietnamese manicurists working in British nail salons. Worryingly, census data points to just 29,000 Vietnamese-born people officially living in Britain.
[Site link]


Crime – riots, London
London riots: hundreds of suspects still wanted two years on, as Boris Johnson warns the 'mugs' won't get away with it
Pippa Crerar
London Evening Standard, 7 August 2013

Hundreds of rioters who caused devastation during the riots which spread across London two years ago are still at large, the Standard has learned.

New figures from Scotland Yard show that 325 suspects are still on their wanted list on the second anniversary of the disturbances.

The identities of just 13 are known to the Metropolitan Police although it has CCTV footage of all of them.

Critics today suggested that police cuts had left the force without the resources to track down 101 suspects in South London and 224 in North London – and there were warnings that the Met might be unable to provide adequate cover if riots ever happened again on the streets of the capital.

The force has made 4,959 arrests under Operation Withern, the investigation into the riots, including 142 in the past six months. ...

Of the almost 5,000 arrests under Operation Withern, 3,145 individuals have faced justice with more than 1,000 rioters sent to jail.
[Site link]


Crime – war criminals
Hundreds of suspected war criminals discovered in UK
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 31 July 2013

Up to 100 war criminals are discovered by British immigration officials every year trying to hide in the UK, figures show.

More than 800 people suspected of links to atrocities overseas have been identified since 2005 trying to secure shelter or settlement in this country.

Even though most have had their applications to stay rejected it is feared the majority are still here because human rights laws means it is unsafe to return them because they could face ill treatment.

Since January 2012 alone, immigration staff have made "adverse recommendations" in 115 cases of suspected war criminals, of which 99 were already in the UK.

Of those, just three have been deported.

The figure is in addition to the 702 suspected war criminals identified either living in the UK or trying to enter the country between 2005 and 2012.

It has fuelled concerns that Britain is seen as a safe haven for those wanted for crimes against humanity.

Many of those hiding in the UK come from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, Serbia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. ...

Michael McCann, the Labour MP and chairman of a cross-party parliamentary group to prevent genocide, said the figures revealed the need for greater Government transparency on the issue.

"The organisation in the Home Office that used to deal with this – the UKBA (UK Border Agency) – was a basket case," he told the BBC.

"It had failed on so many different levels I've lost count.

"I have deep concerns that the Home Office isn't being as forthright as it could be and I think we should be drilling down into these cases in order to give the public of our country that security."
[Site link]


Crime – housing
The town where landlords rent out 6,350 beds in sheds to migrants
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 31 July 2013

As many as 6,350 "beds in sheds", rented out by rogue landlords to illegal immigrants, are being rooted out in just one town. ...

Now council workers are visiting each site, accompanied by immigration and tax officials, police and fire officers.

The dodgy buildings face being demolished and the landlords fined if they are being used for accommodation or illegally built. ...

Slough was one of the nine worst affected councils handed nearly £2 million by the Government to tackle the issue. It became the first to use the specialist spy plane.

In March, the aircraft made a two-hour night flight over the borough picking up heat signals from outbuildings to see if they are being used as "beds in sheds".

All the data has been analysed and a list of 6,350 suspicious dwellings drawn up that have to be investigated. ...

Slough is the latest borough to have a "beds in sheds" crackdown. Council officers in Hillingdon, Hounslow, Ealing and Newham have all tackled the problem.
[Site link]


Crime – Roma beggars
Truth about the Romanian beggars of Park Lane
Robert Mendick and Claire Duffin
Sunday Telegraph, 28 July 2013

Dozens of jobless Romanians, who were rounded up and sent home as part of a government crackdown on immigrants "taking the mickey", have vowed to return to London just eight days after their eviction. ...

Their removal last Sunday evening was heralded as a great success. The Park Lane Roma had been blamed for a surge in petty crime and begging in London's West End and "creating havoc".

... The reality, The Telegraph can disclose, is somewhat different.

Last week, we tracked down almost half of the 24 Roma who had been removed from Park Lane at home, and we found that they plan to return to London as soon as possible because begging here is lucrative compared with what they can earn in Romania.

In effect, the Home Office has paid for them to go home for a brief holiday. What is more, the Government, hostage to the European Union's laws on freedom of movement, is powerless to stop them coming back. ...

The problem of how to tackle the growing number of rough sleepers is a vexing one. The Home Office insists that paying for flights and coaches is a cheap way of ridding London's streets of Romanian beggars.

The alternative is an expensive legal battle that can begin only once the beggars have strayed over the 90-day limit. ...

Restrictions that prevent Romanian citizens from settling in Britain without a job to come to will end in January, but that will make little practical difference to the beggars who are using the 90-day rule and have no intention of working. ...

However, Westminster City Council, the local authority in charge of the area, is in despair. It has spent £500,000 on tackling the problem since the Roma began arriving in large numbers before the London 2012 Olympics.

The council has spent about £10,000 alone on coach tickets home but has now given up on that policy as a "bottomless pit".

Nickie Aiken, the council's cabinet member for community protection, said: "The fact that people who left the country after the Marble Arch camp was broken up regard London as so pleasant that they are already planning a return trip illustrates the farcical nature of this situation.

"Until people suspected of entering the country to beg are stopped at the border, the council will forever be playing this hide-and-seek game around central London, and using taxpayers' money to clean up the mess.

"We can offer free return flights as a carrot, but to be honest Britain offers too much carrot and not enough stick. This is not about the free movement of EU nationals around Europe. This is about those who misuse the freedom of travel to move around Europe creating havoc.

"As a local authority, we do what we can to disrupt rough sleeping camps and to make life difficult for those who beg and commit low-level crime, but businesses and residents are utterly fed up with it."
[Site link]


Crime – Romanian gypsies
Park Lane gypsies back with a vengeance – just THREE DAYS after being turfed out by police
Daily Express, 23 July 2013

Just three days ago police and immigration officials turfed out scores of Romanian travellers who had made a ramshackle camp in one of Britain's plushest districts.

Now, dozens of the Romanian gypsies have returned to Park Lane, turning the prestigious area back into a disheveled mess.

On Friday, authorities had finally acted after fed-up families and businesses in London complained that the presence of the travellers was making lives a misery. ...

However, now it is clear the efforts of the authorities were in vain, after dozens returned to the posh district. ...

Westminster spends about £500,000 a year on daily clean-up operations, paying to send destitute travellers home and issuing anti-social behaviour orders.
[Site link]


Crime – language barrier
Foreign gangs exploiting language barrier problems to take advantage of police roadside checks in the UK
Chris Greenwood
Daily Mail, 20 July 2013

Foreign criminals are taking advantage of weaknesses in police roadside checks to operate in Britain, a senior officer admitted last night.

Organised gangs, particularly from Eastern Europe, are trying to exploit difficulties officers face in trying to prove their identity.

In some cases, police suspect criminals are able to use false documentation to evade capture when they are wanted in their homelands.

They revelations were made as 37 forces joined a nationwide crackdown in a bid to flush out wanted criminals from overseas.

Police chiefs have taken the unusual step of taking senior officers from Romania, Lithuania and Poland on the week-long operation.

They have already snared at least two men wanted on European Arrest Warrants, made 54 arrests, seized 62 vehicles and uncovered a major crime gang.

In one case a man claimed to be Lithuanian when he was in fact Polish and wanted for a violent attack in 2005.

Officers also discovered a 'significant number' of foreign vehicles with invalid insurance, as well as motorists who have been disqualified from driving overseas.

Chief Superintendent Martin Evans, who is responsible for the move, said the language barrier and foreign paperwork are 'challenges' faced by police patrols every day. ...

In many cases criminals cannot be stopped from entering the country and when deported they are able to return within days.
[Site link]


Crime – border security
Scandal of the migrant villains free to roam Britain's streets
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 26 June 2013

Hundreds of missing illegal immigrants with criminal convictions remained at large on Britain's streets because border staff refused to follow police leads to track them down, an inquiry shows.

Officials found 3,000 names on police computers but failed to act saying the data was "unreliable".

The scathing report on the working of Britain's immigration controls by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration John Vine provoked concern among campaigners. ...

The report, published today, follows an inspection of a unit given the job of tracking down missing migrants. Of the 3,077 names found on the Police National Computer, half showed the wanted individuals had convictions.

Despite a wealth of detail that could be used to trace the missing migrants, such as addresses, and names of relatives and sponsors, border officials failed to use it, Mr Vine said.
[Site link]


Crime – Vietnamese
Why are so many of the UK's missing teenagers Vietnamese?
Sam Judah
BBC, 17 June 2013

A major international summit on missing people is hoping to tackle exploitation and trafficking. In the UK, a disproportionate number of missing young people are of Vietnamese origin. Why?

Each photograph on the Missing Kids UK website suggests a uniquely haunting tale, but when viewed together a distinct pattern emerges that is impossible to ignore.

An overwhelming number of the young people are of east or south-east Asian descent, and on closer inspection most of those appear to be from just one country.

Of 113 children and young people on the list - which doesn't include short term cases, or those excluded for reasons of safety - almost a fifth have Vietnamese names, despite that nation's diaspora making up less than 0.1% of the British population.

Most are believed to have been trafficked into the UK by gangs, discovered by the police and taken into care.

The children are apparently not running away from their captors, but often back to them - fleeing foster families and care homes in an attempt to repay heavy debts, and protect their families from reprisals in Vietnam.

Van, a 15-year-old Vietnamese boy who appears on the site under a different name, was smuggled into the UK under a lorry and forced to work as a domestic servant for his traffickers. He was later put to work as a "gardener" in a number of cannabis factories across the country.

The story is a familiar one for Harry Shapiro of Drugscope, who says that Vietnamese gangs control a major part of the cannabis growing industry in the UK.

"It started with Vietnamese gangsters in Canada," he says. "They had no cultural link to cannabis, it just so happened that one group found a profitable niche and the business spread to the UK through the Vietnamese criminal community, probably around 2004."

Factories tend to be located in residential houses, as large numbers of small scale units help minimise the risk of detection. ...

Police seizures of cannabis plants are multiplying, up from around 3,000 in 2004 to over 16,000 in 2011. As Shapiro points out, however, part of that growth may be the result of enhanced surveillance.

The Association of Chief Police Officers refuses to comment on the ethnicity of those in charge of the factories, but Klara Skrivankova of Anti-Slavery International is confident of the trend.

"There are others involved - British and Chinese gangs - but they are predominantly Vietnamese and it's the same pattern across Europe," she says.

This helps to explain the growing number of children finding their way into the UK from the country. ... ...

It is estimated that more than half of trafficked children taken into care in the UK disappear.
[Site link]


Crime – fraud, deportation, human rights
Fraudster who stole £650,000 from London orchestra won't be deported because of his human rights
Evening Standard (London), 12 June 2013

An Australian former financial director who stole £650,000 from a London orchestra has avoided deportation because of his right to family life under human rights laws.

Cameron Poole bought a four-bedroomed house in Herne Hill, exotic holidays around the world and artworks worth tens of thousands of pounds during the three-year fraud spree.

The Australian had been hired as a reputedly safe pair of hands to look after the finances of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). ...

After he left his post bosses at the LPO discovered the fraud and in October 2010 he was jailed for four years.

An attempt by the Government to deport him failed, and an immigration court has now rejected a Home Office appeal against the earlier ruling on the grounds removing him to Australia would infringe his right to family life.

In the judgment, the court the fact his deportation would "effectively end" Poole's relationship with his children "tip the balancing exercise against deportation in this case". ...

Ms Poole, who left her husband after the fraud was discovered and is now divorced from him, now lives in Gypsy Hill with her children. ...

In October last year Lavinia Olmazu, a Romanian living in London and jailed for her role in a multi million pound benefits fraud, was allowed to stay in Britain under Article 8 because she has a son who lives in this country. ...

The court was told it was estimated as a result of the fraud the LPO lost £2.3 million in arts council grants, legal fees and missing interest payments.
[Site link]


Crime – sexual abuse, race
Police and social workers must recognise issue of sexual grooming by Pakistani men - MPs
Sam Marsden
Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2013

Social workers and police must acknowledge that there is a pattern of men from Pakistani backgrounds grooming young white girls for sex, MPs warn today.

Some officials have been reluctant to draw attention to the problem for fear of being labelled racist and inflaming community tensions, the Home Affairs Select Committee found.

The MPs expressed shock that the sexual abuse of vulnerable children by organised gangs is continuing in every part of the country, and condemned the "inexcusable" postcode lottery that means offenders are more likely to escape justice in certain regions.

They said senior council managers had to take responsibility if their departments failed to protect girls from abuse, and called on the former chief executive of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council to repay his £77,000 redundancy payout.

The committee released its report less than a month after seven men, most of them of Pakistani heritage, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of a litany of child sex crimes over a seven-year period in Oxford.

Nine out of 10 of the social workers responsible for the girls they raped knew that they were being groomed for sex by Asian men who gave them drugs, the trial heard. ...

The MPs stressed that not all perpetrators were Asian and not all victims were white, and expressed concern that the authorities might concentrate too much on race rather than looking at child sexual exploitation as a whole.

However, they said it was difficult to argue that race was not a factor in some of these cases, noting that certain communities had a tendency to be over-sensitive which could lead to denial about the issue. ...

The MPs concluded: "Evidence presented to us suggests that there is a model of localised grooming of Pakistani-heritage men targeting young white girls.

"This must be acknowledged by official agencies, who we were concerned to hear in some areas of particular community tension, had reportedly been slow to draw attention to the issue for fear of affecting community cohesion."

The committee singled out senior council officials in Rochdale and Rotherham for particular criticism.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
New Met Police tactic to deport foreign criminals
Claire Carter
Daily Telegraph, 7 June 2013

The Metropolitan Police is using a new tactic to deport foreign criminals, using immigration tribunals instead of criminal courts.

There are concerns the tribunals are being used because there is a lower standard of proof required, making it easier to deport foreigners.

The new tactic has been used as part of Operation Nexus, and the Metropolitan Police aims to pass 100 files every week to the UK Border Agency to remove 2,400 suspected criminals from the UK this year.

Operation Nexus was set up as a joint operation by the Metropolitan Police and Home Office Immigration Enforcement teams to improve the response to growing numbers of foreign national offenders.

Met Commander Steve Rodhouse said 30 per cent of suspected criminals arrested in London were foreign nationals and 20 to 25 per cent of the most serious criminals were from overseas.

The unit has identified 40 "predatory rapists" convicted overseas but living in London as foreign nationals.

Colin Yeo, a specialist immigration barrister told The Times: "There is a lower standard of proof in the immigration tribunal and it is easier for the authorities to dispose of a person via that system than using the criminal justice system."

Mr Yeo said there are concerns that tribunals do not give the same 'safeguards' for defendants, and this practice just offloads the problem to another country. He added: "People can be deported on quite limited evidence."
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
Now half of sham marriages involve foreign students: Members of bogus colleges who face being kicked out marry Britons and EU citizens to prolong their stay
James Slack
Daily Mail, 6 June 2013

In a major new immigration scam, half of all bogus weddings now involve foreign students.

The revelation shows the full scale of the past abuse of the student visa system.

The non-EU nationals faced removal from Britain after their bogus colleges were shut down in a crackdown by the Government.

But, instead of returning home, they are arranging fake weddings with British nationals or EU citizens to prolong their stay, often paying thousands of pounds in fees to 'fixers'.

Under a Brussels edict, marrying an EU citizen can grant the same rights to stay as marrying a Briton.

Officials say the trend shows that the migrants' true reason for travelling to the UK in the first place was to settle, not to study. Last year, they identified a suspected 2,000 sham marriages.

A snapshot Home Office survey over three months revealed that 50 per cent of the ceremonies involved people who had first entered as students.

The revelations came as the latest figures showed that while there has been a huge reduction in the number of student visas handed out, the number of non-EU nationals going to UK universities is up by more than 5 per cent.

This dispels claims by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, that universities are missing out because of the Government's immigration policies. ...

The number of foreign students coming to the UK was down 22 per cent to 190,000 between September 2011 and September 2012.

But officials said this was the result of closing bogus colleges and strict new rules on non-EU nationals attending colleges. Since 2010, more than 600 institutions have been barred from recruiting non-EU students.

But rather than declining, UCAS applications from non-EU students are up 5.5 per cent compared with this time last year, and now stand at 59,324.

The number of non-EU students at elite Russell Group universities was up 6 per cent in 2011/12 to 109,165. ...

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: 'Vince Cable is not only completely out of touch with public opinion but also completely wrong on his facts.'
[Site link]


Crime – multiculturalism, political correctness, Islam
The Oxford sex ring and the preachers who teach young Muslim men that white girls are cheap [part 1]
Dr Taj Hargey
Daily Mail, 16 May 2013

The terrible story of the Oxford child sex ring has brought shame not only on the city of dreaming spires, but also on the local Muslim community.

It is a sense of repulsion and outrage that I feel particularly strongly, working as a Muslim leader and Imam in this neighbourhood and trying to promote genuine cultural integration.

There is no doubt that the evil deeds of these men have badly set back the cause of cross-community harmony. ...

But apart from its sheer depravity, what also depresses me about this case is the widespread refusal to face up to its hard realities.

The fact is that the vicious activities of the Oxford ring are bound up with religion and race: religion, because all the perpetrators, though they had different nationalities, were Muslim; and race, because they deliberately targeted vulnerable white girls, whom they appeared to regard as 'easy meat', to use one of their revealing, racist phrases.

Indeed, one of the victims who bravely gave evidence in court told a newspaper afterwards that 'the men exclusively wanted white girls to abuse'.

But as so often in fearful, politically correct modern Britain, there is a craven unwillingness to face up to this reality.

Commentators and politicians tip-toe around it, hiding behind weasel words.

We are told that child sex abuse happens 'in all communities', that white men are really far more likely to be abusers, as has been shown by the fall-out from the Jimmy Savile case.

One particularly misguided commentary argued that the predators' religion was an irrelevance, for what really mattered was that most of them worked in the night-time economy as taxi drivers, just as in the Rochdale child sex scandal many of the abusers worked in kebab houses, so they had far more opportunities to target vulnerable girls.

But all this is deluded nonsense. While it is, of course, true that abuse happens in all communities, no amount of obfuscation can hide the pattern that has been exposed in a series of recent chilling scandals, from Rochdale to Oxford, and Telford to Derby.

In all these incidents, the abusers were Muslim men, and their targets were under-age white girls.

Moreover, reputable studies show that around 26 per cent of those involved in grooming and exploitation rings are Muslims, which is around five times higher than the proportion of Muslims in the adult male population.

To pretend that this is not an issue for the Islamic community is to fall into a state of ideological denial.

But then part of the reason this scandal happened at all is precisely because of such politically correct thinking. ...

Terrified of accusations of racism, desperate not to undermine the official creed of cultural diversity, they took no action against obvious abuse.

Amazingly, the predators seem to have been allowed by local authority managers to come and go from care homes, picking their targets to ply them with drink and drugs before abusing them. ...
[Site link]


Crime – multiculturalism, political correctness, Islam
The Oxford sex ring and the preachers who teach young Muslim men that white girls are cheap [part 2]
Dr Taj Hargey
Daily Mail, 16 May 2013

Another sign of the cowardly approach to these horrors is the constant reference to the criminals as 'Asians' rather than as 'Muslims'.

In this context, Asian is a completely meaningless term. The men were not from China, or India or Sri Lanka or even Bangladesh. They were all from either Pakistan or Eritrea, which is, in fact, in East Africa rather than Asia.

What united them in their outlook was their twisted, corrupt mindset, which bred their misogyny and racism.

If they had been real, genuine followers of Islam, they would not have dreamt of indulging in such vile crimes, for true Islam preaches respect for women and warns against all forms of sexual licence, including adultery and exploitation.

By all accounts, this was not the version that these men heard in their mosques. On the contrary, they would have been drip-fed for years a far less uplifting doctrine, one that denigrates all women, but treats whites with particular contempt.

In the misguided orthodoxy that now prevails in many mosques, including several of those in Oxford, men are unfortunately taught that women are second-class citizens, little more than chattels or possessions over whom they have absolute authority. ...

The view of some Islamic preachers towards white women can be appalling. They encourage their followers to believe that these women are habitually promiscuous, decadent and sleazy – sins which are made all the worse by the fact that they are kaffurs or non-believers. ...

On one level, most imams in the UK are simply using their puritanical sermons to promote the wearing of the hijab and even the burka among their female adherents. But the dire result can be the brutish misogyny we see in the Oxford sex ring.

For those of us who support effective and meaningful integration, it is dispiriting to see how little these criminals, several of them second-generation Britons, have been integrated into our society.

If they were possessed by the slightest sense of belonging or shared citizenship, they would have had some respect for the welfare of these girls.

Instead, they saw only people from an alien world with which they felt no connection. For them, there was no sense of kinship or solidarity for people in their neighbourhood who were not Muslims.

It is telling, though, that they never dared to target Muslim girls from the Oxford area. They knew that they would be sought out by the girls' families and ostracised by their community. But preying on vulnerable white girls had no such consequences – once again revealing how intimately race and religion are bound up with this case.

We will build a secure society only when we are all taught to have respect for one another, regardless of creed or colour.

Horror over this latest scandal should serve as a catalyst for a new approach, but change can take place only if we abandon the dangerous blinkers of political correctness and antiquated multiculturalism.
[Site link]


Crime – child sexual exploitation
Oxford gang found guilty of grooming and sexually exploiting girls
Sandra Laville
The Guardian, 15 May 2013

A gang of abusers who subjected vulnerable girls in Oxford to years of rape, torture and extreme sexual violence has been convicted at the Old Bailey in one of the biggest child sexual exploitation trials in recent years.

Seven men were found guilty of a total of 43 charges relating to six victims. ... ...

The girls – all of whom came from backgrounds in care – were drugged, raped, sold as prostitutes and trafficked around the country while supposedly in the safekeeping of the local authority in the city.

Years of failings by Thames Valley police and Oxford social services were exposed during the trial. Police were alerted at least six times by victims – who were aged between 11 and 15 – of the exploitation and horrors that were taking place within flats and guesthouses and in the parks and open spaces of the Cowley area of Oxford.

Social workers spoke of knowing that some of the victims were being groomed. But no one acted to draw all the evidence together until one detective took the case on in late 2010.

The case mirrors exploitation rings uncovered in Rochdale, Derby and Telford in that the perpetrators were from Asian backgrounds and the victims were young, vulnerable white girls.

Police and social services have apologised to the victims – the number of whom police say could exceed 50. ...

The gang of men – most of whom are of British Pakistani descent – subjected the girls to acts of sexual depravity of such extreme violence that police sources said it amounted to torture.
[Site link]


Crime – child sexual exploitation, race
Is child grooming and sexual abuse a race issue?
Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, 15 May 2013

It is the potentially explosive charge that may gain momentum after the conviction of the latest gang of men to be convicted of grooming underage girls. Is there something about Asian Muslim men that leads to them being disproportionately involved in the grooming and sexual abuse of white girls?

The courts have dealt with a cluster of horrific cases including those in Rochdale, Derby and now Oxford.

Available figures are patchy and flawed, but on the face of it they do suggest Asian men are disproportionately involved in group grooming leading to sexual abuse, compared with their numbers in the national population. This impression is supported by several sources in law enforcement who spoke to the Guardian.

A 2011 study by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre looked at the 2,379 potential offenders caught grooming girls since 2008. Of 940 suspects whose race could be identified, 26% were Asian, 38% were white and 32% were recorded as unknown. Asians are roughly 7% of the population.

A report for the children's commissioner in 2012 found there were 1,514 perpetrators. Of these, 545 were white, 415 were Asian and 244 were black. The ethnicity of 21% of perpetrators was not recorded. ...

However, the view in different parts of law enforcement is that it is wrong to take these figures and cases and say the race or religion of the perpetrator leads to them committing these crimes.

A more credible link, says one senior source involved in bringing the criminals to justice, are their occupations. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said the demography of certain areas and the makeup of the night-time economy explained the over-representation of Asian offenders.

The source said: "Young vulnerable girls migrate to the night-time economy, where they come across taxi drivers and people working in takeaways, who are more likely to be Asian. It is better to focus on the professions of offenders, not their race or religion."
[Site link]


Crime – murder, rape
A fifth of murder and rape suspects born abroad, shock survey finds
Daily Mail, 13 May 2013

A fifth of rape and murder suspects in the UK last year were foreign nationals.

Figures showed a total of 93 people were charged with murder and 632 with rape.

The statistics of suspects born abroad compares to the overall numbers of 555 murder suspects and 3,436 murder suspects.

A survey of 43 English and Welsh police forces showed that just one failed to record any rape or murder charges against a non-UK citizen, The Sun reported.

More than a third of the 210 rape suspects charged in London last year were immigrants.

Out of the 180 murder suspects in the capital 41 were from foreign.

In the capital 24 were from Jamaica, 14 from Nigeria, 13 from Poland and ten from Portugal. ...

The figures were released by 37 out of 43 police forces and the British Transport Police.

Hampshire refused to reveal nationalities of eight foreigners charged with rape, explaining it would lead to ethnic victimisation.

The figures did not reveal how many were convicted or cleared, The Sun reported.

The latest YouGov survey showed 57 per cent of people named immigration as being among the top three issues facing the country, its highest level since June 2010 and up 11 per cent on a year ago.
[Site link]


Crime – bias
Police 'ordered to slant crime data'
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 13 May 2013

Crime figures are being kept artificially low because of pressure from chief constables, a police leader will warn this week.

The head of the Police Federation will suggest a "fear factor" in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry is preventing officers from blowing the whistle on how crime statistics are being manipulated.

The intervention by Steve Williams, chairman of the organisation which represents 130,000 frontline officers in England and Wales, is highly significant because it appears to confirm widespread public scepticism of how crime is recorded.

Official figures show crime is at an historic low, despite cuts to police budgets and staffing levels.

Mr Williams will say that police transparency on crime levels and other areas has been badly hit by the Leveson inquiry on Press standards, which examined alleged collusion between police officers and journalists.

Officers now fear that speaking out about scandals, mistakes and other serious issues - including pressure from senior officers to massage crime figures - will lead to disciplinary measures or the sack, he will suggest. ...

Mr Williams said there was considerable anecdotal evidence from police officers that the true level of crime is not being recorded.

"Closing police stations and reducing the number of cops means it is not so easy for victims to report crime to us," he said.

"And most significantly bobbies find themselves under huge pressure about how to record crime.

"Crimes are downgraded in seriousness or the numbers are hidden. ..." ...

In latest figures published last month the total number of crimes recorded by the police fell 8 per cent to 3.7 million last year.

And the estimated level of crime in England and Wales fell by 5 per cent to 8.9 million offences against adults, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which asks the public about their experiences of crime regardless of whether they reported incidents to the police.

Separate figures showed the number of suspects arrested by police fell more than twice as fast as the decline in crime rates.

The Opposition said the 9 per cent fall in arrests raised concerns that criminals were "getting away with it".

The Office for National Statistics has suggested that pressure to meet targets may be leading officers to downgrade crimes.
[Site link]


Crime – foreign prisoners
UK to pay for foreign jails in a bid to repatriate more prisoners
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 27 April 2013

British taxpayers are to fund a prison building programme in poor countries such as Nigeria and Jamaica so more foreign inmates languishing in British jails can be sent home, David Cameron announced yesterday.

The Prime Minister admitted that too many foreign prisoners remained in this country and said 'helping to build prisons in their own country' would ensure more were kicked out.

Despite promises to cut the number of foreign inmates behind bars in Britain, the numbers have increased in recent years.

Ministers have struggled to remove even hardened criminals because jails abroad are overflowing or do not comply with human rights laws.

By paying for building new jails or making existing ones more 'comfortable' so they approach British standards it is hoped more will be repatriated.

But sending money abroad to lock up prisoners there, in addition to the billions spent in foreign aid, while budgets are being cut at home, will prove highly controversial. ...

Since 2010 there has been a sharp fall in the number of serious criminals sent home.

That year, 5,342 were deported. The following year - the first full 12 months of coalition Government - the figure was down 13 per cent to 4,649.

In the first nine months of 2012 some 3,382 were deported - suggesting the annual total would fall even further.

There are now 10,861 foreign inmates in British jails, who now make up around 14 per cent of the prison population. Each costs an average of around £40,000 a year to keep inside.
[Site link]


Crime – policing, USA
'Stop & frisk' adds years to your life
Carl Campanile
New York Post, 22 April 2013

The decline in New York City's murder rate – which the NYPD credits, in large part, to stop-and-frisk – is so dramatic that it has helped boost the average life expectancy of Big Apple residents, The Post has learned.

A city Health Department analysis listed all the factors that contributed to increased life expectancy of New Yorkers from 78 a decade ago to 81 in 2010. ...

But the analysis also credits the plummeting murder rate as 2 percent responsible for increased life expectancy – 3 percent for men and 1.2 percent for women.

The number of homicides fell from 673 in 2000 to 536 in 2010. Last year, it plunged to 419.

Overall, the city's death rate dropped to 6.4 percent in 2010, when 52,575 New Yorkers died, compared with 7.4 percent in 2002, when 59,651 people died – or 7,076 fewer.

The analysis shows that while life expectancy is up among all ethnic groups and parts of the city, it was greater among blacks. It increased 3.8 years for blacks, 3.2 years for whites and 2.2 years for Hispanics from 2001 to 2010. ...

The disclosure of the data comes at a time when critics – including Democratic candidates running for mayor – want to dramatically scale back some of the NYPD's aggressive crime-fighting strategies credited with reducing gun violence and murder, particularly stop-and-frisk.

But Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that would be a mistake.
[Site link]


Crime – violence, ethnic differences, USA
Mayor changes tune on black-violence discussion
WND, 21 April 2013

If blacks can criticize whites, then whites should be able to say the inner city "needs to get its act together."

That was the bottom line of "Being White in Philly," a controversial article written by Robert Huber and published in Philadelphia Magazine.

What followed was predictable. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the article was a "sin" and an "incitement to extreme reaction." ...

But not long ago, Nutter was calling for a "national conversation" about racial issues: "Black on black crime is not an isolated problem. It affects every member of every community. This is a national problem with national implications, and there needs to be a national conversation."

Huber told WND that he assumed that when the mayor said "conversation" he meant the ordinary meaning. ...

But what are the actual circumstances of crime in Philadelphia?

Over the last two decades, the city has lost 32 percent of its white population, or 263,254 people. During that time, crime was a major concern.

In the late 1990s, blacks were 43 percent of Philadelphia's population and 76 percent of the alleged murderers ... Whites were 52 percent of the population but just 5 percent of alleged murderers.

Today, blacks are 42 percent of Philadelphia's population and 83 percent of known murder offenders. Whites are now 37 percent of the population and 4 percent of known murder offenders.

The chart comes from a report titled "Murder Is No Mystery: An Analysis of Philadelphia Homicide, 1996-1999," which was released in 2001 ... ...

As for race and crime in Philadelphia, most murders in the city were intraracial, black-on-black crimes. Of black murder victims, 95 percent were killed by other blacks. However, the report pointed to a major, noteworthy exception: "Caucasians and Asian Americans, on the other hand, were both more likely to be murdered by an individual of another race."

Such disparities are rarely mentioned in the national conversation about race but would tend to validate the concerns expressed in Huber's piece.

A WND review of the Philadelphia Police Department's Murder Analysis for 2007-2010 and Murder/Shooting Analysis 2012 reveals startling demographic data that affirm the crime trends found a decade earlier in the "Murder Is No Mystery" report.

Between 2007 and 2012, there were 1,987 murders (an average of 331 murders per year) in Philadelphia. Of those victims, 80 percent were black; 11.2 percent were Hispanic; 6.9 percent were white; and 1.7 percent were Asian.

Only 64 percent of these crimes had known offenders (1,290 of 1,987), with 81 percent of known offenders being black; 7.2 percent white; 10.2 percent Hispanic; and 1.2 percent Asian.

Because of the "no snitchin'" culture, "defendants charged with murder, rape, robbery and serious assaults were walking free on all charges in nearly two-thirds of all cases" in the city, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
[Site link]


Crime – migrant smuggling, Ghana
Migrant smuggling could bring terrorists into Ghana
GhanaWeb, 19 April 2013

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has warned that smuggled migrants, especially from Asia and the Middle East, could be a major security threat to the nation.

GIS says that an influx of migrants could put Ghana at risk from terrorists who illegally enter the country.

Migrant smuggling is the procurement of an illegal entry or illegal residence of a person, and into or in a country of which that person is not a national or permanent resident for financial or other material benefit.

The Assistant Director of GIS, Laud Ofori Afrifa, stated that the practice has been prevalent for a long time but is now assuming large proportions

According to him, people from South Eastern Asia and the Middle East are transiting through Ghana to Europe and America.

"Migrant smuggling is one of the ways criminal gangs send terrorist to other countries. They use these migrants also to smuggle drugs they use this same method to do money laundering," he said.
[Site link]


Crime – East Asia and the Pacific
First comprehensive UNODC study on transnational organized crime threats in East Asia and the Pacific
UNODC, 16 April 2013

UNODC launched today an assessment of the transnational organized crime threat in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region. This vast region has experienced rapid economic and social changes during the past few decades which have created considerable regulation challenges for public authorities. The report takes a look at the manner in which criminal enterprises have developed alongside legitimate commerce in recent years, creating contraband markets valued at approximately US$ 90 billion.

The 12 selected contraband markets covered in the report are organized under four headings, namely: people (human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants); narcotic drugs (heroin and methamphetamine); environment (wildlife, wood-based products, e-waste and ozone-depleting substances); and goods (counterfeit goods and fraudulent medicines).
[Site link]


Crime – abortions, multiculturalism
Monitor abortions by gender to protect unborn girls, say MPs
John Bingham
Daily Telegraph, 16 April 2013

MPs will tomorrow urge the Government to introduce monitoring of the sex of aborted babies to establish whether or not British couples are being granted terminations illegally on grounds of gender. ...

Earl Howe, the health minister, disclosed recently that Government analysis of birth figures showed that illegal "sex-selection abortion" could be taking place within some immigrant communities in the UK.

But the Department of Health has refused to release a list of nationalities whose mothers tend to have far more boys than girls, arguing that it is not in the "public interest" to do so.

Now a cross-party group of MPs has launched a parliamentary drive to persuade the Government to record the gender of aborted foetuses. ...

Ministers acknowledge that there are disparities but argue that more research is needed to know whether thy can be explained by natural variations.

But campaign groups claim the Government is reluctant to publish the list for fear of marginalising some communities.

Sex-selection abortions are thought to be behind a growing demographic imbalance in several countries where baby boys are more highly prized for cultural or economic reasons.

In China, where the official one child policy has been in operation for decades, there are now 37 million more males than females in China – the equivalent of the entire population of Poland.

In India, which has around 1.2 billion people, the number of girls has declined significantly in the last decade in comparison with boys.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking, European Union
Sueddeutsche Zeitung: More people become victims of human trafficking, most of them are from Bulgaria, Romania
Focus, 15 April 2013

Forced labour, prostitutions and trade in organs – the number of the victims of human trafficking in the European Union has seriously increased, comments German Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.

Meanwhile, the number of criminals convicted of the crime is decreasing. ...

More and more people in the European Union are exploited for prostitution and forced labour. These are the results of the first broad study on human trafficking in the 27-member bloc.

The report says that in 2008-2010 the number of the registered victims has increased by 18%, from 6,309 to 9,528.

Meanwhile, the number of the people convicted of human trafficking in the same time period has decreased by 13%, from 1,534 in 2008 to 1,339 in 2010. ...

The greater part of the victims, nearly 61%, comes from EU member states, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania. Big part arrives from Africa and South America.
[Site link]


Crime – illegal fishing
British rivers stripped of fish by East European poachers
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 23 March 2013

Fears that Eastern European poachers are decimating Britain's freshwater fish stocks have forced conservationists to start a nationwide poster campaign – in five languages.

Fishing in rivers, canals and some lakes is illegal during the close season to allow the fish to breed. But experts say migrants are eating and selling catches, including those pregnant, instead of returning them to the water.

The Angling Trust is so concerned about the diminishing numbers of salmon, trout, barbel, pike, bream, carp and eel, it has printed details of the ban in Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Slovakian and English.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking
'Shameful' failure to tackle slavery and human trafficking in the UK
Toby Helm and Mark Townsend
The Observer, 10 March 2013

Ministers, the police and social workers have been accused of a "shocking" failure to prevent the spread of modern slavery in the UK, leading to sexual exploitation, forced labour and the domestic servitude of adults and children from across the world.

Describing government ministers as "clueless" in their response to tackling human trafficking, both into and within the UK, the most exhaustive inquiry yet conducted into the phenomenon concludes that the approach to eradicating modern slavery is fundamentally wrong-headed. Instead of helping vulnerable victims who are trapped into forms of slavery after being trafficked from overseas, the legal system prosecutes many for immigration offences.

The major study by the Centre for Social Justice, which will be published on Monday, says that political indifference and ignorance alongside a leadership vacuum in Whitehall has meant that the country that led the way in abolishing slavery in the 19th century is now a "shameful shadow" of its former self as the practice makes a comeback in a contemporary guise.

To restore Britain's reputation on the issue, the centre's report outlines more than 80 recommendations, including the appointment of an independent anti-slavery commissioner, to ensure proper political focus and new legislation to better protect victims. ...

Entitled It Happens Here, the CSJ study collated evidence of exploitation of foreign adults and children as well as British citizens, in factories, fields, construction sites, brothels and houses. It identified more than 1,000 cases, but cautioned that official figures remain "a pale reflection of the true size of the problem". Christian Guy, managing director of the centre, said it was appalling that many of those who fall into modern-day slavery were themselves considered criminals.

The 224-page report was written after an 18-month investigation during which a team of experts interviewed hundreds of witnesses, including journalists from the Observer. Guy said: "We have been shocked by many of our findings. A leadership vacuum at the heart of Westminster; a messy legislative framework; frontline professionals – however well meaning and brilliant in some areas – forced to swim against a tide of indifference if they wanted to fight this crime; official bodies failing in their duty of care, with little idea about the scale of the problem.

"Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation. Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence."

The investigation found large numbers of people were being used for forced criminality, including benefit fraud, organised begging, and forced pickpocketing and drug cultivation, the last frequently involving young Vietnamese people on cannabis farms. ...

Large numbers of incidents of British girls being trafficked within the UK were also found, mainly for sexual exploitation. ... ...

The report also hopes to tackle one of the myths associated with human trafficking, namely that it is an international crime overwhelmingly affecting women and children. Of the 2,077 potential victims of modern slavery identified by the UK Human Trafficking Centre in 2011, 40% were men.
[Site link]


Crime – organised crime gangs
Britain is Organised Crime Capital of Europe, Say Euro Cops
Timur Moon
International Business Times, 3 March 2013

Thirty-six people have been arrested and 45 premises searched as part of an investigation into criminal gangs smuggling people into Britain from the Middle East.

The year-long operation was co-ordinated by Europol, and spanned inquiries in Turkey, Greece, France, Belgium and the UK.

The investigation is one of 600 currently being pursued by Europol, half of which have links to Britain.

In a report to be published later his month, the EU law enforcement agency will reveal the existence of an estimated 3,000 large organised crime groups across the continent. That would mean around 1,500 gangs are currently targeting the UK, making it in line to become the crime capital of Europe. ...

Britain and Germany were the countries with the most "high-priority cases requiring in-depth Europol analysis", said Europol. "That tells you something about the extent to which the UK is significantly affected by organised crime in Europe," said Wainwright. ...

Freedom of movement among EU citizens, lack of border controls, rising immigration and the financial strength of the City of London were all factors contributing to the rise of cross-border organised crime.

"Britain's multicultural society is a bit more advanced than any other, so it is an end destination for illegal immigration and trafficking human beings," said Wainwright.
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
Big fat lying Greek weddings
Mazher Mahmood
The Sun, 3 March 2013

Illegal immigrants are hiring Greek women for sham weddings so they can stay in Britain to claim the dole, The Sun can reveal.

They pay organised gangs up to £8,000 to provide bogus brides for them to marry – knowing they will earn the right to remain once they have wed an EU citizen.

Our investigation also revealed how girls from Bulgaria and Portugal are also caught up in separate fake marriage scams.

We discovered how bogus brides are flown into Britain to marry before jetting home again.

Some illegal immigrants visit the women in their homeland to tie the knot before returning to the UK.

Either way, marrying a European woman qualifies them to work freely – and claim on Britain's generous welfare system.

After five years in the UK, the "married" immigrants can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

The racket side-steps government rules introduced in July aimed at cracking down on BRITS marrying foreigners for cash.

Registrars around the country reported a record 1,740 suspicious couples to the UK Border Agency in 2011. They included brides and grooms who did not even have a shared language. Most are never caught.

Athens is at the heart of the fake Euro-bride industry. ...

Foreigners already living in the UK who want to marry an EU citizen have to give notice of their marriage at one of 76 special register offices.

They are then granted a "certificate for approval" for the marriage.

The procedure was introduced to helped curb sham marriages but has failed to do so.
[Site link]


Crime – Romanians
How Romanian criminals terrorise our streets
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 27 February 2013

Britain has been hit by a Romanian crimewave with the equivalent of 15 arrests a day by one police force alone.

Shock figures show that the Metropolitan Police made 27,725 arrests over the past five years for offences including rape and murder. This is despite just 68,000 Romanians living here at present – a figure set to soar when Britain has to open its borders next January under an EU directive.

The crime statistics undermine reassurances from Romanian officials that the UK has nothing to fear from the lowering of border controls. ...

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, the Met Police revealed that Romanians are second only to Polish migrants for arrests since 2008.

However, although Poles topped the list with almost 35,000 arrests, there are almost 600,000 of them living in the UK. ...

The Met Police in London deal with around half of all crime committed in Britain by foreign citizens. ...

The top 10 countries for crime suspects in the UK are: Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Nigeria, India, Jamaica, Ireland, Somalia, Portugal and Pakistan.
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
Sham wedding fixers 'offer groom' for £3,500
BBC, 26 February 2013

Brides and grooms are being offered for sale to people wanting to cheat their way to a visa and avoid deportation, a BBC Wales investigation has revealed.

An undercover reporter from Week In Week Out posed as a would-be bride from India who wants to stay in Wales but with her work visa due to run out.

She was offered a Czech husband by sham wedding fixers in Cardiff for £3,500.

She was also advised how to convince the UK Border Agency she had been with her new partner for more than a year. ...

Every month, UKBA investigators are called in by suspicious registrars around Wales to disrupt what are thought to be suspicious ceremonies.

Latest figures show there were over 1,700 such calls across the Britain in 2011, twice the total for the previous year.

Recent changes to immigration rules have made it harder for non-EU and British citizens to marry.

But critics say it has created a loophole which makes it is easier and quicker for foreign nationals who want to stay in the UK, to marry EU nationals who have the right to remain here.

Mark Rimmer, chair of the Local Registration Services Association said: "Certainly, when we meet colleagues from the other parts of the UK, it certainly seems to be that they're also witnessing huge increases in the number of peoples getting married involving foreign nationals with European Union nationals.

And he thinks the problem of sham marriages is spreading.

"I think it's fair to say of those reported to the Border Agency, I think they are the tip of the iceberg. ..." ...

At present there is no single "sham marriage" offence. To prosecute someone, officials have to be able to prove a number of crimes have been committed such as conspiracy, deception and fraud.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
Theresa May's tough immigration rules defied by top judge
David Barrett
Sunday Telegraph, 24 February 2013

The country's most senior immigration judge has openly defied the Home Secretary by insisting that Parliament's attempt to get tough on human rights abuses by foreign criminals is outweighed by the European Court.

In a key ruling, the head of the immigration courts said measures introduced by Mrs May last summer to stop criminals claiming the "right to family life" were overridden by judges' previous decisions on such cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Justice Blake also said that "little weight" should be given to Mrs May's immigration rules in cases involving criminals with children because they were overruled by international agreements and a previous law passed by the Labour government.

As reported by The Telegraph last week, Mrs May is due to introduce laws to strengthen existing measures over concerns that judges were not taking them seriously. ...

The judge made his criticisms of Mrs May's laws in a ruling which allowed a criminal with 30 convictions to stay in Britain, even though the Home Office had tried to deport him.

The case was written as a "reported determination", meaning that other immigration judges will have to follow its example when deciding other similar appeals.

Olufisayo Ogundimu, a former drug dealer from south London, persuaded the court that he should not be removed to Nigeria, where he was born, because he had fathered a child here and has a baby on the way with another woman.

Mr Justice Blake said in his ruling on Ogundimu's case that the immigration rules "did not affect the circumstance" when considering the right to family life, which is guaranteed by Article Eight of the Human Rights Act.

In such cases he said that the way to interpret Article Eight was not to consider Mrs May's rules as most important, despite them being passed with cross-party support by Parliament. ...

Dominic Raab, the Tory MP who has campaigned for tougher rules, said: "This chronic judicial legislation has undermined public protection and usurped the democratic will of Parliament.

"We now have around 200 Article Eight cases a year, so it is vital and urgent that Parliament amends the law to mandate deportation and brush aside these spurious challenges to the rule of law."
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
Revealed: Cameron has broken his pre-election promise on foreign criminals as FEWER are deported
Daniel Martin
Daily Mail, 23 February 2013

Fewer foreign criminals are being deported despite a pledge by David Cameron more than two years ago to 'intervene personally'.

.. In the year of the General Election, 5,342 were deported.

In 2011, in the Coalition's second year of office, the figure was down 13 per cent to 4,649.

Figures from the first three quarters of 2012 show that 3,382 were deported. If the trend continued in the final quarter, it would mean the 2012 total is around 4,509 – again, down on the previous year, and 16 per cent down on the election year figure.

Last year the number of foreign prisoners in our jails went up. The number stood at 10,861 as of June 2012, up from 10,779 the year before.

It is the first time in at least four years that the number of foreign prisoners in our jails has increased.

One in eight inmates are now foreign nationals – costing almost £500 million a year to house.

In September 2010, Mr Cameron pledged he would 'intervene personally' to ensure convicted offenders are sent home to spend the rest of their sentences in their own country. ...

Some 2,220 foreign offenders are in jail for violence against the person while 1,287 are sexual offenders.

There are 947 robbers, 517 burglars, 738 thieves and 434 fraudsters. Some 2,110 of the foreign prisoners are there for drug offences while 105 have committed motoring offences. It costs around £45,000 a year to keep an offender in prison.
[Site link]


Crime – mental illness
Hospital beds blocked by mentally ill migrant criminals
Wesley Johnson
Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2013

Criminal illegal immigrants, including killers, are blocking British mental hospital beds because laws prevent them being released into the community or deported, the Appeal Court has heard.

Dr Mark Swinton, a leading forensic psychiatrist, said illegal immigrants like Imtiaz Ahmed, a patient with schizophrenia who strangled his landlady six years ago, could block hospital beds indefinitely.

It has "proved very difficult" to discharge mentally ill patients who were not entitled to be in the UK, he warned, as they were not legally entitled to any post-release support in the community.

Dr Swinton, who has worked on high-profile cases including that of Cumbrian gunman Derrick Bird, urged the Appeal Court judges to make an order which would see Ahmed returned to prison - from where he could be deported - once his mental illness has been effectively treated.

But the three judges ruled they could not allow flaws in the system to influence their decision and ordered his release to be decided by medical professionals.
[Site link]


Crime – Roma, Bulgaria, Europe
Roma exploitation: end of the dream
Annika Joeres, David Schraven and Stanimir Vaglenov, 20 February 2013

"Western European intermediaries underestimate the level to which Roma families are organised," says Tihomir Bezlov, a criminologist from the Centre for Democracy Studies in Sofia. "Authorities ignore the connection between different robberies reported in cities like Berlin and Vienna," he adds.

The criminologist analyses the structures of organised crime in Europe for the United Nations. "Only very seldom is a criminal network organised chaotically. Most thefts and cases of prostitution involving Roma in Europe are related to a strictly organised system with a boss at the top," he says, ... ...

The Berlin Institute for Population and Development estimates that there are 2 million Roma living in western and northern Europe. ... ...

The French police estimate that most prostitutes who walk western European streets today are Bulgarian.

At least 10 percent of the pimps they arrest also come from Bulgaria. The head of the French special commission for human trafficking says that all the money they make is sent back to Bulgaria and Romania on boats or via worldwide transfer services such as Western Union.

Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, and the World Bank calculate the sum of the transfers to amount to roughly three percent of the countries' GDP. ...

Loiseau has been working with Roma for decades. He says clinically that Roma often steal, call on their children to beg and engage their grandchildren in street prostitution. They say that they do not have a choice, that they are stuck in a web of debt. "That's what life looks like at the bottom rung, no matter where you come from," says Loiseau. ...

In Bulgaria the Roma bosses are tightly intertwined with the political system. A report by the Bulgarian ministry of internal Affairs states that 70 percent of the inmates in Bulgarian prisons are Roma, but according to criminologist Bezlov Kiril, Rashkov is the first clan leader behind bars.

The others are probably protected by politicians.

"The Roma bosses buy their freedom with the political parties by providing them with votes from the Roma community," says Bezlov. "The Roma are then urged to vote for the party in question," he adds. Either they have to take pictures of their voting ballot or the votes in their district are counted to see if everyone really voted for the right candidate.

"This form of political interdependence is omnipresent in Bulgaria – and so institutionalised that none of the people in charge does anything about it," notes Bezlov.

The criminologist has, as one of the few Bulgarian researchers looking into it, published several studies on the topic. He says he is risking his life doing it.
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
Law firm partner jailed for marriage scam
Daily Telegraph, 19 February 2013

A partner in a law firm has been jailed for a £20 million "industrial scale" immigration scam that saw about five sham marriages carried out a day over many years.

Tevfick Souleiman ran a "conveyor belt" of brides being flown in from eastern European countries, who would marry men they had never met from non-EU countries and be flown out the next day after being paid by the firm.

Scotland Yard said the North London firm had conducted up to 8,000 immigration applications between 2004 and 2011, with up to £14,000 being charged for each marriage.

The grooms, who included members of the Albanian mafia, were able to live in Britain as a result.

Their sham EU brides were flown in from the Baltic, Bulgaria or Romania using Ryanair, Wizz Air, Aero Lithuania or Air Latvia.

Souleiman, 39, plus his advisors, Zafer Altinbas, 38 and Cenk Guclu, 41, and 29-year-old fixer Furrah Kosimov, took advantage of the pressure the UK Border Agency was under and the complexity of EU law to create frauds "that would be obvious to a child", Judge John Bevan QC told the Old Bailey.

Using the law firm Souleiman GA Solicitors as a front, the gang arranged for staged marriages that allowed both parties to remain in the country or access benefits, and "imposing their wholly undeserved burden on the hard pressed taxpayers", the court heard. ...

The men were mainly from Turkey, Bulgaria, Pakistan and Albania.

The solicitor's firm provided fake documents such as the required statutory declarations needed by the UK Border Agency to prove the marriage was genuine, tenancy agreements or employment references.

The scam was only discovered when detectives investigating a £1 billion cocaine seizure organised by the Albanian mafia stumbled across millions of pounds being siphoned through the solicitors' bank accounts.

Soulieman, whose wife works for the Crown Prosecution Service, was jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to breach immigration law by arranging the sham marriages from August 2004 until February of last year and receiving the proceeds of crime.

Guclu was jailed for nine years, as was Kosimov, who was jailed in his absence after fleeing the country.

Altinbas who pleaded guilty after the first day of trial was jailed for six years and nine months.
[Site link]


Crime – fraud
Nigerian criminal deported eight years ago returned on spousal visa to help run £2.7 million lotto scam
Arthur Martin
Daily Mail, 18 February 2013

A Nigerian who returned to Britain after being deported has been jailed for his role in a £2.7 million lottery scam.

Osas Odia, 33, was booted out of the UK in 2005 after immigration officials discovered he was using a forged stamp in his passport to work.

However, the management graduate was allowed to return on a marriage visa after marrying a British nurse.

Upon returning he joined a group of Nigerian fraudsters who sent thousands of letters to people across the world telling them they had won millions on the lottery. ...

The Nigerian pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder criminal property and was jailed for two years on Friday. ...

It is understood that Odia will be allowed to stay in Britain when he is released because of his marital status.
[Site link]


Crime – cost, deportation
Immigrant crime soars with foreign prisoners rising
Marco Giannangeli
Sunday Express, 17 February 2013

Shock new figures today reveal an increase of nearly 40 per cent in the number of Romanian criminals in Britain's jails.

As the total of UK-born inmates falls, the ranks of Eastern European prisoners are rising amid a crimewave by migrants exploiting European Union freedom of movement rules.

The figures obtained by the Sunday Express raise fresh fears about the impact on Britain when transitional controls on impoverished and crime ridden Bulgaria and Romania are removed next year.

According to the statistics, the number of Romanian inmates rose from 454 in September 2011 to 624 last month.

Fraudsters from the former Eastern bloc country are responsible for 92 per cent of all ATM crime in Britain, according to police figures. ...

The number of Polish prisoners, the largest East European group in British jails, has climbed 10 per cent to 807; enough to fill Belmarsh high security jail in London.

Of the eight mid and Eastern European nations represented in British prisons, including Albania and Slovakia, only Latvia saw its numbers go down.

British taxpayers are already paying more than £90 million a year to fund the 2,400 Eastern Europeans currently in jail, at a rate of £38,000 per prisoner.

However the possible extra financial burden of economic migrants to the system has not been forecast by Government departments.

MP Priti Patel asked 16 ministries, including the Home Office, Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions, Ministry of Justice and the Treasury, what immigration has cost their department since 1997.

Each reported that estimates had not been calculated and "to do so would incur a disproportionate cost". ...

Figures shown to the Sunday Express reveal that almost two out of three foreign national offenders who stayed in jail to fight deportation once they served their sentence last year are still in Britain. Over the past two years, almost 16,000 foreign national prisoners marked for deportation stayed in jail beyond their sentences.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
The rioters we can't kick out: 18 months after mayhem that shocked Britain, just 15 out of 200 convicted foreigners have been deported
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 11 February 2013

Only 15 of the hundreds of foreigners who took part in the riots of 2011 have been deported, the Mail can reveal.

Ministers had promised to get tough after violence and mayhem tore apart English cities, but the vast majority of overseas nationals who joined in the destruction are still here.

A combination of EU law and human rights rules is thought to be blocking efforts to deport them and could lead to large numbers being granted the right to stay.

While officials have managed to kick out 15 of the rioters, another 31 have been told they can remain in the country despite their crimes.

More than 200 foreign criminals were convicted for their part in the riots in which shops were plundered, businesses set ablaze and hundreds of millions of pounds of damage done.

Among the offences they carried out were burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder. ...

Many remain behind bars at a cost to tax-payers of tens of thousands of pounds a week – but more than 80 are at large having been released. And three convicted foreign rioters have been 'lost' by the UK Border Agency after failing to comply with bail conditions.

Ministers had pledged to take tough action to kick out foreign criminals as quickly as possible after the riots in August 2011 which began in Tottenham, north London and spread across the country into several nights of carnage.

Home Office minister Damian Green said at the time: 'We strongly believe that foreign national lawbreakers should be removed from the UK at the earliest opportunity.

'We also have the power to cancel visas of foreign nationals found guilty of criminal activity, and this is something we will be looking to do when these cases arise.'

In the following months, it emerged that non-UK nationals played a central role in the mayhem. Figures from the courts showed one in seven of all convicted rioters was from overseas. ...

The largest group was Jamaicans, followed by Somali and Polish offenders.

Other rioters came from Colombia, Iraq, the Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

The true number of foreign nationals may be even higher as 4 per cent of those taken into remand during the riots refused to tell police their nationality. ...

Of the 201 cases passed to UKBA, only 15 have been kicked out. ...

... A total of 63 are still in prison, or in immigration detention awaiting deportation. ...

EU rules prevent officials even trying to deport any European nationals sentenced to less than two years in prison.

Non-EU nationals do not qualify for automatic deportation unless they were jailed for at least 12 months.

Peter Cuthbertson, director of the think-tank the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: 'The average rioter in 2011 had already committed 15 offences, so the public have a right to expect them to be punished properly.

They will be appalled by these figures, which show just how important it is to fix our human rights laws.'
[Site link]


Met to form foreign police unit
London Evening Standard, 8 February 2013

Britain's biggest police force is to forge a unit of foreign officers in a bid to tackle the growing threat from overseas offenders, it has emerged.

The Metropolitan Police said it has requested 2.2 million euro (£1.9 million) of European Union funding to allow officers from other countries to be seconded to the force. Romania and Poland have agreed already to sign up.

The officers would share intelligence and join Met officers on operations, Scotland Yard said, but it is understood they would not have powers of arrest.

The top 10 countries of origin of those arrested are Romania, Nigeria, Somalia, Jamaica, Lithuania, Portugal, Poland, India, Pakistan and Ireland, with 40% of all foreign national offenders from these countries, the Met said.

Some 28% of those arrested for a criminal offence in London are foreign nationals, recent Met intelligence showed.
[Site link]


Crime – people smuggling
Raids across Europe target people-smuggling gangs
The Guardian, 7 February 2013

Dozens of raids have been carried out across the UK and in France and Belgium overnight in a crackdown on people-smuggling.

Officers from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) raided 35 addresses in England and Scotland, targeting gangs who bring illegal immigrants into the country in the back of lorries through Channel ports.

About another 40 raids were carried out at the same time in France and Belgium as part of the operation.

Stowaways can pay from £2,000 to £6,000 per person to be smuggled into Britain.

Raids were carried out in London, Hampshire, Peterborough, Birmingham, Coventry, Smethwick, Leamington Spa and Stoke-on-Trent. Warrants were also executed in Manchester, Sheffield, Lancashire and Glasgow. More than 150 officers from the UKBA took part in the operation.

It is understood many of the immigrants who pay the gangs are from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. So far, officers have made 20 arrests in relation to their investigation and six in relation to other suspected offences, including immigration breaches.
[Site link]


Crime – cost
Police battling 7,500 crime gangs that cost the country £100 million a day
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 26 January 2013

Police are now battling against 7,500 organised crime gangs after the number increased eight fold in just a decade, ...

The criminal enterprises cost the country more than £100 million a day in crime and lost revenues and involve more than 30,000 offenders.

Mass immigration and the explosion of cyber crime are among the driving forces for the growing problem. ...

Police agencies and the Home Office estimated there are 7,500 organised crime gangs operating in the UK – up from 6,000 in 2010.

In 2001, the then National Criminal Intelligence Service estimated there was between 800 and 900 such gangs operating.

Mass immigration over the last decade and freer movement between borders is partly to blame and Eastern European gangs from the former Eastern Bloc countries are known to target Britain.
[Site link]


Crime – driving, motorists
Foreign resident motorists escape punishment for flouting law
David Millward
Daily Telegraph, 26 January 2013

Tens of thousands of foreign motorists are driving illegally in Britain, evading tax, fines and safety checks, it has emerged.

Anyone moving to Britain with their car must register it with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and get UK plates within six months.

This enables the authorities to make sure the car is taxed, insured and roadworthy. The drivers can also be prosecuted for speeding and parking offences.

However in a commons reply Stephen Hammond, the road safety minister, admitted the Government had no idea how many motorists were flouting the law.

Local authorities believe that there could be at least 30,000 foreign registered cars on Britain's roads illegally.

There are fears that some of the cars are in poor and potentially dangerous condition as well, because their roadworthiness is checked neither in Britain nor their country of origin. ...

There are also difficulties pursuing the motorists for parking fines and London's congestion charge, because their details are not held by the DVLA.

It is estimated that 330,000 parking tickets are issued to foreign motorists in Britain, of whom nearly 30 per cent are living in the country.

According to one local authority study, a third of the most persistent parking fine evaders owned foreign registered vehicles, suggesting the driver was resident in Britain.

London Councils estimates that foreign drivers account for five per cent of motoring offences, even though they represent only two per cent of drivers.

But despite mounting concern about the number of unregistered foreign cars, only four were clamped by the DVLA last year, according to another Commons reply.
[Site link]


Crime – deportation
More than 3,000 foreign criminals fighting deportation
Wesley Johnson
Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2013

More than 3,000 foreign criminals are fighting deportation, ministers revealed, as "shocking" figures showed 25 were told to leave the UK at least 10 years ago.

Mark Harper, the Immigration Minister, said legal challenges and problems caused by foreign criminals not having the correct identity documents were key reasons behind the delays.

Almost 2,300 of the foreign offenders awaiting deportation were told to leave more than a year ago, with more than 600 others still in the UK five years after being told they must go home.

Tory MP Priti Patel, who uncovered the figures in a parliamentary question, said foreign criminals were "abusing the system" as she called for barriers to deportation, including the Human Rights Act, to be scrapped. ...

Overall, 3,133 foreign offenders were in the UK as of September last year, including 64 who could not be deported because the authorities did not even know their identity or nationality. ...

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged nearly two years ago to put an end to agreements that mean foreign offenders cannot be returned home without their consent.
[Site link]


Crime – human trafficking, employment
Labour trafficking 'a hidden crime'
Daily Express, 21 January 2013

Thousands of people are being trafficked to the UK for forced labour in a "hidden crime" where victims go unnoticed, experts have said.

The workers are forced to put in long hours with little food while living in squalid conditions, the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) said, and may be employed by firms unaware of the abuse.

UKHTC has launched a campaign with Crimestoppers and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to highlight the plight of the workers. ...

More than 1,000 victims of trafficking for forced labour have been referred to the centre since 2009 but Mr Behan said this could be "the tip of the iceberg", and he believes there are potentially "many more".
[Site link]


Crime – smuggling of people
Illegal immigrants pay £1,500 to be smuggled OUT of Britain: Fears gangs are helping foreign criminals flee the country
James Slack
Daily Mail, 21 January 2013

Illegal immigrants are paying criminal gangs £1,500 a time to smuggle them out of Britain, it emerged last night.

The foreign nationals – many of whom sneaked into the UK undetected in the first place – are put in the back of lorries and transported to France.

By avoiding contact with the authorities they can travel on to a European destination of their choice, rather than risk being sent back to their homeland thousands of miles away.

It is feared that foreign criminals on the run from the police are fleeing in this way.

The bizarre trade, exposed by a BBC Panorama investigation to be shown this evening, is an embarrassment for ministers. ...

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, yesterday admitted: 'It is possible we don't catch every single person who tries to enter the country clandestinely.'
[Site link]


Crime – gun smuggling
Exposed: The army's gun-smuggling soldiers
Paul Peachey
The Independent, 21 January 2013
[The newspaper's report has photographs of three black men]

A group of British Army soldiers based in Germany have been convicted of attempting to smuggle guns and cocaine from continental Europe to sell to the London underworld.

A former member of an elite cavalry regiment masterminded the "well-planned" operation with the help of three Army colleagues on bases in Germany and criminal contacts in three countries. ...

The four serving or former soldiers were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court along with a criminal contact in London. ... ...

Detective Inspector Chris Jones, of Trident Gang Crime Command, said the operation "led to the removal of five lethal firearms and ammunition, weapons which would inevitably have been used to commit acts of serious violence on the streets of London."
[Site link]


Crime – sham marriages
Jail for immigrant sham marriage gang organisers
Yorkshire Post, 19 January 2013

A sham marriage organiser who led a "huge" new immigration scam to allow Pakistani men to live in the UK was yesterday jailed for six years.

Father-of five Talib Hussain was at the hub of a gang which flew more than 20 Czech, Slovak and British brides to Pakistan to "marry" Asian men who paid the organisers considerable sums of money.

He was among 17 gang members who were jailed for a total of 27 years and eight months at Sheffield Crown Court including nine fake brides – four Czech, four British Asian and a Slovak. ...

Judge Coe said the brides clearly had no intention of living with their bridegrooms in genuine and settled relationships and they were sham marriages for immigration purposes and small financial gain to the women.

"This was a very large, well-organised and professional operation involving very many people," she said.
[Site link]


Crime – prisons
1,500 foreign criminals 'held beyond sentence'
Wesley Johnson
Daily Telegraph, 16 January 2013

Britain is being forced to pay tens of millions of pounds to keep nearly 1,500 foreign criminals behind bars beyond the term of their sentence as they fight deportation.

The cost could reach the equivalent of £55 million a year as more than 500 foreign prisoners are held in jails after their sentences should have ended while almost 1,000 are being kept in immigration removal centres, figures showed.

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged nearly two years ago to put an end to agreements that mean foreign offenders cannot be returned home without their consent.

Tory MP Priti Patel, who obtained the figures through a parliamentary question, said the number of foreign criminals who can not be deported showed the Government needed to scrap the Human Rights Act. ...

Each prison place costs an average of almost £38,000 a year, while immigration detention costs £102 per night, the trust's figures also showed.
[Site link]


Crime – child trafficking, international adoption
The Baby Deficit
Kayla Webley
Time, 21 January 2013
[This magazine is published more than a week before the date it carries]

For over half a century, Americans unable or unwilling to have biological children could count on adopting from other countries, with thousands of foreign children arriving in U.S. homes every year. Now a combination of forces in the developing world, from reform efforts to economic growth to resurgent nationalism, is turning attitudes against the practice, even in countries where kids may need the most help.

The result is a significant decline in the supply of foreign children available for adoption. ... the number of international children adopted by American families has dropped some 60% since a peak in 2004. That year, Americans adopted 22,991 children, according to the State Department. In 2011, despite long waiting lists at adoption agencies, the total was 9,319 – the lowest since the mid-1990s.

The decline is due in part to good intentions. Some countries that have restricted international adoption did so to try to fix an often byzantine process rife with mismanagement, fraud and systemic corruption. ... In the worst cases, children are stolen or extorted from their birth parents. ...

"There's a very fine line between human trafficking and international adoption," says Shirin Aitmatova, a member of the Kyrgyz parliamentary committee investigating the country's adoption system. "If it's not done correctly, then we have to accept the fact that we were selling children, and that's just not morally right. ..."
[Site link]


Crime – abortion, multiculturalism
The abortion of unwanted girls taking place in the UK
Rowena Mason
Daily Telegraph, 11 January 2013

Illegal abortion on the grounds of gender may be taking place in Britain within immigrant communities, ministers have admitted for the first time after an official analysis of birth statistics.

The Government was on Thursday night urged to open an inquiry after officials found signs that birth rates for girls and boys vary noticeably according to where their mothers were born.

A health minister said that these differences in rates of male and female births among mothers of certain nationalities may "fall outside the range considered possible without intervention".

It forms the first official statistical evidence potentially backing up concerns that sex-selection abortions are being carried out in Britain. ...

There has been little official research on whether the practice is carried out in some of Britain's immigrant communities. The Government said its new analysis was undertaken after the Council of Europe demanded statistics on the issue of whether more boys than girls are born to mothers of certain nationalities. ...

A Department of Health spokesman said any abortion based on sex selection is "illegal and morally wrong". ...

A study by Oxford University academics has previously found evidence that suggested Indian women giving birth in Britain were terminating more female than male unborn babies between 1990 and 2005.

In Canada, Dr Rajendra Kale, the editor of a medical journal, last year called for doctors to withhold the sex of unborn babies from their mothers until 30 weeks into pregnancy to stop "female feticide".

He cited a study suggesting "evidence of a clear son preference among south-east Asian immigrants to Canada", with male-biased birth ratios among Chinese, Korean and Indian parents.

Last year, the Council of Europe recommended that member states, including Britain, stop telling parents the gender of their baby because of concerns that this was encouraging sex-selection abortions.

Many hospitals have stopped giving parents information on the gender of their babies until late in the pregnancy.

However, blood tests that disclose the sex of a foetus are widely available on the internet or abroad.

Abortions for non-medical reasons are legal until 24 weeks, but terminations on grounds of sex of the foetus are illegal under the 1967 Abortion Act.

In 2010 there were 189,574 terminations in England and Wales, an eight per cent increase in the past decade.
[Site link]


Crime – child trafficking
Child trafficking on the rise, UN says
Marcel Fürstenau
Deutsche Welle, 11 January 2013

The UN Children's Fund and Germany's Federal Criminal Agency have released shocking figures. Offenders rake in billions of dollars with the purchase and sale of children, while authorities remain in the dark.

It's always the same story: A lack of care and education lead to poverty and despair - hopeless situations that human traffickers worldwide take advantage of.

The[y] force their victims into prostitution, force them to work and misuse them for illegal trade in organs. Experts estimate the number of victims to be in the millions. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report that based on official data supplied by 132 countries, children and young people up to the age of 18 make up a large percentage of all human trafficking cases: 27 percent between 2007 and 2010. Of these, two-thirds were girls.

According to the study, the majority of child victims were found in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific. More than half were found to be forced into prostitution, about 36 percent into forced labor, while others toiled as beggars or maids.

The situation has been getting worse in countries that were part of the former Communist Bloc. ... Many children in Romania are not even registered, she added. "These children can simply disappear without anyone ever knowing they existed," Lütkes said.

In Romania alone, about 84,000 children live with just one parent or other relatives, Lütkes said. Such families, in which parents have often gone abroad in search of work, present the greatest risk for children, Lütkes pointed out. She added the situation in Romania is comparable with that in other Eastern European nations, including Moldova and Bulgaria. ... ...

... The situation is especially difficult for refugees, she added, explaining that they often keep silent for fear of being deported. Authorities who deal with refugees often cannot discern the difference, she said: "A refugee child could be a trafficked child."

The EU Commission estimates that revenue from human trafficking generates more than 25 billion euros ($33.1 billion) per year worldwide.
[Site link]



Disease – rickets
We're letting children pop pills, rather than play
Max Pemberton
Daily Telegraph, 28 October 2013

Last week the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said every child should be given vitamins on the NHS in order to tackle rickets. ...

Historically, the main cause of this was malnutrition. ...

But the cases being seen today are almost entirely the result of a vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of sunlight: most of our vitamin D is made in our skin following sun exposure. ... ...

There are other social factors at play, too. Increasing immigration has meant there are more people living in Britain whose skin is not adapted to our often gloomy weather. This group is at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, because the dark pigment in their skin acts as a stronger barrier to the ultraviolet rays that the skin needs to synthesise the vitamin. In countries where the sun's rays are stronger or the days are longer, this is not a problem, but here it can lead to a serious deficiency.

Certain ethnic groups are at a greater risk of this because, for cultural or religious reasons, they cover up, limiting the amount of skin exposure. Indeed, all the cases I have seen of vitamin D deficiency have been in Asian women. We are now faced with the possibility of medicating the entire nation's children to combat this condition. Is this sensible?
[Site link]


Disease – hepatitis
Looking After the Liver
Professor Roger Williams, CBE
Huffington Post, 18 September 2013
[Director of the Liver Unit at The London Clinic and the Institute of Hepatology, Foundation for Liver Research]

As for the chronically infected Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) subjects in the country, the numbers are similarly escalating. The pool of chronic HBV infections, estimated at 325,000 persons, has doubled in the past ten years and an additional 7,500 cases are being added each year consequent on immigration from countries with high prevalence rates for HBV. A similar number of HCV positive immigrants are likely to be entering the UK each year and the pool of chronic HCV infections in the country is conservatively estimated at over 200,000 subjects. Less that 20% are thought to have been diagnosed to date for, as with HBV infection, the majority of cases are asymptomatic until the disease is advanced. Because of the long natural history of chronic HCV hepatitis, it is estimated end stage cirrhosis and HCC will peak in 2020. It already constitutes the second major category of end-stage liver disease requiring transplantation in the UK, alcoholic liver disease being the first.
[Site link]


Disease – tuberculosis
Antibiotic resistance 'risks turning TB clock back to 1930s'
Stephen Adams
Daily Telegraph, 12 February 2013

Growing drug resistance to tuberculosis will "turn the clock back to the 1930s", doctors are warning. ...

However, the increase has been driven almost exclusively by immigration - specifically from sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia - and not by the rise of resistant strains.

Foreigners have a 22-fold higher chance of being diagnosed with TB than people born in the UK, according to research. They account for about three-quarters of TB cases.

Doctors believe new ways of testing immigrants for TB urgently need to be adopted.

Many immigrants arrive with latent (ie dormant) infection but they go on to develop active TB while here.
[Site link]



Diversity – social cohesion
The Paradox of Diverse Communities
Richard Florida
The Atlantic Cities, 19 November 2013

Urbanists and planners like to imagine and design for a world of diversity. Diversity, we like to think, is both a social good and, as I've argued, a spur to innovation and economic growth.

But to what degree is this goal of diverse, cohesive community attainable, even in theory?

That's the key question behind an intriguing new study, "The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community," published in the November edition of the American Journal of Community Psychology. ...

Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual "neighborhoods" demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals. As the authors explain, integration "provides opportunities for intergroup contact that are necessary to promote respect for diversity, but may prevent the formation of dense interpersonal networks that are necessary to promote sense of community."

Their models focus on the emergence of the "community-diversity dialectic" based on two simple principles: homophily – the tendency of people to bond with others like themselves – and proximity – the tendency of people to bond with those nearby. Their models look at how the strength of these basic tendencies affect the evolution of neighborhoods comprised of two distinct populations (say by race, class, ethnicity and so on). In these simulated neighborhoods, the possible levels of integration ranged from 0 percent (totally segregated) to 50 percent (totally integrated). ...

After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive. As they write, "The model suggests that when people form relationships with similar and nearby others, the contexts that offer opportunities to develop a respect for diversity are different from the contexts that foster a sense of community." ...

These findings are sobering. Because homophily and proximity are so ingrained in the way humans interact, the models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion "in all reasonably likely worlds." In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to Neal. As he put it in a statement, "In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can't have your cake and eat it too."

But, of course, this is the result of computer simulations of reality, not reality itself. Our identities, social relationships and actual neighborhoods are far more complex than simulations can get at. And yes, diverse neighborhoods, while they may be scarce, do exist in the real world. Moreover, people don't live in isolated neighborhoods of 500 homes, and segregation, diversity, and interpersonal relationships are phenomena that work on a far larger scale as well. But the fact of the matter is we sort ourselves into communities of similar, like-minded others. And this sorting process appears to be built into the very structure of our social lives.
[Site link]


Diversity – education, USA
Princeton University endorses plan to make campus more diverse
Kelly Heyboer
New Jersey On-Line / The Star-Ledger, 13 September 2013

It has been nearly 50 years since Princeton University began admitting women and actively recruiting minority students, but the school is still too white and too male, according to a new report that calls for big changes on the Ivy League campus.

Christopher Eisgruber, the university's new president, and the school's board of trustees signed off today on a series of recommendations by a campus committee convened to take a hard look at campus diversity.

The 19-member group found that Princeton has made great strides in welcoming minorities, women and low-income students into its undergraduate classes in recent decades. But the rest of the school – including graduate programs, faculty and top administrators – still lacks diversity.

"To begin with, ours is an increasingly pluralistic society, and, simply put, Princeton and its peers do not come close to looking like America today," concluded the report by the university's Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity.

Princeton's undergraduate Class of 2016 is the most diverse in the school's history, with nearly half of the class made up of women and more than 40 percent of the students from minority racial groups. But the other parts of Princeton are not nearly as diverse. White males still make up the majority of the faculty and graduate students in many departments, the report said. ...

Eisgruber said he will launch the new strategy at an upcoming meeting with the chairs of all the academic departments. The school will look for pilot projects to increase diversity. ...

The report cited a successful program in Princeton's molecular biology department that increased the percentage of minority students in the doctoral program from 3 percent to 23 percent over five years as a possible model for other programs.

But Princeton was forced to undertake that initiative by new requirements imposed by the National Institutes of Health, a federal body that funds college research. Those new requirements are "an example of increasingly common federal diversity mandates, which are only likely to intensify in coming years," the report said.
[Site link]


Diversity – universities, USA
Lies, Damned Lies and University Lies
Robert Weissberg
American Thinker, 12 July 2013

It's not that universities always get it right; rather uncovering the truth is, or at least should be, their paramount mission.

Unfortunately, as the PC virus continues to spread plague-like, universities have increasingly embraced falsehoods and, to make matter worse, they do so publicly and proudly.

Don't believe this? Let me offer Exhibit A: a full-page advertisement in the June 30th New York Times titled "Diversity in Higher Education Remains an Essential National Priority." The ad was sponsored by 37 educational organizations, a Who's Who of the higher-education establishment, from the Association of American Law Schools to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. ...

The advertisement offered a stout defense of racial preferences under the guise of defending diversity in higher education.

Everything in the ad was an outright lie or a vacuous, impossible to prove banality. ...

It begins by claiming that today's manic infatuation with campus diversity as a legal doctrine can be traced back to a 1957 statement by Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. A breathtaking lie. I've studied racial preferences/diversity for a half century, and I've never encountered Frankfurter's statement and, more importantly, his celebration of academic freedom has zero to do with racial preferences in university admissions. Zero.

... The idea that universities had a commitment to diversity via racial bean counting only surfaced in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger and even here, it could be only one of many admission factors. ...

Then comes the Mother of All unverified contemporary higher education clichés: the benefits of diversity have remained unchanged as if they were akin to Boyle's Law. Absolutely wrong – no scientific study has ever demonstrating this endlessly repeated "fact." Then comes yet more unsubstantiated verbiage – diversity in higher education helps prepare students for success in today's "interconnected world" and is, allegedly, central to providing a rigorous, horizon-expanding intellectually challenging education, all the while strengthening American democracy. Again, all unverified claims and since the absence of hard evidence is undoubtedly known, all this verges on outright lying. ...

Indeed, the entire skin-color-as-diversity argument is profoundly racist since it ties thinking to melanin levels so an upper-class Shaker Heights, Ohio black is assumed to think different than his wealthy white high school classmate thanks to his skin color. Shades of "Jewish thinking" under the Third Reich. Actually, the diversity rationale treats blacks and Hispanics as akin to classroom resources (e.g., computers, a slide projector) whose very presence will (magically) assist whites and Asians to learn more.

Reality is just the opposite – racial preferences have huge costs and little upside. Admitting less academically qualified blacks and Hispanics probably encourages negative stereotypes regarding their intellectual ability while redirecting resources into intellectual unproductive endeavors such a remedial education, dumbed-down majors, and bureaucratic bloat, e.g., Deans of Diversity and Inclusion. Most plainly, racial preferences subvert meritocracy, and if anything will help America in today's ultra-competitive world economy, it is meritocracy. ... ...

It is easy to underestimate the poisonous impact of lying about racial preferences now tarted up as "diversity."
[Site link]


Diversity – superdiversity
Britain super diverse as one in eight was born overseas
Daily Express, 13 June 2013

Britain has entered an "era of superdiversity" that is here to stay, according to a new immigration think-tank.

The UK's population is more complex than ever with one in eight people now living in England and Wales having been born overseas.

Social scientist Dr Jenny Phillimore, from the University of Birmingham, said: "Diversity is being replaced by superdiversity."

Dr Phillimore today launched the Institute for Research into Superdiversity, Britain's first academic unit specifically created to study the knock-on effects of mass migration.
[Site link]


Diversity – multiculturalism, books, children
Black characters put parents off books, new Children's Laureate says
Victoria Ward
Daily Telegraph, 5 June 2013

Parents can be put off from buying a book with a black character on the front cover, Malorie Blackman, the new Children's Laureate, has said.

The 51-year-old author of the Noughts & Crosses teenage book series vowed to use her two-year tenure to "bang the drum" for diversity, saying it was vital for young people to learn about different cultures.

"Children will go with any story as long as its good but white adults sometimes think that if a black child's on the cover it is perhaps not for them," she said. ...

Blackman, a London-born author whose parents came to Britain from Barbados, said there was a distinct lack of black and Asian children in picture books.

She said that when she was younger, she never once read a book that featured a black child, which left her feeling "totally invisible".

"We do need more ethnically diverse literature in this country," she said. "It's a lot better than it was but we still have a long way to go."

The mother-of-one also used her first day in the new role to voice concerns about Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, warning that he risked driving the best teachers out of the profession by reducing them to a "delivery mechanism" to get children through tests rather than encouraging them to think for themselves.

She said his proposed new history curriculum, which focuses heavily on Britain, was "dangerous" and risked turning black and ethnic minority children against education. ...

Blackman succeeds Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson to become the eighth Children's Laureate since the honour was devised by Ted Hughes, the then Poet Laureate, and children's author Michael Morpurgo in 1999.
[Site link]


Diversity – police, positive discrimination
Met police in talks over law change to allow positive discrimination
Vikram Dodd
The Guardian, 3 June 2013

Scotland Yard has discussed with the government a radical change in race relations law to allow positive discrimination in recruitment, as the growth of London's ethnic minority populations makes the gap between the police ranks and those they serve wider than ever.

In a Guardian interview, the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Simon Byrne said the plans the Met were examining would mean they "could only recruit, in very broad terms, a white officer if you can recruit a black or minority ethnic person at the same" time.

Byrne said current law "doesn't allow us to be as bold as we could be". Nine out of 10 Met officers are white, while the latest census data shows London's population is 40% minority ethnic.

The senior officer said the "50-50" plans amounted to "positive discrimination" which would require a change in the law. Talks were still ongoing with the government at the time of the interview, conducted the day before the Woolwich terror attack, an episode that highlighted religious and racial issues in the capital.

Some police chiefs fear overly white forces, especially in urban areas, risk damaging the legitimacy of policing as they exercise the power of the state over increasingly ethnically diverse populations.
[Site link]


Diversity – racism, police
'White backlash' revealed at Scotland Yard
Ted Jeory
Sunday Express, 12 May 2013

Scotland Yard is experiencing a "white backlash" from its own officers who are furious at the time "wasted" on diversity issues, a shocking internal Met Police report has found.

A worrying complacency about race has seeped into all echelons of the Metropolitan Police, the report says, adding that the lessons from the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 risk being forgotten.

The Met's Diversity Heath Check report found many officers believe "white, heterosexual males were being passed over for promotion" and that there is a "growing antagonism towards diversity" in the force.

The survey reported an abdication of leadership, with managers failing to deal properly with under-performing ethnic minority staff for fear of accusations of racism.

"[This] has an effect on other team members and breeds resentment," the report found. ...

Circulated among horrified Met bosses last June, the report's findings were only made public when the Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing published its own "watershed" survey on Friday.

It revealed it too had found racist attitudes among officers when dealing with mentally ill people from ethnic minority communities.

The Commission said young Afro-Caribbean men were "particularly vulnerable" and had suffered more from the "disproportionate use of force".

It was while analysing the causes of those issues that the Commissioners examined the Met's own internal report.

The Commission said the Met concluded an "increasing 'white backlash' as recruitment, retention and progression of female and black and minority ethnic staff has improved".
[Site link]


Diversity – minorities, criminals, USA
Perform Criminal Background Checks at Your Peril [part 1]
James Bovard
Wall Street Journal, 15 February 2013

A federal policy intended to help minorities is likely to have the opposite effect.

Should it be a federal crime for businesses to refuse to hire ex-convicts? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently released 20,000 convoluted words of regulatory "guidance" to direct businesses to hire more felons and other ex-offenders.

In the late 1970s, the EEOC began stretching Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sue businesses for practically any hiring practice that adversely affected minorities. In 1989, the agency sued Carolina Freight Carrier Corp. of Hollywood, Fla., for refusing to hire as a truck driver a Hispanic man who had multiple arrests and had served 18 months in prison for larceny. The EEOC argued that the only legitimate qualification for the job was the ability to operate a tractor trailer.

U.S. District Judge Jose Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., in ruling against the agency, said: "EEOC's position that minorities should be held to lower standards is an insult to millions of honest Hispanics. Obviously a rule refusing honest employment to convicted applicants is going to have a disparate impact upon thieves."

The EEOC ignored that judicial thrashing and pressed on. Last April, the agency unveiled its "Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions," declaring that "criminal record exclusions have a disparate impact based on race and national origin."

Though blacks make up only 13% of the U.S. population, more blacks were arrested nationwide for robbery, murder and manslaughter in 2009 than whites, according to the FBI. The imprisonment rate for black men "was nearly 7 times higher than White men and almost 3 times higher than Hispanic men," notes the EEOC. These statistical disparities inspired the EEOC to rewrite the corporate hiring handbook to level the playing field between "protected groups" and the rest of the workforce.

Most businesses perform criminal background checks on job applicants, but the EEOC guidance frowns on such checks and creates new legal tripwires that could spark federal lawsuits. One EEOC commissioner who opposed the new policy, Constance Barker, warned in April that "the only real impact the new Guidance will have will be to scare business owners from ever conducting criminal background checks. . . . The Guidance tells them that they are taking a tremendous risk if they do."

If a background check discloses a criminal offense, the EEOC expects a company to do an intricate "individualized assessment" that will somehow prove that it has a "business necessity" not to hire the ex-offender (or that his offense disqualifies him for a specific job). Former EEOC General Counsel Donald Livingston, in testimony in December to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, warned that employers could be considered guilty of "race discrimination if they choose law abiding applicants over applicants with criminal convictions" unless they conduct a comprehensive analysis of the ex-offender's recent life history.
[Site link]


Diversity – minorities, criminals, USA
Perform Criminal Background Checks at Your Peril [part 2]
James Bovard
Wall Street Journal, 15 February 2013

It is difficult to overstate the EEOC's zealotry on this issue. The agency is demanding that one of Mr. Livingston's clients – the Freeman Companies, a convention and corporate events planner – pay compensation to rejected job applicants who lied about their criminal records.

The biggest bombshell in the new guidelines is that businesses complying with state or local laws that require employee background checks can still be targeted for EEOC lawsuits. This is a key issue in a case the EEOC commenced in 2010 against G4S Secure Solutions after the company refused to hire a twice-convicted Pennsylvania thief as a security guard. ...

The EEOC's new regime leaves businesses in a Catch-22. As Todd McCracken of the National Small Business Association recently warned: "State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers' homes. Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons."

At the same time that the EEOC is practically rewriting the law to add "criminal offender" to the list of protected groups under civil-rights statutes, the agency refuses to disclose whether it uses criminal background checks for its own hiring. When EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff was challenged on this point in a recent federal case in Maryland, the agency insisted that revealing its hiring policies would violate the "governmental deliberative process privilege."

The EEOC is confident that its guidance will boost minority hiring, but studies published in the University of Chicago Legal Forum and the Journal of Law and Economics have found that businesses are much less likely to hire minority applicants when background checks are banned. As the majority of black and Hispanic job applicants have clean legal records, the new EEOC mandate may harm the very groups it purports to help.
[Site link]


Diversity – politics, Conservative Party
Tory plan for ethnic count at FTSE firms
Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2013

Some of Britain's biggest companies would be urged to publish the ethnic breakdown of their workforce under Conservative plans to restore its image with Black and Asian voters, it emerged last night.

David Cameron has reportedly told the Cabinet to develop policies to appeal to ethnic communities.

One idea would encourage Stock Exchange-listed companies to state how many ethnic minority workers they employ and how many have been recruited over the past year, the Times reported. ...

Kris Hopkins, MP for Keighley and a leader of the 301 group of Tory MPs urging the party hierarchy to reach out to non-traditional Conservative voters, added that the party's problem with ethnic minorities was still an issue.
[Site link]


Diversity – multiculturalism, police
Call for new law to force police to tackle diversity crisis at top
Sandra Laville
The Guardian, 28 January 2013

Police forces should be made to positively discriminate in favour of black and ethnic minority officers in the face of a growing diversity crisis, according to one of the country's leading chief constables.

The radical proposal – which would mean a change in the law – from Sir Peter Fahy, of Greater Manchester, comes in the face of what he said was an embarrassing paucity of black and minority ethnic officers (BME) at the top of British policing.

Fahy, the lead spokesperson on workforce development for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), spoke as Theresa May, the home secretary, was due to announce plans this week to introduce direct entry to the service at inspector and superintendent ranks as part of the Winsor reforms.

Some chief officers believe this will help improve diversity, but Fahy said the small numbers involved would not significantly change the white face of British policing. ...

"This is not about targets or political correctness," he said. "It is about operational need. Policing is unique, we need to be legitimate within the community because of the exercise of power. Often we are out there resolving disputes between communities and we need officers that understand different communities and different backgrounds.

"Then there is the practical stuff about surveillance and undercover officers. We need to be a more diverse police service. The operational need is great."
[Site link]



Egalitarianism – school
Poorer pupils held back by 'soft bigotry of low expectations'
Nick Collins
Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2013

Schools need to stop promoting the 'soft bigotry of low expectations', the Education Secretary has said, claiming teachers refuse to believe that children from poor homes can achieve high standards.

A change in attitude is needed to address the "shocking, stubborn" gaps in educational attainment between black children, or those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and their peers, Michael Gove said.

Black children are still at an educational disadvantage because Britain has failed to create a "truly colour-blind" society and providing good schools for all is the "civil rights battle of our time".

Speaking to an audience of teachers at City Hall, Mr Gove said Britain needs to fight just as hard as America for social justice, he added, to keep up the rate of progress and ultimately "fulfil the dream of equality". ...

Fewer black children reach the expected level in reading, writing, maths and science at age seven and the gaps still exist in English and maths at age 11, falling three points behind the national average.

At 16 only half of black pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, compared with almost three in five of all pupils, and at 18 a smaller proportion of black pupils are awarded two or more A-levels.

"For too long, there have been shocking, stubborn gaps in attainment between children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and their peers," Mr Gove said.
[Site link]


Egalitarianism – religion, multiculturalism, equality laws
Christians forced to hide their faith by equality laws, says senior Liberal Democrat MP
Adam Withnall
The Independent on Sunday, 15 September 2013

Christians feel that they are being forced to hide their religion because of "silly" interpretations of equality laws, a senior MP has said.

Sir Alan Beith, the former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and chair of the Commons Justice Select Committee, has likened the misunderstandings to those surrounding health and safety regulation, where the rules can be overzealously applied for the wrong reasons.

Referring to recent high profile cases involving people being told not to wear religious symbols in the workplace, Sir Alan said that many Christians feel that they have to keep their faith "under wraps".
[Site link]


Egalitarianism – discrimination, equality duty
How many lesbians have you disciplined? Pointless red tape condemned in new report into how public bodies have become obsessed by equality
James Rush
Daily Mail, 6 September 2013

Public bodies have become engulfed with pointless red-tape as they strive to prove they do not discriminate, a report has warned today.

A review into the Public Sector Equality Duty 'had difficulties finding' examples to prove the legislation was working, despite a general belief it was.

The chairman of the review has now warned 'unnecessary use' of red tape could divert resources from frontline services.

One example of the red-tape found by the review was an ambulance service which kept a record of how many lesbians had been disciplined.

Former Conservative MP Rob Hayward, who led the review, told MailOnline the panel was asked to review red tape resulting from the PSED, which requires public bodies to show they have a due regard for equality issues, as part of the Government's Red Tape Challenge.

He said: 'What we found was that there was too many occasions where people went into red tape overdrive, either to protect themselves or to prove that they took equality seriously.

'But we found no evidence that this excessive paperwork achieved any better results than other organisations.

'We all, including myself, believe that equalities are very important - we need to ensure in society that people are not discriminated against, but you don't prove it by just having a mass of unnecessary paperwork.'

The PSED, introduced following a report on the inquiry into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, requires public bodies to consider 'all individuals when carrying out their day-to-day' work and tries to reduce discrimination.

Mr Hayward said while there was a 'general belief' it was working, his team 'had difficulties finding specific examples to prove it'. ...

Mr Hayward told MailOnline: 'Any unnecessary use of red tape not only has a cost in itself, but diverts resources from front line projects and services.'

Mr Hayward said the review also found large disparities in paperwork produced by public bodies, with Sandwell Council providing an 80 page analysis of the make-up of their workforce while Southampton Council managed to relay the information on one page.

Mr Hayward said there was no evidence to suggests there was any need for Sandwell to publish such information.

He said: 'In producing the stuff they are providing data that people may not want to be available to the public at large.'

He went on to say: 'There's no evidence Sandwell is a better employer than Southampton.'

The panel has recommended the PSED, as a whole, be reviewed in three years' time, by which time it will have been operating for a total of five years.

In December last year it was reported councils planning to build a relief road asked their residents whether they were transsexual.

The taxpayer-funded survey asked, specifically, whether their birth gender was different to their current gender, in a move designed to promote equality.

Council chiefs said the research was intended to ensure their consultation on the building of the road reflected their duty towards equality and social inclusion.
[Site link]


Egalitarianism – prejudice
Even Trevor Phillips agrees: the intolerant 'equality' lobby is choking on its own orthodoxy
Cristina Odone
Telegraph blog, 20 May 2013

Trevor Phillips, former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is one of the great and good. He is also bright, black and appealingly honest. The fact that he is black matters: it frees Phillips to say things – about the drawbacks of multiculturalism, for instance – which a white, middle-aged man in his position would be crucified for voicing.

Phillips may even get away with his blasphemous attack on the equality lobby: he wrote yesterday that the movement for equality was "in danger of choking on its own orthodoxy".

I couldn't help but cheer. The intolerance of the campaigners for tolerance is one of those sad ironies that poison public life. ... ...

So should the Commission, now chaired by Baroness O'Neill, continue to exist? ...

... But let's make sure that the anti-discrimination campaigners fight for all victims of discrimination equally – and not just for those whose views they share.
[Site link]


Egalitarianism – racism, prejudice, equality
Trevor Phillips: equality campaigners fixated with 'name-calling and denunciation'
Victoria Ward
Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2013

Trevor Phillips, the former head of the equalities watchdog, has claimed that the approach to tackling diversity has veered off-course and become too fixated with "raucous name-calling and denunciation".

He said campaigners for change had failed to keep up with the times and that the movement was "in danger of choking on its own orthodoxy".

Mr Phillips admitted that he too had made mistake during his tenure at the helm of the Equality and Human Rights Commission by failing to take the urgent action that was needed on issues such as the adoption of ethnic minority children and the segregation of British communities. ...

"Nine months after leaving office I can see that in some respects many of us who campaigned for change haven't ourselves kept up with the times," he wrote in The Sunday Times.

"We are suspicious of evidence that questions or complicates a simple division of the world into good guys and bad guys. We punish heretics by calling them bigots and racists, and we persecute the uninitiated.

"Instead of threatening fire and brimstone, we need evidence, carefully gathered, weighed and analysed. Instead of raucous name-calling and denunciation we need collegiate consideration of people's real behaviour and motivation."

Mr Phillips said that when a specific issue was being discussed, the focus was often misplaced. ...

Mr Phillips admitted that in the wake of the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié in Haringey, north London, he had "bowed to pressure" from race equality groups and failed to prioritise the fate of ethnic minority children waiting for adoptive parents of the right racial mix, on the grounds that it might demonise black parents.

"I am certain that had I acted sooner, many hundreds more children would be in loving families today," he said.

He also said that too little action had been taken on trying to prevent the social division caused by increasingly segregated communities and schools.
[Site link]


Egalitarianism – Equality Act, equality legislation
This Equality obsession is mad, bad and very dangerous
Charles Moore
Daily Telegraph, 2 February 2013

I put a capital e on Equality because, more than we recognise, it has become the public doctrine of our time. If you believe in big-E Equality, you are not merely saying, as most would, that people should try to make life fairer for all. You are making Equality the all-conquering principle of social organisation and human life. It is like a religion but, unlike actual religions in the West today, it is backed by the full force of law. Since 2009, when Labour's Equality Act consolidated all previous bits of legislation, there have been seven strands of Equality, the creed's equivalent of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. They are: race, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender reassignment and religion/belief itself. In this seven, the last is the odd one out: I'll come back to it. Through these seven channels, the grace of Equality must be poured.

When David Cameron set out on his quest for gay marriage (and exactly when he did is a matter of some interest, since he denied any plans for gay marriage three days before the last general election), he probably saw this as a simple matter of being nicer to homosexuals and making the Tories seem less unpleasant. But now that the Government has moved to actual law, and will debate the Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, he is well and truly trapped by Equality.

In recent months, officials drafting the Bill have struggled to fulfil Equality's aim of making same-sex marriage identical to marriage as the world has known it for most of human history. They have come across an insuperable barrier. ... ...

This is the real point about Equality. Because it is now considered both a sacred and a legal principle, it is heaven on earth for lawyers, if for no one else. ... ...

If you stand back to look at how Equality works, you notice three things.

One is that it undermines freedom. It specialises in attacking ways of living which people have developed for themselves, often using the law and even the police to do so.

The second is that it undermines institutions. The bulwarks of a free society are not atomised individuals, but businesses, families, schools, clubs, churches, charities, sports teams – the Big Society we seem recently to have stopped hearing about. Equality is the government's instrument for nationalising them.

The third is that Equality makes everyone (except lawyers and other activists) very unhappy. No one knows where she or he (you see!) stands, what law he might inadvertently be breaking, what "inappropriate" remark he might have made. And those who invoke Equality to advance their collective cause, far from being pleased by what they have won, are in a semi-permanent state of rage about any remaining imperfection. They are trained to identify grievance, so naturally they are aggrieved.

There is one additional point. The doctrine of Equality is mad. Like extreme post-Reformation Protestantism, it perverts a good inclination and turns it into a lunatic theocracy. Some of the Anabaptists who swept through Germany in the 16th century enforced Christ's teaching that one must be as little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by running about naked and babbling like babies. It is surprising that their modern equivalents will be found on the Conservative front bench next week.
[Site link]



Emigration – diaspora, national identity, Korea
Korea 'lucky' to have strong, large diaspora to draw upon [part 1]
Nam Jeong-Ho and Sarah Kim
Korea JoongAng Daily, 14 August 2013
[Interview with Harris Mylonas]

This year marks 110 years since the first batch of Koreans immigrated overseas. These immigrants first left Korea to escape poverty (and later colonization by Japan), and to pursue dreams and education. Some 7.26 million Koreans - about 10 percent of the Korean Peninsula's entire current population - have since immigrated to more than 160 countries around the world. And these immigrant Koreans - whether in the United States, China, Russia, or elsewhere - do not forget their Korean roots, perhaps a sign of strong national identity. Yet a fair number of these overseas Koreans who have witnessed Korea's development are also starting to return to their home country.

Whether the large overseas population is a blessing or a burden to the country is debated, but Greece-born Harris Mylonas, a political science and international affairs professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., described Korea as "lucky" for its diaspora.

Mylonas, who recently published "The Politics of Nation-Building: Making Co-Nationals, Refugees, and Minorities," discussed diaspora policy at a forum hosted by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies last week.

"My family has been tormented and troubled by identity and nation-building," he told the JoongAngIlbo on Aug. 8, describing how his interest in diaspora policy stems from a background in which his grandfather was a Turkish-Greek and grandmother was a Greek who was exiled from Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. ...

Q. What is diaspora policy?

A. I would distinguish the policies of the Republic of Korea between the policies they have toward the people abroad and the policies for people who want to come here. The first distinction is that policies for the Koreans abroad involve primarily educational and cultural policies that aim at what I call diaspora-building: they are trying to help communities retain their "Korean-ness" or try to develop it. These policies involve both the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, and organizations such as the Korea Foundation that are building or supporting financially regular and irregular schools... At this moment, the Republic of Korea has founded about 1,925 schools all over the world and 900 of these are irregular schools. These are what I call diaspora-building policies.

Beyond diaspora-building policies, another example would be the voting rights granted to Koreans abroad. These are other ways to cultivate links with your diaspora. Your diaspora involves about 7.2 million people, and of those, 2.8 million are eligible to vote, which means that they are still Korean citizens even though they live abroad, permanently or semi-permanently.
[Site link]


Emigration – diaspora, national identity, Korea
Korea 'lucky' to have strong, large diaspora to draw upon [part 2]
Nam Jeong-Ho and Sarah Kim
Korea JoongAng Daily, 14 August 2013
[Interview with Harris Mylonas]

What is the difference from Korea's overseas Korean policy with that of other countries?

Usually the general reason why countries develop a diaspora policy has to do with having a very clear definition of being Korean, or Greek - if they don't have a clear and uncontested definition of their nation, it is very difficult to have a diaspora policy because it is very hard to define what the diaspora would be. Most states that do not have a clear definition of the nation consider as diaspora their citizens abroad. In the Korean context, if we followed the definition of diaspora the United States is using, then Korea would only have 2.8 million people who have Korean citizenship or nationality abroad. But because Korea is ethnically defined as a nation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims it has 7.2 million. ...

Why do we have to care about diaspora policy?

... That security anxiety makes the South Korean government and its people be willing to cultivate as many links abroad with their co-ethnics, also in hope of expecting back some support in terms of foreign policy in terms of offering their services as "ambassadors" abroad for the countries. So, for example, many Korean-Americans have consistently been trying to influence the U.S. policy on these issues. Similarly, somebody can say that Koreans in Japan have been pretty influential in Japan. ...

What are the benefits of a returning diaspora, such as Korean-Chinese? ...

In your case, you're lucky that you have the fortune to have people of your own kind that might fit a little easier and more likely to speak your own language. In that sense, you can avoid even bigger problems. Imagine if you decided to go with maximizing efficiency and you want to import the most cheap labor. Maybe the Korean-Chinese are not the cheapest and you decide to bring in Bangladeshis or the Chinese, and you have a million Chinese in 10 years. And they don't want to go, they stay illegally and become a minority of sorts. And say you have some security troubles with North Korea or China itself. And one of those countries says if you do anything, we will use these people against you, that tomorrow, you will have a million people that you can't control that will undermine national security. That has happened in many parts of the world. ...

What are some policies from other countries that Korea might reference?

Israel is not only a good case to study because it has a very elaborate diaspora policy but it is a state created by a diaspora... ...

Similarly in Greece, we had very elaborate programs where we would teach Greek to the people who wanted to come back from the former Soviet Union, we would give them automatic citizenship, we would give them housing, we would give them opportunities to enter universities much easier even than the native Greek citizens, a form of affirmative action, we would have special military obligation clauses and so forth.
[Site link]


Emigration – Romania
How 1.5 MILLION Romanians have left their homeland in a decade as immigrants head west in droves
Jaymi Mccann and Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 5 July 2013

The population of Romania has shrunk by nearly eight per cent in a decade, largely thanks to emigration.

Figures from the country's latest census showed yesterday that numbers have fallen by 1.5 million over the last ten years.

The key reason is that many younger Romanians have departed to work in countries including Spain and Italy, leaving behind an ageing population and falling birthrates. ...

More than 100,000 Romanians and Bulgarians have already come to live in this country, but under EU freedom of labour rules their citizens will be able to take British jobs without restrictions from January.

The figures released in Bucharest yesterday showed that the Romanian population was just over 20 million in 2011. This was 1.55 million fewer than in the 2001 census.

In 1989, when Romania emerged from the Ceausescu communist dictatorship, the population was 23 million.
[Site link]


Emigration – Armenia
Direction Change: Armenian emigration may be turning from Russia to EU zone
Naira Hayrumyan
Armenia Now, 24 May 2013

While Armenia is trying to establish ties with the European Union, Russia is gradually tightening its immigration laws, and it is quite possible that very soon emigrational outflows from Armenia will be changing their direction.

Russia has adopted a law according to which migrants from former Soviet countries beginning on January 1, 2015 will be required to enter the country only with so-called 'foreign' passports (as opposed to internal passports used within their own countries). They will be met at stations by immigration officials and will have to get registrations at immigration centers. At present, Armenia and Russia have a visa-free regime.

The Russian government explains this decision by the high level of crime among immigrants from post-Soviet countries and the need to reduce the flow of migrants. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed immigration officials not to obstruct the entry of skilled professionals to the country.

In addition, Russia is going to pass a law, according to which young male migrants will have to serve in the Russian army, even if they already served in the armies of their countries. This law is certain to deter many young Armenians from going to Russia.

Meanwhile, Armenia intends to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, which implies simplification of the visa regime. One related act was already signed by Armenia and the EU in December, but it has not yet been ratified by the European Parliament. As European experts say, there is a risk of a sharp increase in the number of Armenian migrants after the enactment of the agreement. ...

Emigration is becoming a major problem for Armenia, although Armenian authorities say that people thus have found a good way to support their families. However, many who go abroad, particularly to the West, no more want to come back, which affects family ties and changes destinies of people.
[Site link]


Emigration – European Union
The British in Europe
Migration Watch UK, 24 April 2013

1. Claims that some two million British people are working in other EU states are simply wrong. The number of British workers in the other countries of the European Union, about 407,000, is less than one third of the 1.4 million workers from another EU country in the UK. The number of British residents in another EU country, about 930,000, is just over a third of the 2.5 million residents of the UK who come from another EU country. ...

4. The Annual Population Survey estimates that there are 2.5 million people living in the UK who are from another EU country. There are sizeable EU communities across the country most notably in London which is home to 770,000 people from another EU country.

British communities in Europe

5. The main British communities are in:

a. Spain – There are almost 370,000 British residents in Spain, of whom 62,000 are working. The remainder are economically inactive of whom 73,000 are over 65.

b. France – The data are patchy and possibly unreliable. Eurostat figures show 46,000 British workers in France. There is no data for the total number of British people living in France but there are 32,000 over 65. In 2006 the IPPR estimated that the total was 200,000 but some may have returned home since.

c. Germany – There 105,000 residents in Germany according to Eurostat, of whom an estimated 73,000 are workers.

d. Ireland – According to Eurostat, there were 217,000 British residents in Ireland of whom 106,000 are workers and 27,000 are over 65.
[Site link]


Emigration – World
One billion people crossed international borders in 2012, 16 April 2013

In 2012, one billion people made an international trip, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. David Scowsill of the WTTC said 'this is an astounding milestone. There is an inexorable growth in the number of people who want to travel around the world'.

Most of these journeys will be for the purpose of leisure and tourism. ... ...

It is also clear that the numbers of migrants globally have increased enormously in recent years. The World Economic Forum and the United Nations believe that 3% of the world's population; around 210,000,000 people, are migrants.

But many more would like to leave their homeland for a new life. A recent Gallup poll found that 13% of the world's adult population – around 640,000,000 people would like to emigrate. 150,000,000 would like to go to the US alone.
[Site link]


Emigration – Kyrgyzstan
Labor migration. One-way ticket
Kaliya Duishebayeva, 12 April 2013

According to various sources, about 500-800 thousand migrants from Kyrgyzstan annually find employment abroad. The Ministry of Finance says the amount of money transfers, sent home by migrant workers, amounts to more than $2 billion yearly, or 30 percent of the gross domestic product of the country.

Most migrant workers consider labor migration as a temporary phenomenon and point that they have to go to work due to lack of funds and a steady job. In most cases, earned money is the only means of survival for their families in Kyrgyzstan. ... As representatives of the relevant service say, the migration is seasonal and is related to political events. But anyway, the number of our countrymen, seeking for work in other countries, is growing from year to year. ...

An average wage of migrant workers in Moscow is 10-15 thousand rubles. This is quite a large sum for Kyrgyzstan, but not for Moscow, where the rent of one-room apartment starts from 35,000 rubles. Accordingly, the Kyrgyz labor migrants are forced to live together with 10 or more people in the same room to save money.

In the Russian capital Kyrgyzstanis try to settle down as far as possible, obtain citizenship, which, of course, gives advantages in employment and more. But as of today, obtaining of the citizenship of the Russian Federation is a complicated procedure and takes over a year.

It is surprising that the most migrants, heading for Moscow, do not even speak Russian. They are forced to agree on any job and to urgently learn the language. Significant part of these migrants lives apart, in groups, where they can communicate in their native language. ... ...

According to the Migration Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz migrants take the first place in the number of abortions and abandoned children in Russia. Moscow orphanages have more than 230 children, whom our compatriots decided to get rid of. ...

There is another depressing statistics provided by the Prosecutor General's Office. At least 2,800 of our citizens are serving sentences outside the country at the time and 2,300 of them – in Russia. But only few people think about possible negative consequences of their step leaving the country in search of living. Perhaps, I will have luck, and the sad fate passes me by, they hope. So they continue to buy one-way tickets.
[Site link]


Emigration – world
More Than 100 Million Worldwide Dream of a Life in the U.S.
Jon Clifton
Gallup, 21 March 2013

About 13% of the world's adults – or about 630 million people – say they would like to leave their country and move somewhere else permanently. For roughly 138 million people, that somewhere else would be the U.S. – the No. 1 desired destination for potential migrants. The U.K., Canada, and France also rank among the top choices for potential migrants.

These findings are based on a rolling average of Gallup interviews with 501,366 adults in 154 countries between 2010 and 2012. ...

... Roughly 10 million or more adults would like to move to the U.S. permanently from China, Nigeria, and India.

However, other populous countries such as Iran and Pakistan do not have large groups of people who say that they would like to move to the U.S. permanently. Instead, Pakistanis most desire to relocate to Saudi Arabia and the U.K. and Iranians would prefer to move to Jordan or Lebanon. This is not surprising, as Iranians and Pakistanis have some of the lowest U.S. leadership approval ratings in the world.

The percentage of people in each country who would like to move to the U.S. permanently is perhaps more interesting. A staggering 37% of Liberians say that they would like to relocate to the U.S. permanently. One in four adults or more in Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti would also like to move to the U.S. permanently. Three countries with the highest percentages of people who would like to relocate to the U.S. permanently are in Africa, seven are in Central America and the Caribbean, with the remaining country, Cambodia, in Asia.

The U.S. remains the most popular destination in the world for potential migrants. This is likely because of economic opportunities in the country and the established networks of potential migrants.
[Site link]


Emigration – world
26 million migrants keen to call Aust home, 21 March 2013

Twenty six million people across the globe want to move to Australia, making it the seventh most desirable country among potential migrants, a poll says.

The Gallup poll released on Thursday of over 500,000 adults, ranks the US as the most popular destination for potential migrants, with 138 million people keen to make it their home.

The projected numbers are based on percentages of who would like to move.

In second place is the UK, which is said to be the preferred destination for 42 million migrants.

Canada came in third (37 million), followed by France.

Australia ranks seventh on the Gallup Inc list, with 26 million potential migrants eager to move Down Under.

Potential migrants were most likely to come from very populous countries including China, Nigeria and India, Gallup found.

It found one in four adults in Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic and Haiti want to migrant permanently to the US.

The results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with adults aged 15 and older in 154 countries from 2010 to 2012.
[Site link]


Emigration – employment
Two million quit Britain in 'talent drain'
James Kirkup
Daily Telegraph, 23 January 2013

Two million people of working age have left Britain over the last decade in a "drain of talent" that is damaging the economy and forcing employers to rely on immigrant workers, a senior Conservative has warned.

Nick de Bois, secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, said that Britain needs a "culture change" to stem the flow of talented emigrants by encouraging success.

Office for National Statistics figures obtained by Mr de Bois show that in the ten years to 2011, a total of 3,599,000 people permanently left the UK.

Contrary to the perception of the typical emigrants being older people retiring to a life in the sun, the figures show that 1,963,000 of those who left were aged between 25 and 44.

By contrast, only 125,000 people of retirement age emigrated. ...

"Lost in the debate is the enormous damage being done to our economy by migration from the UK," he said.

Ministers must do more to persuade high-achieving, highly-mobile workers that Britain remains the best place in the world to work and prosper, he said.

"Work needs to begin on keeping people here and not relying on importing others to fill the gap," he said.
[Site link]



A third of Big Issue vendors are now from eastern Europe, magazine founder reveals
Suzannah Hills
Mail on Sunday, 22 December 2013

One in three homeless Big Issue sellers are now from eastern Europe, the founder has revealed.

John Bird, himself a former offender who lived on the streets, set up the publication in 1991 to help homeless people earn some money from selling the magazine.

But Mr Bird has revealed that less and less British people are now living rough and a third of vendors are now migrants from poorer European countries.

Of those, he said the majority are from Roma communities who are escaping lives of 'feral poverty' in their own countries.

But Mr Bird added that the Big Issue is still vital for helping the homeless make an income - wherever they may be from. ...

Mr Bird also said he raised concerns when the Labour government first decided to open up freedom of movement in the UK to residents of other EU countries.

'I said, "Don't open the sluice gates to the ferally poor – go to their countries and help them earn their way into an economy which is more equal". But I was accused of being a fascist.'
[Site link]


Employment – wages
Immigration minister: pay higher wages to recruit British and EU workers
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 11 December 2013

The immigration minister, Mark Harper, has hit back at employers who say they have to recruit foreign workers from outside Europe to fill low-paid jobs by telling them they should offer better wages.

Harper said that Lance Batchelor, the chief executive of Domino's Pizza, should reflect on the salaries he was offering if he could not fill 1,000 vacancies without recruiting unskilled staff from outside Europe.

The immigration minister told the Commons home affairs select committee: "He should probably pay his staff a little more and he might find them easier to recruit. It's a market."

Harper said that the government would not change the law to make it easier to recruit unskilled labour from outside Europe "just so he can keep his wages low".

Batchelor complained earlier this week that his pizza takeaway and delivery chain was struggling to get enough employees, especially in London and the south-east. ...

Harper said Romanians and Bulgarians had been able to live in Britain since 2007: "All we are talking about is that they no longer need to seek the permission of the Home Office before they come here to work." ...

The Conservative immigration minister firmly slapped down the demand by more than 60 Tory backbenchers to extend the current restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians beyond their 1 January expiry date. ...

Harper said an attempt to extend the seven-year transitional controls beyond their expiry date would be legally ineffective. It would require either an amendment to the European Union Act or changes to the Romanian and Bulgarian accession treaties, which would need the unanimous backing of all EU states, including Romania and Bulgaria.

The minister claimed, however, that there was growing support for Britain's campaign to limit the abuse of the principle of free movement of labour within the EU, with 11 countries now backing Britain on the issue. The home secretary, Theresa May, has been pressing EU justice and home affairs ministers for the power to prevent benefit fraudsters and others who abuse freedom of movement returning to Britain once they have been excluded from the UK. ...

The minister refused to comment on reports that Malta was now prepared to sell its passports, which give access to all EU countries to live and work, to any non-EU citizen willing to pay 650,000 euros (£540,000). He said that it was not for other EU member states or the European commission to interfere with national decisions on citizenship.
[Site link]


Employment – EU
EU migrant benefits crackdown
ITV, 27 November 2013

Economically inactive migrants from the European Union make up a total of between 1% and 1.2% of the total UK population, according to the EU Commission.

Britain has one of the lowest EU migrant jobless rate in the EU.

The countries with the highest number of jobless EU migrants are as follows:

Belgium, where inactive economic migrants make up 3% of the population.

Cyprus, where they number 4.1%.

In Ireland a total of 3% of the population are migrants from other EU countries who are out of work.

In Luxembourg this number jumps to 13.9%.
[Site link]


British jobs for British workers! Seven in ten go to those born here: Watershed moment as Brits are finally winning new jobs race
Becky Barrow
Daily Mail, 14 November 2013

Around seven in ten jobs created in Britain over the last year went to people who were born in this country, it emerged yesterday.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, represent a watershed moment following a long period during which foreigners regularly beat Britons in the employment race.

Of the 376,000 jobs created over the last year, the ONS said 256,000 – 68 per cent – went to workers who had been born in this country.

Only 112,000 of the jobs went to people born outside this country, with the 376,000 total also including those who refuse to say where they were born.

If the figures are calculated according to nationality, rather than country of birth, more than 90 per cent of the new jobs went to British people.

In 2011, before government initiatives had taken effect, ONS figures painted a very different picture. The number of British-born workers with a job fell by 311,000 in a year, while the number of foreign-born workers jumped by 181,000 over the same period.
[Site link]


Employment – foreign health staff
Britain's reliance on foreign health staff blamed for crisis in poor countries
Charlie Cooper and Sophie Robehmed
The Independent, 4 November 2013

Britain has been guilty of fuelling a "brain drain" of health workers from some of the world's poorest countries that threatens to reverse gains in global disease control, a leading charity has warned.

Rich countries collectively save billions of pounds every year by taking on doctors, nurses and midwives who were trained overseas, said a report by Health Poverty Action (HPA).

One of the main destinations has been the UK. About a third of doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) were trained abroad, and more than a quarter were trained outside Europe. The charity said that in some cases the impact of migration on health workers' home countries was so great that it cancelled out the benefits gained from international aid from wealthier nations.

Africa is hardest hit, with only 3 per cent of the world's health workforce practising on a continent that carries almost a quarter of the world's total disease burden, the charity said. ...

The World Health Organisation has estimated there is an international shortage of around four million healthcare workers.

Demand for staff, coupled with higher wages and better quality of life, have been major pull factors attracting healthcare workers to the UK from countries such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana for decades. ...

It costs just under £270,000 to train someone to junior doctor level. The cost of training the more than 60,000 international medical graduates on the GMC register to junior doctor level would be about £17bn. Nearly 85,000 nurses and midwives working in the UK were trained overseas – around one in every seven. ...

While healthcare professionals are flocking here, many home-trained GPs are going in the opposite direction. Increased workloads and poorer wages are thought to be to blame, with most GPs leaving for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
[Site link]


Employment – foreign-born workers
One-in-five workers in key industries hired from overseas
Graeme Paton
Daily Telegraph, 4 November 2013

Migrants are filling a fifth of jobs in key industries because of a shortage of highly skilled British graduates, according to a Government-backed report.

Companies are forced to rely on foreign-born workers in a range of "strategically important" areas as children continue to shun maths and science subjects at school.

In all, migrants account for 20 per cent of workers in fields such as oil and gas extraction, aerospace manufacturing and computer, electronic and optical engineering.

The report warns that half of the 119 occupations featured on the Government's "shortage occupation list" – which gives firms special dispensation to employ overseas staff – require engineering skills.

Another 20 per cent involve scientific and technical roles.

The shortage is so acute that universities are also filling courses with overseas applicants, with a third of places in engineering and technology subjects taken by non-British students, the report states.

The review, published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills today, calls for a drastic action to meet the "substantial demand" for engineers.
[Site link]


Employment – engineers
'Don't rely on migrants to fill engineering gap', review says
Tereza Pultarova
Engineering and Technology Magazine, 4 November 2013

UK's dependence on importing engineers from abroad is not sustainable, a government-commissioned review has said, stressing the importance of inspiring young Britons to take up engineering as a career.

The review, led by Professor John Perkins, the chief scientific adviser to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), concluded that while there is "substantial demand" for engineers in the UK economy, there is also substantial evidence of shortages in specific areas of the industry – including IT, oil and gas extraction, electronic and optical engineering.

"Whilst this Review welcomes the fact that the Government allows employers to import engineering skills in key shortage areas, this should not be our long-term solution," the review says.

"We should support the UK's young people by preparing them to compete for highly-paid skilled engineering jobs, improving their career prospects and reducing the need to import engineering skills." ...

In the future, the review expects, changes in the economy will require even more professionals to work in the engineering sector – something the current strategy of importing skilled workers from abroad will not be able to address.
[Site link]


Employment – migrants' rights
Immigration Roundup: Rights Versus Numbers?
Laura D. Francis
Bloomberg BNA, 29 October 2013

In "The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labor Migration," Martin Ruhs argues that there is a correlation between a country's willingness to admit greater numbers of guestworkers and its reluctance to grant them rights.

The Oxford University professor opined during a recent Economic Policy Institute event that restricting at least certain rights of guestworkers and focusing on "core rights" could lead to more countries being willing to admit more guestworkers. Ruhs is a researcher for the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society and a member of the U.K. Migration Advisory Committee. As it is, he said, very few nations have ratified the expansive 1990 United Nations convention on migrant workers' rights.

Ruhs said those core rights should include labor and employment rights, because omitting them would undercut the employment of native-born workers. However, he said, although guestworkers shouldn't be tied to a single employer, they shouldn't be able to move into different fields or sectors of the economy. If guestworkers are hired to fill labor shortages in a particular sector, the entire purpose of hiring them would be lost if they could move out of that sector, he said.

Linsay Lowell, director of policy studies for the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, responded that an adoption of "core rights" also should include an adoption of "core enforcement standards" such as employment eligibility verification, compliance with visa regulations and enforcement of labor laws. Even when guestworkers have rights, mandates aren't always enforced, he said, and enlarging a guestworker program means it will be harder to manage.

Lowell also pointed out that Ruhs only found a correlation between higher guestworker numbers and lower levels of guestworker rights, but not that one causes the other. Ruhs admitted these limitations, but said enforcement is hard to measure because it often involves subjective judgments about whether rights are being enforced properly.

Ruhs also said the choice between admitting greater numbers of guestworkers with fewer rights versus fewer guestworkers with full rights is an ethical one that has "no one right answer."
[Site link]


Theresa May: Migrants have forced Britons out of workplace
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 16 October 2013

Migrants have forced tens of thousands of Britons out of the workplace, the Home Secretary has said.

Theresa May cited a report from the migration advisory committee which found that for every 100 migrants who came to the UK, 23 Britons missed out on jobs. ...

Mrs May said that the government is determined to reduce the levels of uncontrolled immigration.

She said: "When I came into the Home Office I was told that the previous government's belief had been that there was no displacement of UK residents looking for jobs when immigrants came in to take jobs in the UK. I said I didn't believe that.

"I asked the migration advisory committee to look at it. And they said indeed there was a displacement ... I think the figure was for every 100 migrants who come into the UK, 23 people living in the UK will not be getting jobs."
[Site link]


Employment – hospital nurses
Number of foreign nurses coming to UK doubled in three years as NHS poaches workers from abroad
Laura Donnelly
Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2013

The number of foreign nurses coming to Britain to work has doubled in three years as scores of NHS hospitals embark on global trawls to poach workers from abroad, new figures show.

Patients' groups expressed fears that safety is being compromised, because the vast majority of the workers are able to come to this country without checks on their language skills or competence.

The figures show that more than one third of NHS trusts hunted overseas to recruit nurses in the last year, with even more drawing up plans to do so now.

Nursing leaders said the health service was wasting a fortune raiding staff from overseas, to plug a staffing crisis created by "boom and bust" planning, with the loss of 5,000 NHS nurses since 2010.

The total number of nurses who registered to work in Britain after receiving their training abroad rose from 2,306 in 2009 to 4,521 last year, official figures show.

Under EU rules on freedom of labour, three-quarters of the foreign staff were able to register to work in this country without any checks on their language or competence.

Regulators are not allowed to set tests, and research has found most hospitals do not carry out checks, despite Department of Health (DoH) advice that they should.

While many NHS trusts targeted countries in Europe in the last 12 months, several travelled thousands of miles to the Philippines, Australia, the US and India in search of staff.

Of 105 NHS trusts that responded to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Nursing Times magazine, 40 had actively recruited nurses from overseas in the last 12 months, while 41 said they now planned to do so. ...

Meanwhile, the number of training places has been reduced, with 2,500 fewer places this year compared with three years ago. ...

Dr Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing General Secretary, said the vast sums being spent recruiting nurses from abroad were symptomatic of "short term, boom and bust workforce planning which is endemic in the NHS."

He said: "It is frankly perplexing that on the one hand nursing posts are being cut and training places being reduced, while on the other desperate managers are raiding overseas workforces." ...

A Government report recently warned that on current trends there could be a shortage of almost 50,000 nurses within three years.
[Site link]


Employment – MP, Labour Party
Curb Eastern Europeans' rights to work, says MP
Daily Telegraph, 24 September 2013
[Labour Party conference]

Britain should restrict the rights of European migrants to work and claim benefits, a Labour MP has said.

Immigrants from eastern Europe are undercutting local workers and driving down wages, John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, told conference delegates.

"The call for British jobs for British workers actually means the right for those born and brought up here to have the first right to take the work that is available," Mr Mann said.
[Newspaper link]


Employment – politics, Labour Party
Ed's immigration pledge: A Brit job for each foreign worker hired
Sunday Mirror, 22 September 2013

Ed Miliband will force big firms to train a British apprentice for each worker they hire from outside the European Union.

The Labour leader's tough new immigration stance for all firms with 50 or more staff is coupled with plans to up the minimum wage.

Mr Miliband told the Sunday Mirror it is aimed at companies who hire an estimated 40,000 workers from outside the EU each year as a "quick fix" instead of training jobless Brits.

He said: "Any firm that wants to bring in a foreign worker from outside the EU will also have to train up someone who is a local worker."

The move could create up to 125,000 apprenticeships over five years. It is among measures to boost skills, combat rogue employers and end the abuse of "zero-hours" contracts.
[Site link]


Employment – economy, productivity
Mass immigration has made Britain a less competitive economy
Jeremy Warner
Daily Telegraph, 3 September 2013

Yet none of these things adequately explains Britain's dismal long-term productivity performance.

In the search for answers, I want to highlight two other aspects of the problem – the negative impact of mass immigration on productivity and the failure to address simple supply side deficiencies in planning, education, infrastructure, public sector efficiency, the tax system and a perennially weak export performance.

On the whole, business leaders tend to support an open door immigration policy, which helps address skills shortages in key industries. But, more particularly, it also puts downward pressure on wage costs. The effect is similar to having permanently high levels of unemployment, since it creates an inexhaustible supply of cheap labour.

This may or may not be good for corporate profits but it is certainly not good either for productivity or for living standards among low and middle income earners. By making labour cheap, it removes a powerful incentive to productivity gain.

To see why this is the case, look at what's happened since the crisis began six years ago. During this period, more than 1m private sector jobs have been created, a remarkable achievement given the collapse in output. This has helped keep unemployment much lower than it would otherwise be, which is plainly to be applauded, but it has come at the expense of real incomes.

Much of the job creation has been in low-income or part-time employment. Real incomes have experienced their worst squeeze since the 1920s. Yet this is not just a recent phenomenon. The squeeze on real incomes, particularly at the lower end of the scale, pre-dates the crisis.

Foreign competition, both in the form of immigration and imported goods and services, has been a big constraint on wage growth. This, in turn, has limited the incentive for efficiency gain. Cheap labour has become a substitute for investment in plant, machinery, training and research and development.

When the last administration boasted of the umpteenth successive quarter of successive growth, it neglected to say that this was largely the result of population growth. Income per head was becoming progressively becalmed.

Britain is an open economy that certainly needs to be in the market for top international talent. Yet high levels of low-end immigration have been, at best, a zero sum game and, by holding back necessary investment in the future, possibly quite a negative economic influence.
[Site link]


Employment – competition for jobs
One in three blames migrants for trouble finding a good job
Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 2 September 2013

More than a third of Britons say they or a family member have found it harder to secure work or a good salary because of increased competition from migrant workers.

According to a survey by Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative Party donor, 36 per cent of people said that they or someone in their family had struggled to find work or believed they were being paid less because of foreign workers.

Of those polled, 24 per cent said that they or their family had been denied access to housing or other public services because immigrants seemed to have been given priority.

The study found that 60 per cent of people felt immigration had more disadvantages than advantages for Britain. Just one in six polled said that they believed immigration had benefited the country.
[Site link]


Employment – health services
Fears over patient safety if 'cut-price' doctors hired from India
Laura Donnelly
Daily Telegraph, 24 August 2013

Patient safety may be jeopardised under a new NHS deal to bring cut-price doctors to UK from India, health campaigners have warned.

Up to 20 NHS trusts are in talks with Indian healthcare providers about business plans which could lead to cheaper surgeons being brought here to carry out operations.

Patricia Hewitt, the former health secretary who is now chairman of the UK India Business Council, said the plans could save NHS trusts money and help bridge a predicted £30bn funding gap.

But patients' groups expressed fears about the use of cheap labour from India to carry out procedures on British patients.

The NHS has relied heavily on doctors who have come from overseas countries, but there have been repeated concerns about the quality of some of the medical staff, and about difficulties with communication among those who do not speak English as their first language.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "There are really serious concerns about safety here; the NHS should learn the lessons of the past, because we have frequently seen incidents where patients have been put at risk from doctors who come here from overseas, and aren't sufficiently trained in the ways of the NHS. Quality of care should never be compromised for financial gain."

In December an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph found that three quarters of doctors who were struck off the UK medical register last year had come here from abroad. ...

Indian providers are also seeking to take on more outsourced work from the UK, such as diagnosing illness, by examining scans.

Ms Hewit said the British healthcare system was well respected in India, paving the way for lucrative contracts to be agreed between the countries.

She said between 10 and 20 NHS trusts were in talks with healthcare providers in India already and she expected up to 12 to have signed agreements by 2015. ...

Roger Goss, from Patient Concern, said: "I would wonder how the NHS could think it is ethical to take medical staff from an undeveloped country, which has some desperate shortages of healthcare".
[Site link]


Employment – public opinion
'Don't give our jobs to migrants when 1m young are on the dole'
Tammy Hughes
Daily Express, 19 August 2013

Britons believe the Government should ban immigrants from taking jobs while a million UK youngsters are unemployed, reveals a poll.

Three-quarters of those questioned said that it was wrong for the country to recruit from overseas while so many young people are already struggling to earn a living.

Two-thirds think firms should give UK citizens priority over other candidates from elsewhere in Europe – even if this means Britain leaving the European Union.

Attitudes towards immigration policy have shifted dramatically since 2009 when almost six in 10 people agreed that all citizens of other EU countries should have the right to live and work in Britain.

The survey shows that today the same proportion believes the opposite – indicating an increase in Euroscepticism which has also been highlighted by a surge in support for the UK Independence Party. ...

Dutch deputy prime minister Lodeqijk Asscher has warned against the backlash of free-moving workers within the EU.

He said: "We need to watch out. In some places, the dykes are in danger of bursting. Most of us benefit from the free movement of workers within the EU. We do not want to see this pillar damaged through dwindling popular support.

"That is why we must think harder about how to make it work in the interests of all our citizens, not just well-educated professionals."

The ComRes survey also showed that three-quarters of Britons believe that Mr Miliband was right to admit that the last Labour government made significant mistakes on immigration.
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
So much migration puts Europe's dykes in danger of bursting
David Goodhart and Lodewijk Asscher
The Independent on Sunday, 18 August 2013
[David Goodhart is director of Demos. Lodewijk Asscher is Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Social Affairs and Employment Minister; he represents the Labour Party in coalition]

In the Netherlands, an "orange alert" is issued when the country's rivers rise to alarming levels. The time has come to issue another kind of orange alert – one that warns about some of the negative consequences of the free movement of workers within the European Union. We need to watch out: in some places the dykes are in danger of bursting.

Most of us benefit from the free movement of workers within the EU. It is important to our economies, especially in professional occupations where one can see the outline of a European labour market emerging, and the principle is rightly seen as part of the European ideal. We do not want to see this pillar damaged through dwindling popular support. That is why we, especially on the European centre-left, must think harder about how to make it work in the interests of all our citizens, not just well educated professionals.

The right to live and work in other EU countries is one of the founding ideas in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. But until the mid-2000s it was rarely taken advantage of; in the year 2000 only about 0.1 per cent of EU citizens moved to another EU country.

That changed in 2004 when the UK, Sweden and Ireland waived the seven-year transitional period and allowed immediate access to their labour markets for the new member states in central and eastern Europe. The effect, especially in the UK, was rather dramatic with about 1.5m people arriving in the UK from those countries in the following six years. Since 2011, all the other EU states have opened up too, with further significant flows from central and eastern Europe into countries including Germany and the Netherlands.

In retrospect, not enough thought was given to the scale of the flows. Up until the mid-2000s very few people took advantage of free movement because the economic levels of different EU countries were similar. Yet with the accession of the central and eastern European countries in the mid-2000s, a bloc of countries joined the EU (combined population around 80m) with income per head of only around a quarter of the richer EU states.

This has created a big incentive to move, at least temporarily, especially for those in lower skill jobs. And this has had a disruptive effect on some of our poorer and less well educated citizens in the richer EU states like the UK and the Netherlands. They are competing against people with much lower wage expectations. ...

We need a new settlement which is fair both to the people of the sending countries and the receiving ones. And we need to stamp out abuse. ... ...

Even when the system is not being overtly abused there is some displacement and competition that is considered unfair, especially when unemployment is high. ...

It is wrong to dismiss the complaints of those affected as the usual gripes about "foreigners". Even if such complaints are often exaggerated, we must nevertheless take them seriously; if we don't, they will fuel xenophobia.
[Site link]


Employment – medicine, doctors
The NHS needs more British doctors, senior surgeon warns
Hayley Dixon
Daily Telegraph, 15 August 2013

Patients are being put at risk as 40 per cent of doctors taken on by the NHS each year are foreign, a senior surgeon has warned.

Calling for more British doctors to be employed Professor J Meirion Thomas pointed out that professionals drafted in from abroad often have language difficulties, are not as well trained, and know little of our culture. ...

But an "urgent problem" the Health Secretary needs to address is that "we need more British doctors", Professor Thomas said.

"Most readers will be surprised to learn that every year, we import 40 per cent of our doctors because of insufficient training places in British medical schools," he wrote in the Spectator.

"Most applicants to UK medical schools are rejected despite having the required A-level grades. We encourage young people to become doctors, then we slap them back for want of places."

The GMC registers 13,000 doctors a year, 6,000 or whom come from foreign countries and start work with "little or no knowledge and experience of British culture or of our health service – and this in the most people-centric occupation of all. It really does matter," he said.
[Site link]


Employment – politics
Labour accuses Tesco and Next of hiring foreign staff on the cheap
Patrick Hennessy
Sunday Telegraph, 11 August 2013

Labour will ignite a fresh row over immigration this week by naming leading companies who they claim "seem to deliberately exclude British people" from jobs.

Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, will single out Tesco and Next in a keynote speech on Monday in which he plans to attack "unscrupulous employers whose only interest seems to be finding labour as cheaply as possible".

He will accuse companies of operating policies which "seem to deliberately exclude British people". In extracts of the speech seen in advance by The Sunday Telegraph Mr Bryant accuses both Tesco and Next of hiring foreign workers in Britain on cheaper rates than British staff.

The speech comes as Labour looks to make a major intervention in the current immigration row which has seen Conservative ministers criticised by the opposition after the Home Office sent out vans carrying posters warning illegal migrants to "go home or face arrest".

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, has been accused of letting his party defend illegal immigrants in the wake of the row. ...

On Monday Mr Bryant plans to turn the tables by attacking both Theresa May, the Home Secretary, over "gimmicks" and large British companies for "exploiting migrant workers" and making it impossible for "settled workers in Britain" to compete.

Mr Bryant is expected to use his speech to claim: "The biggest complaint I have heard, from migrants and settled communities alike, is about the negative effects migration can have on the UK labour market. And I agree.

"It is unfair that unscrupulous employers whose only interest seems to be finding labour as cheaply as possible, will recruit workers in large numbers in low wage countries in the EU, bring them to the UK, charge the costs of their travel and their substandard accommodation against their wages and still not even meet the national minimum wage.

"That is unfair. It exploits migrant workers and it makes it impossible for settled workers with mortgages and a family to support at British prices to compete." ...

Labour would double the fines on firms that breach minimum wage rules or give work to illegal immigrants, the shadow minister will confirm.
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
UK jobs being advertised across the EU at taxpayers' expense, it emerges
Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2013

More than 800,000 UK jobs are being offered to workers across the European Union, it has been disclosed.

Under an EU scheme partly funded by British taxpayers, all positions advertised in UK jobcentres also have to be offered to workers in European member states.

UK firms are given as much as £1,000 as a bonus for taking on the foreign workers.

The disclosure undermined comments made by Matthew Hancock, the business and skills minister, who called on UK bosses to stop taking the "easy option" of filling jobs with foreigners when they could train local workers instead.

Just hours after Mr Hancock's intervention it emerged that that a website called EURES, which was set up by the European Commission, is advertising 808,659 UK jobs to people on the continent.

The EU scheme offers foreigners hundreds of pounds of funding to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons.

Of the 1,450,490 jobs being advertised on the website, 808,659 were posts in the UK – more that the total number of positions in all the other member states put together.

Germany is only advertising 267,517 jobs – a third of the UK's total. Poland is advertising just 120 jobs on the site. ...

The site also gives foreign applicants advice about how to claim benefits in the UK. ...

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that under the European Treaty, all EU countries are "obliged to share their job vacancies".
[Site link]


It's firms' duty to employ Britons, says minister: Taking on migrant workers is 'easy option'
James Chapman
Daily Mail, 26 July 2013

Firms have a duty to hire Britons rather than immigrants, a minister declared last night.

Matthew Hancock urged bosses to avoid the 'easy option' of filling jobs with foreign workers when they could train local recruits instead.

Courting controversy, the Tory business and education minister insisted that taking on British employees was better both for firms and the wider economy.

The Coalition's immigration clampdown means foreigners now take 55 per cent of vacancies compared with 74 per cent under Labour when Gordon Brown pledged 'British jobs for British workers'.

But Mr Hancock believes firms can bring the figure even lower.

'As vacancies rise, and unemployment falls further, it is the duty of companies, especially big business, to take on local young people – not immediately take the easy option of recruiting from abroad,' he said. ...

Mr Hancock, who is responsible for skills and has posts in both the business and education ministries, said the Government would launch a traineeship scheme next month to improve English and maths skills.

He added: 'We need employers to play their part because experience of a job is vital for getting a job.

'We are making it as easy as possible for employers to play their part so they have no excuse for not taking on and training up young unemployed people.

'Many companies do this already – McDonald's has a strong apprenticeship scheme, as do many manufacturers like JLR and BAe. Companies like HSBC, Brompton bicycles and Mercedes are backing the new traineeships.

'But only 7 per cent of companies currently have an apprentice.

'It would be wrong for companies without an apprenticeship scheme to recruit from overseas without looking at what they can do to take on local people.'
[Site link]


Employment – cost of care for elderly
Britain needs 7 million MORE immigrants over 50 years to 'meet the cost of caring for the elderly'
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 18 July 2013

Britain will need millions more immigrants to cope with an ageing population, the official economic watchdog warned today.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said that opening the doors to an extra 140,000 every year for five decades would boost employment and bolster the public finances.

It also warned that pressure on the UK's healthcare system caring for older people means an extra £19 billion of spending cuts or tax hikes will be needed.

Urgent action is needed or the gains made by George Osborne's spending cuts will be wiped out by increased spending on the elderly, the OBR said. ...

The OBR argues that allowing 140,000 immigrants of working age into Britain each year – totalling 7 million over 50 years – would fill jobs and raise taxes for Treasury coffers.

'Our sensitivity analysis shows that overall migration has a positive impact on the sustainability of the public finances over our 50 year horizon,' the OBR said.
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
Desperate migration of Europe's unemployed, as the jobless masses head north to Britain and Germany in search of work
Daily Mail, 11 July 2013

Millions of Europe's unemployed youth are moving to more wealthy countries in the European Union as they desperately try to find work.

New figures have revealed that the number of Europeans who have moved to better off countries in the north to find work has doubled since the economic crises first hit four years ago, with Britain and Germany topping the list of choices.

Almost a quarter of the EU's under 25s - some 5.6 million - are now unemployed.

The figures have been revealed in the latest EU Employment and Social Situation review, published by the European Commission.

Greeks, Bulgarians and Romanians are most likely to say they would like to move, according to the report.

And it showed Britain was the top choice for foreign workers from the EU looking for employment last year, with 37 per cent migrating for these shores as they searched for work. Germany was next with 28 per cent.

The two countries are by far the most popular destinations. Austria came third - but only saw six per cent of the total - and France came fourth with five per cent.

The report said in 2008 the number of people stating they wanted to move for work - the beginning of the EU wide recession - was two million. This year the figure tops five million. ...

The EU Commission said that while some states suffer 'much higher' levels of unemployment, the rest of the EU should open their doors and help.

It wants new rules to force the Government to better advise migrants about their rights. They would also make it easier for unions and migrant groups to launch legal action if they think foreign workers are suffering discrimination.
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
Two million jobs awaiting migrants in Europe – EU envoy
Andrei Medina
GMA News, 3 July 2013

European Union (EU) Ambassador Guy Ledoux said there are two million jobs available for migrants, including overseas Filino workers (OFW), amid record-high unemployment and fragile economies in Europe.

"Even as we fight unemployment there are around two million job vacancies across the EU in the fields of health, ICT, engineering, sales, and finance," Ledoux said during a workshop on migration policies at the Asian Institute of Management on Monday.

"While emigration is not the only answer to fill skill gaps, it is certainly part of a common solution supportive of the EU's economic growth strategy," Ledoux explained, citing the European region's aging population and shrinking workforce for the need to hire migrants. ...

Meanwhile, Ledoux also said migration is key to the European region's success as "it is quickly becoming an economic and societal necessity."

He noted the role that migration played in pushing their economy to become one of the world's largest, with the help of the 21 million migrants from developing countries.

He also highlighted the EU-funded 2.8 Million Euro joint project of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas launched on Monday.

Entitled "Advancing Regional Cooperation on International Migration among Southeast Asian countries," the project aims to ease the migration process among Asian neighbors.

Ledoux cited EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom's statement on a recent OECD report on international migration trends.

"Demographic changes and skills shortages in certain sectors are a reality. The question is not whether we need migrants but how to make the most of migration," Malmstrom said.

"We of course need to make sure of the skills and talents we already have in Europe, but at the same time, in order to ensure our future prosperity and economic growth, we need to establish a demand driven labour immigration policy," she added.
[Site link]


Employment – Bulgarians
Study finds EU migrants get jobs more easily than nationals
Emigrate, 20 June 2013

As part of the OECD's recently published International Migrant Outlook, statistics relating migrant movements around the EU are suggesting that migrant workers are finding jobs more easily than nationals.

The Paris-based think tank estimates that around one million Bulgarians are planning to emigrate once the EU Freedom of Movement laws are validated in 2014, although not all are expected to head for Britain. In the UK, although unemployment has fallen slightly over the last several years, British nationals are being pipped at the jobs posts by migrants.
[Site link]


UK male employment rate higher for immigrants, says OECD
The Guardian, 13 June 2013

Foreign-born men in Britain have enjoyed higher levels of employment since the financial crisis struck than men born in the country, a leading thinktank has found.

Despite a drop in employment during the economic downturn, male migrants in the UK had higher levels of employment than "native-born" men from 2007 onwards, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said.

The findings feature in the Paris-based thinktank's 420-page International Migration Outlook report for 2013, which also reveals that total permanent immigration in the 34 OECD countries was higher in 2011 than in 2010.

Looking at whether the financial crisis reversed progress made by migrants over the past decade, the report said: "Despite a decline in their employment rates during the crisis, male migrants in the United Kingdom had higher levels of employment than native-born men from 2007 onwards."

It went on: "In half of the OECD countries, migrant men have an employment advantage relative to native men. In the majority among them this advantage has been further strengthened in 2012 relative to the pre-crisis levels, except in Italy, Estonia and Portugal.

"In countries such as the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Poland, the situation has improved for migrants. The foreign-born men have reversed the pre-crisis shortfall and are doing now better than native-born men."

The report said the UK and Germany were the biggest recipients of migrants fleeing countries most affected by the financial crisis, particular in southern Europe, with numbers almost doubling in recent years.

Outflows of nationals from these countries were speeding up, with movements having risen by 45% from 2009 to 2011. ...

Looking at Romania and Bulgaria, where access restrictions to the UK labour market will be lifted at the end of this year, the report drew a number of conclusions. In Romania, the OECD said, migration data was limited with officially registered emigration likely to capture only a small fraction of outflows. ...

In Bulgaria, the OECD pointed to a National Public Opinion Institute study which found that 12% of Bulgarians surveyed planned to emigrate once restrictions on free movement to the EU were lifted. This is the equivalent of 876,000 of the population.

Looking at the education sector, the report found that the UK was one of six countries where international students were over-represented among the universities and other higher education institutions when compared with the number of foreign-born persons in the population.

The report concluded that take-up of social benefits by immigrants relative to native-born households in the UK was lower than the average across all OECD countries.
[Site link]


Employment – foreign-born workers
Foreign-born workers account for 50pc of rise in employment
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2013

Foreign-born workers have accounted for more than half of the rise in employment in Britain over the past year, according to official figures.

The number of foreign-born workers finding employment in the UK has risen by 225,000 to 4.26m over the past year, compared to an additional 192,000 UK-born men and women in work.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics also disclose for the first time that more than 112,000 people who were born in Bulgaria and Romania are already working in Britain, a rise of 14pc on the same period in 2012. ...

One in three young people aged 18 to 24 who are not at university or college are currently unemployed or not in paid work.

According to new figures, the number of people working in Britain who were born in countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland and Hungary, has risen from 674,000 to 687,000.

The bulk of the new foreign-born workers are from outside the EU, with 46,000 from Africa and 76,000 from the "rest of the world".

Last year, just over a third of the rise in employment in Britain was attributed to people born abroad. In 2011, however, almost 80pc of new workers in the UK were born overseas.
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
EU tells Britain: Make it easier for jobless migrants to find work
James Slack
Daily Mail, 27 April 2013

Brussels has demanded that Britain makes it easier for the unemployed from other European Union countries to find jobs here.

The EU Commission said that while some states suffer 'much higher' levels of unemployment, the rest of the EU should open their doors and help.

It wants new rules to force the Government to better advise migrants about their rights. They would also make it easier for unions and migrant groups to launch legal action if they think foreign workers are suffering discrimination.

The intervention put the EU Commission on a collision course with David Cameron, who yesterday said the Government will legislate to make it harder for EU migrants to come to Britain and claim benefits.

Downing Street sources said the measure would be included in the Queen's Speech. ... ...

Demanding greater help for migrant workers, the EU employment and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor said: 'The free movement of workers is a key principle of the EU's single market.

'With much higher levels of unemployment in some member states than others at the moment, it is all the more important to make it easier for those who want to work in another EU country to be able to do so.'

He added that 'there is no evidence that migrant workers take jobs away from host country workers'.

Mr Andor, a Hungarian economist, will now seek approval from the European Parliament and the EU's council of ministers for his plan.

A spokesman for the British government said: 'This is just a proposal, but we will forcefully resist any attempt from Europe to load additional burdens onto countries like Britain.
[Site link]


Employment – East Europeans
Britons 'less likely to have a job than East European migrants': Findings contrast with other countries with high immigration
Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 11 April 2013

Eastern European migrants are more likely to have jobs than native Britons, a research study revealed yesterday.

The finding is in contrast with other countries with high levels of immigration from Eastern Europe, where the reverse is true.

Researchers found that in the UK, workers from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and later were 7 per cent more likely to be in work than British-born people.

But in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland locally-born workers have a higher employment rate than migrant workers from the new EU countries, the study said.

The report, by two Finnish academics, was presented yesterday to a conference on migration at University College London organised by NORFACE, a European organisation of state-funded research councils. ...

The Finnish report, by Mari Kangasniemi and Merja Kauhanen, said that one of the key factors affecting the job chances of Eastern European migrants is labour market conditions in the countries to which they move.

They said: 'We find that Eastern European immigrants had a lower probability of employment on average in comparison to natives in all other countries except for the UK during the period 2004 to 2009.'
[Site link]


Employment – European Union
As if jobs weren't hard enough to come by: 250,000 UK jobs advertised in EU (compared to France's 14,000)
Tim Shipman
Daily Mail, 5 April 2013

Britain is advertising 250,000 jobs to job seekers in the European Union creating more competition for unemployed people at home.

Around half the jobs advertised on a taxpayer funded EU website are in Britain, raising questions about the government's approach to unemployment.

By contrast France has advertised just 14,000 posts for other EU workers and seven countries - have put up so few that they do not register with the European Commission's EURES work programme.

EURES, the European job mobility portal, is the EU body that advertises British jobs to any EU worker.

The European Union provides grants for unemployed EU workers to get interviews and resettle in another EU country.

No such grant exists for workers in the UK to relocate to find work or get an interview.

The British jobs being advertised in Europe include department managers, general managers, finance and sales jobs, computing posts and clerking posts.

The huge disparity in job listings will fuel claims that the UK goes too far to go along with EU rules while other countries ignore them when they find it inconvenient. ...

A European Commission spokesman said the scheme benefited the UK economy, adding: 'There is no evidence that migrant workers take jobs away from host country workers.'
[Site link]


At last, most new jobs are filled by British workers thanks to stricter immigration policies
Becky Barrow
Daily Mail, 21 February 2013

The majority of jobs created in Britain over the past year have been filled by workers who were born in this country, official figures revealed yesterday.

It represents a dramatic reversal on Labour's 13 years in power when there was a haemorrhaging of jobs to foreign workers.

Office for National Statistics figures show that three in four jobs have gone to workers born outside Britain since 1997, even hitting more than 90 per cent at times.

Of the 3.1 million increase in employment since 1997, some 2.3 million jobs went to foreign-born workers and just 794,000 went to those born in the UK.

But the latest figures reveal that the situation has dramatically reversed, helped by the Government's stricter immigration policies.

Over the past year, employment levels in Britain have increased by 584,000, with 380,000 (65 per cent) going to British-born workers.
[Site link]


Employment – Romanians, Bulgarians
Britain faces fruit shortage next year as Romanians and Bulgarians are set to flood in to cities and desert countryside
Steve Doughty
Daily Mail, 16 February 2013

Farmers fear a strawberry shortage next summer because of the lifting of immigration rules for Romanians and Bulgarians, it was revealed today. ...

The threat of a shortage of fruit pickers was disclosed by Home Office immigration adviser Professor David Metcalf.

Professor Metcalf said the National Farmers Union is pressing for a relaxation of immigration rules to allow tens of thousands of agricultural workers from outside Europe to come into Britain to replace the lost Bulgarian and Romanian workforce. ...

At present, 21,750 Romanians and Bulgarians come into this country for six months of the year under the terms of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

The end of restrictions on the jobs these workers can take mean that many may decide to pursue other work in Britain.
[Site link]



Environment – happiness, anxiety
Living in the countryside makes people happier, ONS suggests
Steven Swinford
Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2013

People living in rural areas are happier than those in cities because they enjoy a greater sense of community and easy access to the countryside, the Office for National Statistics has suggested.

The ONS found that the most unhappy places in Britain are predominantly in urban areas, with the table topped by Harlow and Brentwood in Essex, Islington in North London and Hyndburn in Lancashire.

The happiest people live in predominantly rural areas, with the list topped by Fermenagh in Northern Ireland, the Orkney Islands in Scotland and Hampshire, East Devon and West Somerset in England.

Glenn Everett, the well-being project director at the ONS, said that the findings represent a "conundrum" because previous research has suggested that happiness is determined by people's health and economic factors.

He said that the ONS is conducting new research for the first time to understand whether "access to green spaces" and the "sense of community" in rural areas makes people happier. ...

More than one in five Londoners (22.4%) questioned said they had high anxiety levels.

"London has the most disposable income but very little life satisfaction and very high anxiety," said Dawn Snape, head of personal wellbeing at the ONS.
[Site link]


Environment – beggars
Rough-sleeping East European migrant beggars set up camp in Marble Arch
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 13 September 2013

Sleeping rough on one of London's most exclusive streets, this was the scene in Park Lane yesterday as East European beggars set up camp beneath Marble Arch.

The gang turned up with sleeping bags and a pushchair days after being cleared from the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.

To the fury of locals and shopkeepers, the gang returned to Mayfair, where they wash in fountains and hang clothes on monuments in Park Lane. Frustrated council chiefs yesterday called for tougher border controls to keep them out of Britain.

Councillor Nickie Aiken of Westminster City Council, said: "The tidal movement of East European rough sleepers in central London is something we have seen for months now.

"I can totally understand the frustration of residents and businesses that no sooner do we clear an illegal camp than a fresh batch arrive. The longer term solution lies in stopping career beggars at the UK border."

The council spends £500,000 a year cleaning up after the beggars, who are mainly Romanian, Bulgarian and Lithuanian.

It spent £10,000 on tickets home but gave up as it was powerless to stop the same migrants returning.

EU rules block the authorities from kicking out the beggars until they have been here for 90 days. Many of the migrants then simply go to Paris for 24 hours and return – giving them another 90 days in Britain.
[Site link]



Extremism – free speech
If we are serious about freedom of speech, then everyone must have it
Brendan O'Neill
Telegraph blog, 7 December 2013

Why isn't there more alarm about the Government's proposals for clamping down on extremist ideas? Yes, it's a given that you and me and most normal, rational people do not like the finger-wagging Islamists who spout extremist rubbish about evil Britain, or the shaven-headed ignoramuses of far-Right groups who have a soft spot for Hitler, both of whom might find their ability to spread propaganda curtailed in the future. But so long as we are talking about ideas and not actions, about words and not violence, shouldn't these morons be free to say whatever they want to whomever they want? I think they should, because I believe in freedom of speech. The Government thinks they shouldn't, because it doesn't believe in freedom of speech.

In its report published this week, Tackling Extremism in the UK, the Government insists it remains committed to "the fundamental British value [of] freedom of speech". It protests too much, for everything it subsequently proposes suggests it has thoroughly abandoned its commitment to that great democratic ideal. Indeed, its starting point is that it has become "too easy for extremist preachers and groups to spread extremist views", and therefore we need new measures to make such activity harder.


So the report wonders if there is an argument for bringing in "new civil powers", along the lines of anti-social behaviour orders, to "target the behaviours extremists use to radicalise others". This is a terrifyingly woolly and potentially all-encompassing phrase. "Behaviours" that are used to radicalise others could include anything from giving a speech in a town hall to publishing a pamphlet, whether by neo-fascists who want to convince people to oppose all immigration or Islamists who want to drum up hatred for America. Would such "behaviours" – speaking and publishing, expressing ideas – be blocked by a behaviour-control order? If so, that would be a shocking assault on freedom of speech.

The report also says "extremist propaganda is too widely available, particularly online", so the Government should consider "work[ing] with internet companies to restrict access" to such material. In short, the Government should censor web-based "extremist propaganda" – which could potentially cover all sorts of things, from Nazi nonsense to extreme feminist literature produced by the likes of the Society for Cutting Up Men (Scum). The report insists universities must get better at "no platforming" – that is, banning – extremist speakers. It says extremists must be prevented from "spreading their messages" or their "poisonous narratives" on campuses. So it's messages and narratives we're talking about here, not calls to violence. This is an explicit demand for restricting people's ability to communicate or access ideas and theories. It is an alarmingly illiberal meddling in individuals' rights to speak their minds – however rotten those minds might be – and other individuals' rights to hear or read their thoughts and reject or accept them as they see fit.

It is one thing for officialdom to clamp down on groups of people sitting around plotting violent acts; such behaviour is clearly a no-no and not a free-speech issue. But it is another thing entirely for it to propose restricting access to those who simply promote horrible "propaganda", "messages", "narratives", and "views", the things this report focuses on.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam, politics
Terror-link group met in parliament
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 24 November 2013

A group with undeclared links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and the terror group Hamas has been holding meetings at the Houses of Parliament.

Separately, it can also be revealed that one of the Government's police and crime commissioners will this week speak on the same platform as a man who has justified the killing of British troops and called for democracy to be replaced by Sharia. ...

The Commons events – held in March and September – involving the group with links to Hamas were organised by the Emirates Centre for Human Rights (ECHR), which says it is a moderate campaign against rights abuses in the Gulf. ... ...

However, The Telegraph has established that the ECHR's website is registered to Malath Skahir, a former director of the Cordoba Foundation.

Mrs Shakir is the wife of Anas Altikriti, the current Cordoba Foundation chief executive and the key political lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. ...

The Cordoba Foundation works closely with other British extremist groups which seek the creation of an Islamic dictatorship, or caliphate, in Europe.

Mr Altikriti has also been spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative, closely linked to the banned Hamas terrorist group. The BMI's director, Mohammed Sawalha, is a senior figure in Hamas who is said by the BBC to have "masterminded much of Hamas's political and military strategy". ...

The March meeting was jointly organised with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights. MPs involved with the event last night said they had no idea about the ECHR's Islamist links. ...

It is not the first time Islamists have attempted to secure a foothold in Parliament. In 2010 The Sunday Telegraph revealed how iEngage, the group organising the PCC meeting in Leeds, had secured appointment as the secretariat to the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia. iEngage is another body with links to Mr Altikriti, the Cordoba Foundation and the IFE. iEngage was sacked as the secretariat soon after The Sunday Telegraph's article.

Meanwhile at a meeting, to be held in Leeds on Wednesday, Mark Burns-Williamson, Labour PCC for West Yorkshire, will speak alongside Azad Ali, a senior figure in the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). ...

The meeting has been organised by the hardline group iEngage, which has repeatedly defended extremists and attacked Muslim moderates and for which Mr Ali also works.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islamists, politics
UK Politicians Collaborate with Muslim Brotherhood Islamists?
Samuel Westrop
Gatestone Institute, 7 November 2013

At the end of this month, on November 23-24, UK politicians, in a crushing betrayal of Britain's moderate Muslims, are planning join many of Britain's most outspoken Islamist groups and preachers at the sixth Global Peace and Unity conference, due to be held in London. Tens of thousands attend these conferences; journalists applaud the initiative, and cabinet ministers, political commentators and other policy-makers address its crowds.

Mohamed Ali Harrath, a leading figure in the British Muslim community, founded and organized the Global Peace and Unity conferences in 2005. ... ...

In 2010, the Daily Telegraph reported that, "items glorifying terrorism were on open sale [at the conference] ... Also available were 'shahada headbands' as worn by many Palestinian suicide bombers... The headbands contain the personal testimony of the suicide bombers." ...

This year, Veritas Consultancy – a company that also provides services to groups such as Interpal, a US-designated terrorist organization – is handling the logistics of the conference. Veritas Consultancy, however, has just one director: Mohamed Ali Harrath.

Harrath is a leading Muslim Brotherhood member; and the wealth of evidence that ties the conference, its affiliates and the proposed speakers to Islamist networks seems inescapable. Paul Goodman MP has described the conferences as the "Royal Ascot of the British Islamist calendar."

Despite these warnings, however, a number of public officials and politicians from across the British political spectrum seem happy to share a platform with leading Islamists and, in doing so, legitimize the organizers of the conference as genuine representatives of British Islam. ...

The conference's list of "Supporters" and "Associates" includes organizations such as Interpal, designated a terrorist organization in the United States; Human Appeal International, which the CIA claims to act as a conduit to terror organizations; Islamic Help, which funds organizations run by senior Hamas leaders; Muslim Aid, which funded a number of terrorist front groups; Muslim Hands, a charity accused by Israel of having links to Hamas; the London-based Palestinian Return Centre, an Islamist lobby group considered by intelligence agencies to be a front for Hamas; and Al-Hiwar TV, a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled television station that was recently fined $158,000 for broadcasting a speech that advocated murder as a punishment for blasphemy.

In light of this assortment of speakers and supporters, have British politicians sought to distance themselves from that array of views?

Not in the least: Politicians and public officials speaking at the upcoming event include Andrew Slaughter MP, the shadow Justice Minister; Sadiq Khan, the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC, a Labour Peer; Simon Hughes MP, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats; Khurshid Drabu, a senior immigration Judge; and Shahid Malik, former Minister for International Development. Malik met with Hamas leaders in 2012.

Most remarkably, alongside the extremist organizations, two other "supporters" of the conference include the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst
Charles Moore
Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2013

It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. ...

The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the "Islamophobic backlash". According to Tell Mamma, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, "the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore". Tell Mamma spoke of a "cycle of violence" against Muslims.

Yet the only serious violence was against a British soldier, who was dead. ... Yet the "backlash" argument has sailed on, with people shaking their heads gravely about the need to "reassure" Muslims. Tell Mamma equates "hate inspired by al-Qaeda" with the "thuggery and hate of the EDL [the English Defence League]".

A trap is set here, inviting those of us who reject such statements, to defend the EDL. I do not. While not, in its stated ideology, a racist organisation like the BNP, the EDL has an air of menace. It must feel particularly unpleasant for Muslims when its supporters hit the streets. But the EDL is merely reactive. It does not – officially at least – support violence. It is the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it. Four days ago, six Muslim men were sentenced at the Old Bailey for a plot to blow up an EDL rally. The news was received quietly, though it was a horrifying enterprise. No one spoke of "white-phobia". Imagine the hugely greater coverage if the story had been the other way round.

All journalists experience this disparity. If we attack the EDL for being racist, fascist and pro-violence, we can do so with impunity, although we are not being strictly accurate. If we make similar remarks about Islamist organisations, we will be accused of being racist ourselves. "Human rights" will be thrown at us. We shall also – this has happened to me more than once – be subject to "lawfare", a blizzard of solicitors' letters claiming damages for usually imagined libels. Many powerful people in the Civil Service, local government, politics and the police, far from backing up our attacks on extremism, will tut-tut at our "provocative" comments.

Much more important – from the point of view of the general public – you frequently find that Muslim groups like Tell Mamma get taxpayers' money (though, in its case, this is now coming to an end). You discover that leading figures of respectable officialdom share conference platforms with dubious groups. You learn that Muslim charities with blatantly political aims and Islamist links have been let off lightly by the Charity Commission. And you notice that many bigwigs in Muslim groups are decorated with public honours. Fiyaz Mughal, for example, who runs Tell Mamma, has an OBE. Obviously it would be half-laughable, half-disgusting, if activists of the EDL were indulged in this way; yet they are, in fact, less extreme than some of those Muslims who are. ...

In Britain today, extremists intuit that organised society is at a disadvantage to them. They understand that what makes them feel strong – the power of obnoxious ideas – is exactly what the authorities do not want to investigate and attack.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Tony Blair says murder of Lee Rigby PROVES 'there is a problem within Islam'
Glen Owen
Mail on Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tony Blair today makes his most powerful political intervention since leaving Downing Street by launching an outspoken attack on 'the problem within Islam'.

The former Prime Minister addresses the shocking killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich by going further than he – or any front-rank British politician – has gone before over the issue of Muslim radicalism.

Writing in today's Mail on Sunday, he departs from the usual argument that Islam is a peaceful religion that should not be tainted by the actions of a few extremists.

Instead, Mr Blair urges governments to 'be honest' and admit that the problem is more widespread.

'There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam,' he writes.

'We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.'

He adds: 'At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don't admit it.' ...

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Foreign Secretary and chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said: 'Much of what Tony Blair says is sensible.

'The Islamic terrorists who kill people have the silent support of many more in their community who share their ideology, if not their methods.

'But even combined, they represent only a small minority of British Muslims, and we must never forget that.

'However, he appears to be still trying to justify the Iraq War rather than acknowledging that that war provided an unprecedented opportunity for the Sunni and Shia extremists to slaughter so many of their co-religionists.'
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
There's a problem within Islam, says Tony Blair. He should know. He helped create it
Damian Thompson
Telegraph blog, 2 June 2013

There's a problem "within Islam" that the Government needs to address, says Tony Blair. ...

This is what sticks in my throat. For many years there has been a spectrum of Muslim belief in this country ranging from unobtrusive Islamic observance to terrorist totalitarianism. The "problem" is that young British Muslims, some of them converts, are even now being propelled towards the terrorist end of the spectrum by preachers who embedded themselves here under the government of Tony Blair. Academics close to the New Labour project emitted flatulent platitudes while universities threw open their facilities to repulsive demagogues; prisons became recruiting grounds for extremists while their simpering chaplains said nothing; meanwhile, Blair's ministers and their courtiers in the police poured countless millions of pounds into subsidising some of the very Islamists whose influence they needed to contain.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Extremist Islamist leaders preaching to UK students, says study
Melanie Hall
Daily Telegraph, 13 May 2013

Extremist Islamist leaders preached to crowds of students at almost 200 official events at universities including Cambridge in the past year, a study has revealed.

A total of 180 events promoted by union-affiliated societies had talks given by people who had "a history of extreme or intolerant views", according to a study of external speakers at 21 universities, which also included University College London and Birmingham.

More than a quarter of those public talks held by Islamic societies in the year until March are thought to have had segregated seating for male and female students.

Two institutions have announced investigations into segregated meetings, although research by Student Rights – which was set up to tackle extremism on university campuses – suggest that the practice is prevalent across the UK, despite it being forbidden by university equality rules.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Baroness Warsi and the demons of hate
Andrew Gilligan
Sunday Telegraph, 28 April 2013

A Cabinet minister spoke at a meeting of a group which is boycotted by her own Government for its promotion of terrorist recruiters and its "failure to fully challenge terrorist and extremist ideology".

Baroness Warsi, the minister for faith and communities, addressed an event staged by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) last month to attack the "demonisation" of Muslim students by the media.

FOSIS has hosted numerous extremist and terrorist speakers at its annual conference and other events, including Azzam Tamimi, who supports suicide bombing, Haitham al-Haddad, who believes that music is a "prohibited and fake message of love and peace", and Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda recruiter described as a key inspiration for three of the 9/11 hijackers and numerous later attacks.

Several convicted terrorists have been officers of university Islamic societies affiliated to FOSIS and have attended its events.

FOSIS has been condemned by Baroness Warsi's colleagues, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, for its failure to "fully challenge terrorist and extremist ideology". ...

At the FOSIS event with Lady Warsi, in the House of Lords on March 25, the minister, who attends Cabinet and is a former chairman of the Conservative Party, supported claims by FOSIS that extremism was "no more prevalent" in universities than in any other parts of society.

In fact, however, in the last month alone, according to the anti-extremism group Student Rights, there have been at least 10 incidents on British campuses involving Islamic extremist speakers or the promotion of extremist ideology to students. ...

FOSIS's president, Omar Ali, aims to control all Muslim students in British universities. In a blogpost at the time of his appointment, he says the organisation should "turn the cogs" of university Islamic societies, which should in "turn the larger cog of Muslim students on their campuses".

Baroness Warsi was joined at the event by Nicola Dandridge, the head of Universities UK, which represents all British universities.

She too claimed that extremism was no greater a problem in universities than anywhere else and praised FOSIS for its work on "community cohesion".

Baroness Warsi's involvement with FOSIS comes more than two years after David Cameron, the Prime Minister, promised to cut off public funding for, and political contact with, groups which supported extremism.

However, accounts published in recent weeks reveal that many bodies closely linked to extremism continued to enjoy substantial public funding in 2012.

Beneficiaries include the East London Mosque, paid at least £150,000 last year alone, and the Osmani Trust, which received around £600,000.

Both organisations are controlled by the Islamic Forum of Europe, which works to change the "very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed from ignorance to Islam" in a "global" Islamic state under Sharia law.

The mosque has hosted numerous hate and terrorist preachers, including al-Awlaki. Only last week, however, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, attended a forum with representatives of the East London Mosque and other faith groups.
[Site link]


Extremism – Pakistan
Pakistan aid does not prevent extremism, say MPs
Rob Crilly
Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2013

A £300 million education programme that Britain funds in Pakistan is not preventing Pakistanis turning to extremism, according to a parliamentary inquiry.

At the same time, a survey has revealed that Sharia beats democracy as the most popular form of government among young Pakistanis.

Britain is increasing its aid to Pakistan, with more than half the outlay being spent on education programmes.

A leading assessment in the report, published by the select committee on international development today, concluded that there was no clear link between education and preventing extremism. ... ...

The surge in spending has so far made little impact on the attitudes of young Pakistanis. A survey by the British Council, published on Wednesday, found that those who believed the country should be governed by Islamic law outnumbered those who backed democracy.

Of more than 5,000 Pakistanis between the age of 18 and 29 interviewed, 38 per cent thought Sharia was the best political system for the country. Thirty-two per cent chose military rule, and democracy came in last with 29 per cent.
[Site link]


Extremism – jihadists
Conflict in Syria creates wave of British jihadists
Kim Sengupta
The Independent, 13 March 2013

The bloody uprising against Bashar al-Assad is creating a new wave of jihadists in Britain, with Syria now the main destination for militant Muslims wishing to fight abroad, The Independent has learnt.

Syria has replaced Pakistan and Somalia as the preferred front line where Islamist volunteers can experience immediate combat with relatively little official scrutiny, security agencies said.

The worrying development has been taking place as extremist groups, some with links to al-Qa'ida, have become the dominant force in the uprising against the Damascus regime.

More than 100 British Muslims are believed to have gone to fight in Syria with the numbers continuing to rise. The situation presents a unique problem for Western security and intelligence services.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Questions for Muslim charity after plotters used its name for fund-raising
Daily Telegraph, 22 February 2013

One of Britain's biggest Muslim charities, which was praised by the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales, faces new questions about its links to extremism following yesterday's convictions.

During the case it emerged that the conspirators, Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, posed as street collectors for Muslim Aid to raise thousands of pounds.

They wore Muslim Aid T-shirts and tabards, carried the charity's collecting buckets and gave donors Muslim Aid leaflets and other merchandise.

Muslim Aid has always insisted that it gave out the items in good faith and was duped by "individuals who have abused our good name". Det Insp Adam Gough, the senior investigator in the case, said he "genuinely believed" the charity was an "innocent victim". However, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that:

• A major inspiration for the plotters was an event organised by a sister organisation closely linked to Muslim Aid;

• The event, addressed by the notorious al-Qaeda-supporting cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, took place in the same building as Muslim Aid's own headquarters; ...

• The financier of the plot, Rahin Ahmed, was described by Muslim Aid to police as its former "sole point of contact" in Birmingham as far back as 2009; ...

Muslim Aid is closely linked to an Islamic extremist organisation, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE), which believes in turning Europe into a sharia state under Islamic law. The two share a headquarters in the business wing of the hard-line East London Mosque, in Whitechapel, which is controlled by the IFE. Muslim Aid's secretary, Muhammad Abdul Bari, is a former president of the IFE and a trustee of the mosque.
[Newspaper link]


Extremism – television, radio, Islam
Preachers of hate who spread their violent word on British TV channels
David Barrett and Ben Leach
Sunday Telegraph, 10 February 2013

Muslim fundamentalists have used British television channels to preach in favour of violent crime and killing "apostates".

The communications watchdog, Ofcom, has made a series of rulings against channels which allowed "inflammatory" material to be broadcast in breach of rules which forbid extreme opinions gaining a platform on British television.

The cases, disclosed today, include examples of an imam telling viewers that those who disrespect the prophet Mohammed should be killed, and another broadcaster saying homosexuals should be beaten and tortured. ...

The cases identified by Ofcom include:

• An Islamic scholar who told viewers: "It is your duty ... to kill those who insult Prophet Mohammed."

• A preacher banned from coming to Britain who used the channel - which he co-owns - to say anyone who left Islam should be put to death.

• A phone-in presenter who advocated "eliminating" anyone who disrespected Mohammed.

In some cases the channels had also breached a rule which states that they must keep recordings of all their output, raising the possibility that other inflammatory material has been broadcast but cannot be traced. ...

The disclosure of the rulings by the broadcasting regulator comes despite a report in 2010 which warned that extremist material was being broadcast.

Tala Rajab, the researcher who wrote the report for Quilliam, the anti-extremist think-tank, said the fresh findings by Ofcom raised serious questions over the regulation of broadcast material.

"Some of these recent incidents have been quite shocking," he said.

"If this had happened in a mosque the police would be right in pursuing a criminal investigation. But because they are being broadcast on television channels for some reason there seems to be little appetite for looking into these extreme messages.

"If these kind of comments were made against black people, for example, you can imagine a channel being shut down overnight, particularly if they had incited violence against a minority." ...

There are 14 Muslim TV free-to-air channels in Britain but their audiences are not measured by BARB, the source of viewing figures.
[Site link]


Extremism – Islam
Extremists attend more than 200 university events
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 12 January 2013

Islamic extremists preached at more than 200 university events last year raising fresh fears over radicalisation on campus.

A dozen events featured speakers with links to the fanatical group Hizb ut Tahrir – a controversial organisation banned by the National Union of Students. ...

The research, by campaign group Student Rights, found a total of 214 university events featured known extremists last year.

The most frequent speaker was Hamza Tzortzis who was promoted at 48 events. Mr Tzortzis has called for an Islamic state, expressed his hostility towards Western values and stated that: "We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom."

Hizb ut-Tahrir was represented at six per cent of the events even thought the NUS has a policy not to give the organisation a platform.

The research also found eight events were moved off campuses following complaints while another ten were cancelled. ...

Rupert Sutton, Head Researcher at Student Rights said: "These statistics demonstrate that the presence of extremist preachers on campus is not a figment of people's imaginations, but a serious issue that universities cannot afford to be complacent about.

"The prevalence of material featuring terrorists such as Anwar al-Awlaki is deeply concerning, as is the relative ease with which Hizb ut-Tahrir-linked videos and literature can be shared amongst students.

"We hope that universities will use these figures as an opportunity to examine their policies and ensure that they are keeping their students safe from those who would spread intolerance and hatred on our campuses."
[Site link]



Fraud and corruption – marriage
Humanist marriage move could open way to surge in sham weddings, claim registrars
John Bingham
Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2013

Moves to use the Government's same-sex marriage bill to introduce humanist weddings could lead to a surge in sham ceremonies and "demean the whole status of marriage", registrars have warned.

The National Panel for Registration, which represents marriage registrars has written to ministers claiming that the initiative could be exploited by criminals and open the system up to "fraudulent abuse". ...

At present couples can chose between a religious wedding, a register office ceremony or one in an officially approved venue conducted by a registrar employed by the local council.

Humanists argue that this discriminates against non-religious people by denying them the chance to have a personal ceremony which reflects their own beliefs.

They are backing an amendment to the marriage bill, currently being scrutinised in the Lords, which would allow other groups to conduct legally recognised weddings.
[Site link]



Illegal immigration – deportation
'Illegal' migrants stay despite raids
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 27 December 2013

Nearly two out of three illegal immigration suspects caught working in restaurants in Britain during the past five years are still here, figures have shown.

Immigration officers arrested 10,884 suspected illegal immigrants in raids on restaurants between 2008 and March this year.

Of those, 3,973 (36.5 per cent) were then removed from Britain.

The Home Office figures were described as "astonishing" on Thursday. ...

Restaurants have been a focus for immigration officers because they are hot spots for illegal migrants, who take jobs as waiters or cooks.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, who obtained the figures, said: "These are very worrying statistics. The cost of these raids, including the numbers of Home Office officials involved and the time taken to execute them, seems to be greater than the consequences for those who are caught working illegally.

"Two out of every three people caught working illegally are therefore still in the country.

"Not only that, but millions of pounds of fines imposed on employers are written off."

Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "It is astonishing that so few of those arrested have actually been removed."

He called for a "tighter system" so illegal immigrants could be "swiftly deported".

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "The number of illegal immigrants removed following enforcement raids on restaurants has increased every year since 2010.

"The new Immigration Bill will reduce the complexity of the appeals system, which allows too many people with no right to be in this country to make repeated, spurious appeals to prolong their stay in the UK and frustrate attempts to remove them."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – criminalising
Criminalizing undocumented migrants has got to stop
Michele LeVoy
New Internationalist blog, 19 December 2013

The EU and its member states must end criminalization of undocumented migrants to ensure equal access to human rights and to basic services, says the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM).

There is a growing trend of criminalizing irregular migrants in Europe, using criminal law, administrative detention or other punitive measures under administrative law, and through policies and practices that perpetuate prejudices.

PICUM has found that most EU member states punish irregular entry and irregular stay.

People who assist, support and rescue undocumented migrants for humanitarian reasons may also be prosecuted. Facilitating irregular entry and stay is considered a criminal offence in most member states.

The choice of terminology is also crucial in shaping perceptions. The view that undocumented migrants are 'illegal' frequently creates administrative, financial and other practical barriers to accessing their basic rights.

François Crépeau, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrant explains: 'Using incorrect terminology that negatively depicts individuals as "illegal" contributes to the negative discourses on migration, and further reinforces negative stereotypes of irregular migrants as criminals. Moreover, such language legitimates the discourse of criminalization of migration, which in turn, contributes to the further alienation, discrimination and marginalization of irregular migrants, and may even encourage verbal and physical violence against them' ..

Such perceptions distract attention from the fact that the majority of undocumented migrants in Europe do not enter irregularly but experience difficulties in renewing their residence permit or in complying with the increasingly tight requirements for a permit renewal. In many cases, migrants become irregular through exploitation by their employer or by losing their status due to gender-based violence.

Undocumented migrants and service providers witness first-hand, on a daily basis, how the perception that they are 'illegal' leads people to believe that they have no rights and that migration is a criminal activity. ...

Moreover, defining an individual or group as 'illegal' is erroneous and incorrect from a juridical point of view, as neither an individual could be considered by nature as 'illegal', nor have the individuals necessarily committed a criminal offence under national laws.

An increasing number of European and international institutions and media have abandoned the term 'illegal' and refer to 'irregular' or 'undocumented' migrants. ...

International human-rights law guarantees undocumented migrants' entitlements to a comprehensive set of rights regardless of their administrative status. European states must take steps to ensure and further implement a human rights-based approach to migration ensuring that the protection of all migrants, including the undocumented, is always the first concern.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – border controls
Bob Jones: Welcome illegal immigrants with open arms
Sir Bob Jones
The New Zealand Herald, 10 December 2013

A contentious issue in the Australian election was illegal migration, the party leaders competing for the harshest tactics to deal with it.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's first foreign trip was to Indonesia, the staging post for most Australia-bound boat people, but far from obtaining co-operation, he virtually apologised to the Indonesian President for bothering him. Meanwhile, the Australian Greens leader, Christine Milne, reinforced her wetness credentials by protesting at the Immigration Minister calling them illegal migrants. "People seeking asylum are not illegal, they are human beings," she said, as if anyone is questioning that.

In fact, they are illegal, most being economic migrants, these normally barred whereas access is accorded political refugees by international convention. ...

But who can blame them for seeking something better? Sri Lankans flowed in here during the civil war, to our benefit. I know many, both Tamil and Sinhalese, all but one (an employee of mine) medical and other professionals. Of our migrants they're among the cream: studious, hard-working and imbued in decency. But with the civil war over, still they come, fleeing the oppressive mismanagement of their homeland.

Afghani and Syrian migrants need no explanation. ... They're now forced further afield, spreading across Europe. Bulgaria has taken the most on a population basis but now intends spending millions it can ill afford on a lengthy fence.

It won't work, just as it doesn't with the Mexican border fence and today America hosts millions of illegal Hispanics, this a contentious issue in last year's presidential race.

It's also huge in Europe, the destination for black and North African jobseekers fleeing their mismanaged nations. ... ...

Everyone or their ancestors were migrants at some stage. But we all claim the right to determine whom we allow into our countries. The problem is what to do when they arrive illegally in large numbers. ... ...

But what of our country? To date, our geographic isolation has provided immunity from the boat people. That won't last, as the world abounds in cheap old ships and inevitably one laden with illegal migrants will turn up here, more so as that same isolation gives us an Elysian Fields imagery in the eyes of people enduring hardship in distant lands. It will be easy to send ashore in simple barges hundreds of migrants along, say, Ninety Mile Beach. By the time they're discovered, the ship will be 500 miles away, off to pick up a fresh load.

As with Australia, the navy will be helpless dealing with this. Hobson's choice will invariably see us accept them, resulting in ever more arriving. There's no answer to this problem other than not viewing it as a problem and, instead, accepting a multi-race future; a miniature melting pot as lies at the heart of America's greatness. The grandchildren of today's 20-year-olds will all be part Asian, Arab and God knows what else, and be better for this infusion.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – research
Warwick researchers evaluate the 'Go Home' immigration campaign
Junaid O'Balogun
The Boar, 8 December 2013

A University of Warwick based research team is set to extensively research the impact of the Home Office 'Go Home' immigration campaign.

The team, led by Warwick sociologist Dr Hannah Jones, has outlined their plans to go beyond the Home Office's internal evaluation of the 'Go Home' campaign to uncover the comprehensive impacts of the policy on local migrant and non-migrant communities.

The 'Go Home' Campaign which has already come under sustained criticism, seeks to encourage illegal immigrants to return back to their country of origin voluntarily or face arrest.

The research team was awarded a grant by the Economic and Social Research Council for £200,000 over an 18 month period, and the project will be carried out by universities across the UK.

Researchers will collaborate with community groups in the likes of Barking & Dagenham, Bradford, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Warwick professor Dr Hannah Jones said: "In July 2013, the UK Home Office launched a series of high-profile interventions which directed public attention to an increasing 'hard line' from the government on 'illegal immigration."

Dr Jones also commented on the aims of the project: "Using a combination of online, textual and visual analysis, large-scale surveys, interviews and participant observation, this project will study the operation, impacts and implications of these initiatives, and the responses to them.

"The project will engage directly with policy makers, local activists and public debates, including through a series of public events and online dissemination through social media and a project blog."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – asylum
Thousands of illegal immigrants could be "fiddling" the system by claiming asylum only after being threatened with deportation.
Owen Bennett
Daily Express, 26 November 2013

Almost 20,000 foreigners have been allowed to stay in the last six years after claiming that deportation would breach their human rights.

The fact that they claimed asylum only after being detected has called into question the legitimacy of their claims and there are now calls for the Home Office to investigate.

Labour MP Frank Field – who has called for a crackdown on immigration – uncovered the figures.

He found that since 2008 a total of 66,569 foreigners claimed asylum after detection.

Of those 19,066 – or nearly one in three – were actually successful. The others had their return home delayed, often by years, by using the tactic.

The former welfare reform minister told the Sun: "It is an obvious fiddle that I am sure the Home Secretary will want to look at.

"You are either here for one reason or the other. You can't be both."

He added: "If people want to claim asylum, they should claim it straight away."

According to Government figures, each person living in the UK illegally costs taxpayers £4,250.

That figure is based on the costs incurred by public services such as the NHS and education.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of campaign group MigrationWatch UK, added: "If someone doesn't claim asylum until they are detected, you wonder how strong their case really is."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – deportation
Immigration checks at tube and train stations will not be halted despite allegations of racial profiling
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 20 November 2013

Ministers have vowed to continue immigration checks at Tube and train stations - despite allegations of 'racial profiling'.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said one in three of the illegal immigrants caught during operations this summer had already been deported.

He defended the operations, which took place this summer, as part of efforts to encourage migrants with no right to be in Britain to return home. ...

On July 30 immigration officials carried out 29 stops at Kensal Green Tube station in North London, and arrested three people.

At Walthamstow, East London, a total of 48 people were stopped, leading to 14 arrests. One further person was arrested by British Transport Police in Stratford.

Out of the 18 arrests, six have been deported, ten are going through the deportation process and two have claimed asylum.

Mr Harper said the operations had been 'very successful.'

He said such operations were carried out under the last government since 2008.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
Illegal migrants' children denied access to education and housing - report
Daniel Boffey
The Observer, 10 November 2013

The children of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are having their lives made a misery by the government in an effort to put others off coming to the UK, according to a damning new report backed by former minister Sarah Teather.

They are being denied access to their basic rights and assistance to attain legal status in the UK, it is claimed. A proposed immigration bill, the report adds, will introduce further restrictions to these children's options by asking schools, GPs and landlords to monitor the immigration status of people they come into contact with.

The government is accused by the report's authors of trying to create a hostile environment for the children of what they describe as undocumented migrants, as well as the parents, as a way of encouraging more to leave and dissuade others from coming.

The report, Growing Up in a Hostile Environment: The Rights of Undocumented Migrant Children in the UK, published by the Coram Children's Legal Centre, finds that this tougher stance is having a "significant and damaging impact" on children in the UK.

Undocumented migrant children are not entitled to a post-16 education; their families are not allowed social housing; they are often forced into the hands of rogue landlords and exploitative relationships. Financial support has been withdrawn from such families following the government's local authority spending cuts; and, despite often having strong claims, leave to remain application fees of up to £1,000 and a lack of legal representation under the legal aid reforms condemn such children to live in the shadows. ...

The MP for Brent Central, who on announcing her resignation revealed that she no longer felt that the party led by Nick Clegg fights sufficiently for social justice and liberal values on immigration, said the government needed to urgently rethink its priorities. ...

Kamena Dorling, the author of the report, said: "Over half of the estimated 120,000 undocumented migrant children in the UK were born here. Many have lived here for their entire childhood. Despite having strong legal claims to remain in the country and being long-term residents of our communities, in practice they are left in a precarious situation without access to basic social rights."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Just one in 67 suspect illegal immigrants is sent home: Officials are not properly following up tip offs in 94% of cases
James Slack
Daily Mail, 8 November 2013

Only one in every 67 reports of illegal immigration result in a person being booted out of the country, a damning report by MPs reveals today.

Incredibly, in 94 out of every 100 cases, immigration officials are not even bothering to properly follow-up on tip offs from concerned members of the public.

This is despite David Cameron personally urging people to 'report suspected illegal immigrants' a to new Border Agency database so they could be deported.

MPs say that, as a result of the inaction by officials, people will lose confidence and could soon stop bothering to ring the authorities to report illegal working or visa over-stayers.

The revelations are contained in yet another critical report on the UK's border controls by Westminster's home affairs select committee. ...

The study also said the UKBA had a backlog of 432,029 immigration and asylum cases when it was scrapped at the end of March - which at current levels will take five years to clear. ...

The committee backed the Home Office's policy of trying to persuade illegal immigrants to go home voluntarily, with government support.

MPs agreed this was cheaper than forced removals, which cost around £11,000 each.

But they joined attacks on the so-called 'racist van ', which toured London advising illegals to 'go home' or face arrest. The vans were scrapped by Mrs May last month after proving ineffective.

The report said: 'Tough enforcement action should be taken against those who are determined to remain here illegally, but for the target audience of potential voluntary returners, the effectiveness of the carrot is potentially undermined by the ostentatious brandishing of the stick.'
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Full scale of border failings revealed
Channel 4, 8 November 2013

The failed UK Border Agency has left a massive backlog of cases that will take five years to clear, a new report by MPs reveals.

And despite promises to get tough on illegal immigration, only 6 per cent of tip-offs from the public were followed up, the home affairs select committee discovered.

UKBA was scrapped at the end of March after a string of damning reviews of its performance.

Home Secretary Theresa May has replaced the agency with UK Visas and Immigration and an Immigration Enforcement command, both brought back under the direct control of ministers.

MPs looked at UKBA's allegations database, which recorded tip-offs about illegal immigrants made by members of the public, and found that only 6 per cent of claims are investigated and 1.5 per cent lead to removals.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz MP said: "There are still over 430,000 cases languishing in the backlogs, enough to fill Wembley Stadium almost five times over.

"As we have said on numerous occasions, the backlogs must be cleared as a matter of priority. Only then will the Home Office be able to tackle the deeper problems in the immigration system."

"Currently only six in 100 reports of illegal immigrants result in an actual investigation and only 1.5 in 100 result in removal. This is a very poor record and does not give confidence to those who go out of their way to help the Home Office."

Between its introduction on 30 September last year and 30 June this year, the database had received 48,660 allegations - about 178 a day.

In the eight months to May this year, allegations resulted in 2,695 investigations with visits by immigration enforcement officers, 1,840 arrests and 660 removals.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – cost
Your £125 yearly bill to help illegals! Taxpayers shocked by spiralling costs
Helene Perkins
Daily Star, 2 November 2013

Every British taxpayer pays £125 a year to support illegal immigrants, shocking new figures reveal.

A staggering £3.7 billion is needed to pay for their health, education and other services.

Figures show the estimated 850,000 illegals living in the UK each cost the public as much as £4,250 per year.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the MigrationWatch think tank, said: "This is a stunning figure which previous governments have covered up for far too long.

"It amounts to six times the cost to the taxpayer of the entire immigration system. So the case for a firm crackdown on illegals is absolutely undeniable."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – cost
Illegal immigrants cost taxpayer more than £4,000 a head each year
David Barrett
Daily Telegraph, 31 October 2013

Every illegal immigrant in Britain costs the taxpayer up to £4,250 a year in costs for public services such as the NHS and education, according to a new official report.

It means that the total cost to the public purse could be up to £3.7 billion a year, under previous estimates which said there were 860,000 illegal immigrants in the country.

The figure emerged in an official Home Office document which showed the Government's controversial "Go Home" advertising campaign - which included ad vans touring the streets of multicultural areas - saved the taxpayer up to £830,000.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, disclosed that the campaign was far more successful in persuading illegal immigrants to leave Britain than previously disclosed.

He said 60 illegal immigrants have already left the country after seeing the publicity and another 65 are in talks with Home Office officials about going back to their home countries.

Operation Vaken, which took place between July 22 and August 22 in six London boroughs, saw mobile billboards take to the streets emblazoned with the slogan "Go home or face arrest".

Mr Harper said the 60 voluntary departures represented a "notional saving" of £830,000 based on the average £15,000 cost of an enforced removal.

Last week Theresa May, the Home Secretary, admitted the vans were "too much of a blunt instrument" and will not be rolled out nationwide.

The Home Office report showed that of the illegal immigrants who decided to go home or who are among the ongoing cases, two thirds were from India. In all, 90 Indians came forward, along with nine Pakistanis, six Brazilians and five South Africans.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Eleven immigrants left UK after seeing 'go home' van adverts
BBC, 31 October 2013

Eleven illegal migrants left the UK as a result of seeing vans with the message "go home or face arrest", the Home Office has claimed.

The advertising vans drove around six London boroughs where it is thought a lot of illegal immigrants live.

Plans to use the vans across the UK were ditched after they were condemned by critics.

A report by the Home Office attributed 60 voluntary departures to a wider campaign known as Operation Vaken.

This included newspaper advertisements and postcards in shop windows.

Of the 60 migrants who returned home in total as a result of Operation Vaken, 11 people left after seeing the "go home" advert vans, the Home Office assessment shows.

Twenty-nine left the UK after being warned of the risk of arrest through immigration advice surgeries. ...

Immigration Minister Mark Harper pledged in a statement that the government "will continue to enforce the immigration rules and promote voluntary departure schemes to those who have no right to be in the UK".

In the written statement, Mr Harper said the voluntary departures represent a notional saving of £830,000, based on the average £15,000 cost of an enforced removal.

The pilot scheme, including the vans and other adverts, cost £9,740.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – European Union
How do illegal immigrants get into the European Union?
CNN, 30 October 2013

The death of more than 300 African migrants in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa in early October has shone a spotlight on illegal immigration to Europe.

But although the tragedy at Lampedusa shocked the world, it has done little to dissuade migrants who continue to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean from northern Africa to European shores.

Frontex, the European Union border agency, says the majority of people residing illegally in the EU arrived by plane with a valid travel visa and simply stayed on after their visa expired.

But Frontex also estimates that at least 72,000 people illegally entered the EU via land and sea routes in 2012 – and the actual figure may be much higher.

According to Frontex's "Annual Risk Analysis 2013" report, 51% of migrants entering illegally via land and sea took an eastern Mediterranean route, with many crossing into Greece before continuing on to the western Balkans by land or through ferry links to Italy.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – tenants
Visa checks 'could put landlords in physical danger'
BBC, 29 October 2013

Landlords could be put in physical danger by being asked to check the immigration status of their tenants, MPs have been told.

Under government plans, private landlords would have to inquire whether prospective tenants are living in the UK legally.

The National Landlords Association said property owners confronting tenants could be accused of harassment.

But the government said the system would be "effective and light-touch". ...

From October 2014, landlords would be expected to carry out "straightforward" background checks on new tenants.

Ministers insist they do not expect landlords to become immigration experts and that property owners "taking simple steps have nothing to fear".

Unlike employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, landlords renting out rooms to those not entitled to be in the UK will not face criminal penalties although they will be liable for fines.

Ministers say they want to minimise the administrative burden on landlords and if a landlord has not had an answer from the Home Office within 48 hours of sending documentation, they can go ahead and rent.

But Richard Jones, from the Residential Landlords Association, told a committee of MPs scrutinising the bill that he believed the proposals were "unworkable". ...

National Landlords Association chair Carolyn Uphall said the principle of having to undertake pre-tenancy checks was not in question.

But she said landlords were in a totally different position from employers, having fewer resources at their disposal, and asking them to keep tabs on tenants on a regular basis could result in "dangerous and unintended consequences". ...

Universities UK said it already vetted foreign students and that asking landlords to duplicate this was unnecessary.

And the Association of Letting Agents said it was already "familiar" with having to carry out visa checks and it welcomed the government's proposals to make this compulsory. ...

The government maintains that landlords will not have to confront tenants they suspect of being in the UK illegally and will merely have to notify the Home Office of their suspicion, which will be treated in confidence.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: "There is no doubt that immigrants have helped make Britain a richer and stronger society, but we must take firm action to address illegal immigration.

"We will be requiring all landlords to ensure that prospective tenants are here legally. This is in line with existing best practice across the rental sector.

"We do not want to disadvantage legitimate landlords and tenants and have devised a system which will be effective and light-touch while making it tougher for illegal immigrants to rent property, but giving us the powers to take robust action against rogue landlords."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – people smuggling
VIDEO: Criminal gangs smuggling Syria refugees into Britain for £11,000 a time exposed
Matthew Drake
Sunday Mirror, 27 October 2013

A people-trafficking gang raking in millions of pounds by bringing hundreds of Syrian refugees into the UK is today exposed by the Sunday Mirror.

The gang in Istanbul, Turkey, told our undercover investigators that for £34,000 they would smuggle three men here from Syria using false passports and minders. ...

The gang's activities raise serious concerns that terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda could use similar tactics to sneak jihadists into Europe.

We were alerted to the criminal organisation by an anonymous phone call to our London offices.

Our investigator was warned: "This trade is making millions for Turkish gangs.

"They have fixers around Europe and in the UK flying people across Europe. They have people working in airports who look the other way.

"They are taking Syrians to Italy, Holland and the Scandinavian countries, but Britain is the most expensive. On landing, the Syrian asks for asylum.

"They are often out of the airport within three hours because nobody is going to send them back to a country where people are being killed by chemical weapons." ...

Last week it was reported there were more than 600,000 Syrians in Turkey, 400,000 of them in refugee camps. ...

The National Crime Agency said last night it would study our dossier.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – border security
British anarchists 'are turning Calais lawless': Mayor claims they fuel chaos by helping army of migrants targeting UK
Peter Allen
Daily Mail, 26 October 2013

Calais is becoming a lawless town with 'no security' because of masses of migrants seeking to cross the Channel into Britain, the port's mayor says.

Natacha Bouchart blamed British activists from the anarchist group No Borders for helping migrants set up illegal squats in unoccupied flats, houses and commercial property in central Calais.

The group, which campaigns for an end to immigration controls, is trying to give the migrants shelter in France before they attempt their illegal entry into the UK.

Mrs Bouchart, 50, has previously blamed Britain's asylum and benefits system for 'imposing' hundreds of illegal migrants on her city.

She said the number of people trying to make it across the Channel was becoming 'untenable' and radical action was needed.

In a move that has caused controversy in France, she made a plea to residents to report squats used by UK-bound illegal immigrants so that they can be shut down. ...

She called the dozens of squats 'a plague which is spreading to the town centre, disturbing the peace of residents and tarnishing the town's image'.

She added: 'It is scandalous that we live in a state where foreigners come here to disturb our town and our residents.

'The migrants fight among each other and we do not feel there is any security at all.'

Mrs Bouchart, who was born in France to an Armenian father and a Polish mother, complained to Spanish-born Interior Minister Manuel Valls that she lacked powers to take direct action against squatters and asked for Calais to be declared a high-priority security zone. ...


No Borders is a shadowy group of activists campaigning for an end to immigration controls across Europe.

Motivated by an anarchist ideology, the British branch seeks to help migrants get around immigration rules and prepare them for life after illegal entry into the UK.

The group has been recruiting volunteers from throughout Britain, most of them ex-students.

Once recruited, they make regular trips to France to give would-be migrants food, sleeping bags, books and even phones and bikes, as well as helping them to find squats in towns such as Calais.

They are also trained to advise on means of illegal entry into the UK and what to do once a migrant arrives here. ...

One piece of advice they give illegal immigrants is not to answer any questions if they are stopped by the UK Border Agency.

They tell migrants that officers have no right to stop them on the basis of race, and advise that the worst course of action would be to give away their name and date of birth – from which other biographical information could be easily traced.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration: Over the top
The Economist, 26 October 2013

... a new immigration bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons on October 22nd. This will oblige landlords and doctors to check the immigration status of their tenants and patients, make it harder for illegal immigrants to obtain bank accounts and driving licences and crack down harder on sham marriages. Appeals against immigration and asylum decisions will be granted only on fundamental human-rights grounds, not procedural ones.

The bill is the latest in a series of government efforts to reduce immigration. It follows curbs on student and work visas and changes designed to prevent the poor from importing spouses. Immigration is broadly unpopular in Britain, the illegal kind particularly so. The opposition Labour Party not only backed the new bill in the Commons but has pledged to amend it by introducing even tougher measures. Among other things, it would ban employers from running foreigner-only shifts.

Nobody knows quite how many people live in Britain illegally. A plausible estimate by the London School of Economics in 2009 put the number at 618,000, around 70% of whom live in London. That study relied on census data from 2001, and had a margin of error of 200,000. ...

... The vast majority of illegal immigrants arrived in Britain legally and then lost their right to stay. These divide roughly into two camps: people who overstay their visas and failed asylum seekers ...

Though a few will have driving licences and bank accounts acquired legally, illegal immigrants of all sorts tend to live outside formal society, which makes it difficult for the government to reach them through tough laws. ... ...

For such people, renting formally from letting agents is already almost impossible – few have the references and income required – so the government's new rules are unlikely to have much effect. Indeed, even legal immigrants tend not to use normal letting agents, preferring to use the informal sector. Flats are often let legally and then sublet to migrants through online exchanges (to which English speakers get no reply). Stricter controls will, however, inconvenience legitimate landlords. The Residential Landlords Association grumbles that members will need to learn to recognise up to 404 different European identity documents.

The same may prove true of doctors. Unlike many European countries, Britain has no formal identity-card system, so checking the residency rights of patients will be difficult, not to mention unpalatable. But few illegal immigrants use public services much, says Myriam Cherti of IPPR, a think-tank. They tend to avoid registering with doctors or visiting hospital when they fall ill, for fear of being asked awkward questions. ... ...

... Some illegal migrants marry European citizens; others finally win asylum. Some create family ties strong enough to stay under human-rights laws. And some push off. Last year 30,000 left Britain voluntarily, having breached immigration laws; another 15,000 were deported.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
'Go home' billboard vans not a success, says Theresa May
Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 22 October 2013

A billboard campaign, telling illegal immigrants to "Go home or face arrest" will not be repeated, the home secretary has said. Theresa May has apparently decided the controversial pilot scheme – where two advertising vans were driven around displaying the slogan and advertising a helpline advice to illegal migrants who want to leave the UK – was not effective.

The campaign was piloted in six London boroughs, featuring leaflets and posters with the message: "In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest."


Sources close to the home secretary told the Daily Mail the idea had not been successful – resulting in the voluntary repatriation of just one person.

The campaign had been robustly defended by Conservative immigration minister Mark Harper. Last week, he told the BBC's Question Time that the campaign might be rolled out across the country: "I don't see any problem with saying to people who have no right to be in the UK... they can't be here any more," he said.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – Europe
Budget airline tickets fuel illegal immigration into Europe, warns EU border chief
Colin Freeman
Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2013

Illegal immigration into Europe is being fuelled by airlines that sell budget tickets from North Africa for as little as £120, a senior European border control official has warned.

Migrants buy low-cost, one-way tickets from Morocco and Algeria to Turkey and then slip into Europe via Turkey's porous land borders with Greece and Bulgaria, according to Gil Arias, the deputy executive director of Frontex.

They are able to take advantage of a recent policy of so-called "visa diplomacy" on the part of Turkey, which has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East by relaxing visa restrictions for citizens from other Muslim nations.

The route is quicker and safer than taking a people-smuggling boat across the Mediterranean. Two such vessels sank earlier this month in the waters between Libya and Lampedusa in Italy, with the loss of more than 500 lives.

"Due to this visa policy by Turkey to the North African nations, people are flying to Istanbul on cheap flights and then on to Greece and more recently, Bulgaria," said Mr Arias, who previously served as a police inspector and border control official in Spain. "When they get there they discard their travel documents, and will sometimes pretend to be either Palestinians or Syrians in order to try to claim refugee status."

There is no suggestion that airlines are complicit in illegal immigration, but Mr Arias said Frontex was powerless to stop them carrying such passengers – mainly Moroccan and Algerian passport holders. He said there was no evidence in advance that the passengers were planning to cross into the European Union.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – politics, Liberal Democrats
Landlord immigration checks restricted after Lib Dem concerns
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 11 October 2013

Theresa May's scheme requiring all private landlords to check the immigration status of new tenants and lodgers has run straight into trouble with the Liberal Democrats, who have voiced concerns that it will increase homelessness and drive migrants underground into the hands of unscrupulous landlords.

A spokesman for Nick Clegg said the home secretary had been forced to agree to restrict the proposal this side of the next general election to a trial scheme in a single area, as the government introduced the immigration bill in the Commons.

"The Conservatives want to roll this out nationally but because of our concerns we will not agree to that. This will be piloted in a single area," the spokesman for the deputy prime minister said.

The Home Office acknowledged that the landlord checks will be introduced on a phased basis across England and Wales but insisted that the first phase was not a trial scheme: "This is not a pilot, as the bill published today makes clear.

"We plan to introduce the measure on a phased basis starting from next autumn. This is a sensible approach to ensure that we have the correct systems and infrastructure in place before rolling this out nationally."

But it is unlikely that the first phase, which will start next autumn, will be completed before the 2015 general election.

The plan to introduce checks on the immigration status of millions of private sector tenants is a central element of May's immigration bill published on Thursday, which is designed to "create a hostile environment for illegal migrants".

It is not the first time that the Lib Dems have secured concessions from the Conservatives during eight months of tortuous coalition negotiations over the bill. A move to require headteachers to carry out immigration checks on new pupils was also dropped. ...

May's bill also aims to make it easier to identify illegal immigrants by extending the powers of immigration officers to collect and check fingerprints and search for passports, introducing exit controls at airports and ports and extending the notification period for a marriage from 15 to 28 days to enable suspicious "sham" marriages to be investigated.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – identity checks
May: Living in UK to get tougher for illegal immigrants
BBC, 10 October 2013

Home Secretary Theresa May says illegal immigrants will find it much harder to settle in UK under planned new laws.

The Immigration Bill would force private landlords to quiz tenants about their immigration status and restrict access to bank accounts for people in the UK illegally.

It also aims to streamline the appeals process in immigration cases.

Labour said the bill did nothing about bigger problems like the "shambolic" state of UK border controls.

The bill will include measures to allow the UK to "deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later" when there is "no risk of serious irreversible harm".

A requirement is also included for temporary migrants, such as overseas students, to make a contribution to the National Health Service to prevent so-called "health tourism".

• New powers to check driving licence applicants' immigration status

• Cut the number of deportation decisions that can be appealed against from 17 to four

• Restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have previously been refused it

• Make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid civil penalties

• Clamp down on people who try to gain an immigration advantage by entering into a "sham" marriage or civil partnership

• Require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening bank accounts

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: "The Immigration Bill will stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here.

"We will continue to welcome the brightest and best migrants who want to contribute to our economy and society and play by the rules. But the law must be on the side of people who respect it, not those who break it."

Mrs May said the measures were about "making it harder for people who are here illegally to stay here". ...

The Conservatives say they want to reduce net migration from non-EU countries - the difference between the number of people emigrating and arriving in the UK - to less than 100,000 a year.

But the latest Office for National Statistics figures show net migration rose to 176,000 in the year ending December 2012 - up from 153,000 people in the year to September 2012 - appearing to buck the recent downward trend.

There are no official estimates of the number of illegal immigrants in the UK. A 2009 study by the London School of Economics produced an estimate of 618,000 but the Migration Watch pressure group said this under-estimated the number of people who had overstayed their visas and the true figure was more like 1.1 million.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – identity checks
Immigration bill will require identity checks for all, home secretary is warned
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 10 October 2013

A system of identity checks for all, including British citizens, would have to be introduced to enforce the government's moves to curb access for illegal migrants to privately rented housing and to tackle alleged health tourists, leading immigration lawyers have told the home secretary.

The warnings came as Theresa May publishes her flagship immigration bill on Thursday, which will require immigration checks to be carried out before anyone can open a new bank account, be issued with a driving licence or access routine health treatment. ...

The Home Office confirmed the bill will:

• Require private landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants.

• Require temporary migrants, such as overseas students, who have only a "time-limited" immigration status, to make a contribution to the NHS. A £200 levy has been mentioned as an option.

• Require banks to check against a database of known immigration offenders before opening a bank account.

• Create new powers to check the immigration status of driving licence applicants and to revoke the licences of overstayers.

• Introduce "deport first, appeal later" policy for thousands facing removal who face no "risk of serious irreversible harm" from being sent back, and reduce grounds for appeal from 17 to four.

The bill will also restrict the ability of immigration detainees to apply repeatedly for bail if they have already been refused it and create stronger guidance for the courts on the use of human rights laws to prevent deportation, particulary the right to family life.

There are also plans to make it easier for the Home Office to recover unpaid fines on companies who employ illegal migrants, and local authorities may face fines for letting social housing to tenants without a direct connection to a local area.

However, leading lawyers, landlords, immigration welfare charities and housing organisations have warned that the bill will lead to a real risk of increased homelessness, including of families, and widespread discrimination.

The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (Ilpa) has told May her plan for millions of private landlords to face "proportionate" fines of up to £3,000 if they fail to conduct checks on the immigration status of new tenants and other adults living in their properties, is unworkable.

The lawyers say the combination of the new housing and health checks with existing checks carried out by employers and educational colleges, amounts to a system of identity checks for foreign nationals in Britain.

"What this means in practice is a system of identity checks for all, since it is necessary for British citizens or people with permanent residence to prove that they are lawfully present in the UK if and when checked," says the immigration lawyers' official response to the Home Office consultation. "British citizens, European economic area nationals and third country nationals alike would be required to produce identity documents at many turns in a scheme that would be intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive and likely racist and unlawful to boot," says the Ilpa response.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – public opinion
Public sceptical of need for tougher immigration rules as Theresa May is set to publish new bill
Nigel Morris
The Independent, 10 October 2013

The public does not support tougher restrictions on foreign nationals coming to Britain, but wants existing immigration rules to be properly enforced, a survey has disclosed.

The poll comes ahead of measures that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will announce today to reduce the number of migrants coming to this country.

She plans to limit their access to the health services and housing – a move the Government hopes will send out a strong deterrent message to foreign nationals heading to Britain.

However, a YouGov survey suggests the public believes the problem lies not with the system itself, but with the poor enforcement of existing rules by immigration officers.

It found that 60 per cent of people believed immigration rules were not properly applied, allowing too many illegal migrants to remain in Britain. By contrast, just 26 per cent said inadequate restrictions led to too many migrants settling legally.

The survey, carried out for the think-tank Migration Matters, also found the public was better informed than what was widely assumed about the scale of illegal immigration.

Just under half of those polled guessed that up to 10 per cent of migrants were in Britain illegally against an official estimate of between 8 and 15 per cent.

The public was sceptical about the ability of either the Conservatives or Labour to get to grips with the issue.

Asked who they trusted more to deliver the right level of immigration, 25 per cent named David Cameron and 13 per cent chose Ed Miliband, but 62 per cent said they trusted neither of the men or did not know.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
'Even if illegal immigration is an issue, targeting skin colour is unacceptable'
Mark Townsend
The Observer, 4 August 2013

Almost every shopper or traveller arriving at Walthamstow's tube station on Saturday seemed to agree. The sudden arrival, 48 hours earlier, of immigration officers who proceeded to question travellers about whether they had the right to be in the UK, arresting 12, has left a legacy of resentment and distrust.

Not everyone disapproved of the operations, which were carried out in targeted areas of Britain's cities last week. ...

But most locals believe that Walthamstow, one of Britain's most racially diverse districts, was selected purely on the grounds that it has a high population of immigrants, a decision they say is inherently discriminatory. ...

Those arrested on Thursday came from Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Ghana and are being considered for removal from the UK. Migrants' rights groups continue to accuse the Home Office of transforming the UK – particularly its most multicultural neighbourhoods – into a "hostile environment". ...

Although the immigration minister, Mark Harper, has insisted that "racial profiling" was not used and that no one was stopped unless the enforcing officers had reasonable suspicion that they were in the UK illegally, evidence has emerged that bona fide intelligence leads were not chased up.

Last week's developments surprised a number of Labour MPs, who said they had repeatedly tried to get the UKBA interested in "clear-cut cases" of illegal immigrants living in their constituencies, only to be ignored.

John Spellar, the Labour MP for Warley and Westminster, said he and his constituents had phoned, written and beseeched the authorities to act in the past to no avail. ...

According to Dr Martin Ruhs, a government adviser on migration, the goal is to look tough in tackling a problem that, in truth, is not as severe as the general public believes it to be.

"Broadly speaking, Britain does not have the sort of problem the US has. Illegal immigration in Britain is the major concern of the public.

"There is a disconnect between what the public perceive to be the size of the problem and what it is in practice," Ruhs told the Observer.

The most recent estimate of the number of illegal migrants and their UK- born children suggests a range of 524,000 to 947,000 at the end of 2007. But the numbers are old and contested. The authorities actually don't know who they are chasing or how many illegal immigrants there are.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – politics
Ukip condemns Home Office roundup of suspected illegal immigrants
Patrick Wintour and Shiv Malik
The Guardian, 3 August 2013

A Home Office roundup of suspected illegal immigrants was condemned on Friday by the Ukip leader Nigel Farage as deeply disturbing, as Labour called on the home secretary to reveal whether the sweep had broken official guidelines on how to conduct stop and search operations.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) also said it was investigating the incident.

The sweep by the UK Border Agency, mainly at rail stations, has caused a furore, partly because the Home Office issued press releases and Twitter updates saying how many "immigration offenders" had been arrested, apparently prejudging their guilt.

The Twitter updates followed the Home Office use of vans warning illegal immigrants that they must "go home" or face arrest.

Farage said: "Spot checks and being demanded to show your papers by officialdom are not the British way of doing things. Yes, of course we want to deal with illegal immigration, but what's the point of rounding people up at railway stations if at the same time they're still flooding in through Dover and the other nearly hundred ports in this country.

"I'm astonished that the Home Office has become so politicised that they're actually advertising 'another 10 arrested'. Before long they'll be live video-streaming these arrests. I don't like it. It really is not the way we've ever behaved or operated as a country. We don't have ID cards; we should not be stopped by officialdom and have to prove who we are."

He said the solution lay in proper checks at the borders. ...

Mark Harper, the home office minister, defended the operations, saying the police had legitimate powers to search and arrest so long as it was based on intelligence and reasonable suspicion that they were offenders.

"I'm confident we have robust rules to make sure we're not discriminating against people under the law. I'm confident we'll be able to show to the EHRC's satisfaction that we haven't been discriminating."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – politics
Human rights 'farce' over migrant checks
Anil Dawar
Daily Express, 3 August 2013

Britain's equalities watchdog was accused of creating a farce yesterday after it demanded the Home Office prove that a controversial anti-illegal immigrant programme was not racist.

Immigration officers and police carried out a series of stop-and-check operations around London railway stations this week.

This led to the arrest of more than a dozen suspected illegal immigrants.

The Home Office said their operations were "based on intelligence".

But the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an inquiry yesterday to see if it breached discrimination rules by using "racial profiling". ...

Critics hit out at the "farcical situation". Euro MP Gerard Batten said: "This is an absolutely outrageous intervention in the Home Office's ability to carry out the law.

"Illegal immigrants are bound to be foreigners by their very nature. The equalities commission is tying the authorities' hands behind their backs as they try to make an effort to deal with what we know is a massive problem.

"This is a farcical situation created by the human rights industry."

The Home Office defended its tactics in the face of the investigation. A spokesman said: "The operations were intelligence led. Our policy is very clear – immigration officers must not engage a person on the basis of their appearance, race, colour, ethnic origin or nationality."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
'Go home' immigration posters are already working, Downing Street claims
Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 30 July 2013

Downing Street has claimed that the Home Office's controversial "go home" immigration campaign is "already working" and suggested the scheme could be rolled out across the country.

According to David Cameron's spokesman there has been a "great deal of interest" from illegal immigrants voluntarily calling a Government helpline and asking how to leave the country.

However, Downing Street later indicated that the Home Office has not actually provided any statistics that prove the scheme is working and that officials have merely told their Number 10 counterparts that it has been a success. ...

A Home Office source later said that the vans pilot had only ended on Sunday and that statistics on the scheme may not yet have been compiled.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Racism? It is not racist to ask people who are here illegally to leave Britain
Mark Harper, Immigration Minister
Daily Mail, 30 July 2013

All mobile billboards aimed at illegal immigrants do is inform people who have no right to be here that the Government will help them return home voluntarily.

But the reaction they have generated from the Left and the pro-immigration industry has been astonishing. They have denounced that simple message as 'racist'.

Let me clear this up once and for all – it is not racist to ask people who are here illegally to leave Britain. It is merely telling them to comply with the law.

Our campaign targets illegal immigrants without any discrimination at all between them. By no stretch of the rational imagination can it be described as 'racist'.

Furthermore, the campaign is not meant to, and does not, discourage legal immigrants who have earned the right to live or settle in Britain. To claim that the poster campaign is unfair to legal migrants is silly.

You might as well claim that those posters asking us all to tell the authorities about people cheating the welfare system are unfair to benefit cheats – or to the millions of people who play by the rules and claim only what they are legally entitled. ...

The recent poster campaign is a pilot restricted to London. If it works effectively in increasing the number of illegal immigrants who comply with the law and leave Britain, we would want to extend it.

It could result in very significant savings to hard-working taxpayers: forcibly removing an illegal immigrant costs around £15,000. ...

But illegal immigration must be tackled. If the poster campaign helps with that, why would anyone be opposed to it?
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
Mo's breaking records, but other migrants are breaking the law
Boris Johnson
Daily Telegraph, 29 July 2013

Illegal immigrants have every opportunity to make their case to remain in Britain, and we have courts full of eloquent lefty lawyers ... taking prodigious sums of taxpayers' money to vindicate the human rights of their clients.

Such is the ingenuity of these lawyers that all government strategies to deal with these illegals have so far failed. Indeed, we already have a de facto amnesty for all illegal immigrants who have been able to stay here for a long time. Ask the Home Office how many illegal immigrants have been deported, after being here for more than 10 years. The number is tiny. For most hard-working and otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants there is virtually no chance that they will be deported – and yet they cannot pay tax, cannot take part in the legal economy, and certainly cannot run for their country.

It is certainly not racist to point out this absurdity, since illegals come from all ethnic groups. It is not anti-immigrant to point this out, since illegals make a nonsense of the efforts of other immigrants to do the right thing and secure leave to remain. One way or another illegals need to regularise their position, and preferably to pay taxes like everyone else.

This poster campaign is unlikely, in itself, to solve the problem that expanded so massively under the last Labour government. But you surely can't blame the Coalition for trying to enforce the law.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
'Go home' ad campaign aimed at illegal immigrants is stupid and offensive, says Vince Cable
James Legge
The Independent on Sunday, 28 July 2013

Vince Cable has condemned as "stupid and offensive" the Home Office's use of adverts encouraging illegal immigrants to "go home, or you'll be picked up and deported."

The Business Secretary said the signs, which were paraded through six London boroughs on the back of a lorry, were designed to stoke unnecessary fears about immigration.

Mr Cable told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show the Liberal Democrats had not been consulted about the van campaign, rubbished "misleading" targets to reduce net migration, and insisted Britain did not have a vast problem with illegal immigrants.

He said: "It was stupid and offensive. I think it is very unlikely it will continue."

He further questioned whether illegal immigrants have the "sophisticated grasp of English" required to understand the message at a distance.

He said: "It is designed, apparently, to sort of create a sense of fear (in the) British population that we have a vast problem with illegal immigration.

"We have a problem but it's not a vast one. It's got to be dealt with in a measured way dealing with the underlying causes."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – Malta, United Nations
Should 'illegal' immigrants be rebranded as 'irregular' immigrants? The UN thinks so
Colin Freeman
Telegraph blog, 23 July 2013

I was in Malta last week, reporting on the problems the country is facing with illegal immigration. Large numbers of Africans are claiming asylum there after arriving on people trafficking boats from Libya, and the Maltese are up in arms about it. ... ...

... According to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Malta, which gave me a leaflet about what words to use when discussing this issue, it's wrong to use the term "illegal". The reason is that most of those who arrive in Malta claim asylum, and even though they are locked up while their claims are processed, that detention is "administrative and not criminal". Also frowned upon is the word "clandestine", which has a "strong negative connection, invoking a sense of criminality". Instead, it recommends the phrase "irregular migrants".

True, some American news organisations have followed the UN's line on this one for a while. The Associated Press, whose house style book is highly influential, stopped using the words "illegal immigrant" in 2009. ... ...

Besides, if the word "illegal" carries certain connotations, does the word "irregular" not also do so? ...

... In the space of just ten years, a country of 400,000 people currently has become home to 5,000 illegal immigrants, many of them near destitute when they arrive. Which, given that it is roughly 150 times smaller than Britain, is the equivalent of 750,000 coming to the UK's shores. ...

Nor, to play the UNHCR at its own game, is using the word "illegal" necessarily derogatory. It simply describes the manner of their arrival in the country. ...

Ask the Somalis who use the services of people-smuggling gangs to go across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, for example. As I discovered on a trip out there with the Royal Navy a few years ago, the gangs' standard escape tactic if approached by a naval boat is to throw several passengers overboard, knowing the ship would have to stop to pick them up first while they got away.

Make no mistake, people traffickers are the modern day equivalent of slave traders, the only difference being that these days, they have sidelines in drugs and weapons smuggling too. Yes, of course they are more culpable than the people they exploit, just as heroin traffickers get heavier sentences than heroin addicts. But to describe their cargo as simply "irregular" rather than illegal is a sophistry that risks detracting from the very real criminality of what they do.

In fairness to the UNHCR in Malta, its response to the recent illegal immigration row has been a measured one. Rather than simply denouncing anti-immigration sentiment as "racist", the organisation has done awareness programmes and public opinion surveys across Malta, much of which at least acknowledges that there is a debate to be engaged in.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Is this the most ridiculous Home Office stunt yet? Vans encourage illegal immigrants to send texts for free advice on getting home
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 23 July 2013

Border officials have come up with a new way of encouraging illegal immigrants to go home: asking them nicely.

A £10,000 advertising campaign designed to tempt illegal immigrants to leave the UK without facing arrest and deportation was launched yesterday – and immediately branded 'breathtakingly stupid'.

It is the latest attempt by the Home Office to target nearly 200,000 people thought to have stayed in Britain illegally after their visas expired.

Ministers said the campaign offered migrants an 'alternative to being led away in handcuffs'.

The advert states: 'In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest. Text HOME to 78070 for free advice, and help with travel documents. We can help you return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention.' ...

However the advert also comes with a warning – that anyone who refuses to go will face arrest.

A source said it was 'a lot cheaper getting them on an easyJet flight than spending £11,000 removing someone from the country'.

Officials said the campaign, which cost £10,000, would pay for itself if just one migrant returned home.

But Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: 'The breathtaking stupidity of the people in charge of our immigration system knows no bounds. ...

'It actually is an indication of a weakness that we're having to implore people to leave the country. It's pathetic. The fact is there is absolutely zero effort made by law enforcement agencies to get people out when they have come in to the country unlawfully.' ...

In addition to the advert, leaflets carrying the same message will be left in newsagents, money transfer shops and internet cafes migrants are known to go to, and adverts placed in local newspapers.

Two vans will be driven around Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge this week showing the advert and displaying figures on how many illegal migrants have been arrested recently in each area. ...

More than 28,000 illegal migrants returned home voluntarily last year – but official estimates suggest there are nearly 200,000 illegal overstayers still in the country after their visas have expired.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – repatriation
Adverts urging illegal immigrants to leave UK attacked by ex-minister
Alan Travis
The Guardian, 23 July 2013

A former Liberal Democrat minister, Sarah Teather, has criticised a Home Office "go home or face arrest" mobile billboard advertising campaign as "nothing less than straightforward intimidation".

Teather, who accused ministers of "cranking up the anti-migrant rhetoric", is MP for Brent Central, in one of six London boroughs where the week-long pilot scheme to encourage illegal migrants to leave Britain is taking place this week. ...

Teather said: "This is the latest in a string of Home Office announcements that are designed to make the government look tough on immigration. But I fear that the only impact of this deeply divisive form of politics will be to create tension and mistrust to anyone who looks and sounds foreign. These adverts are nothing less than straightforward intimidation and à can only have bad consequences for communities like those I represent in Brent, where people from all faiths and races have mixed for decades. We will all be much poorer for it."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – deportation
Only one in every 100 reports of illegal immigration results in deportation
Tom Whitehead
Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2013

Only one in every 100 reports of illegal immigration has resulted in someone being removed from the country, the Home Office has admitted.

A special database set up last September has already logged more than 48,000 allegations of illegal migrants from the public and others but only 660 people have been removed.

Dave Wood, head of the immigration enforcement directorate, defended the response and told MPs allegations rarely provided sufficient information or intelligence on which to act.

It also emerged that appeals against deportation by foreign national criminals increased by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year and are now running at more than 50 a week. ...

The figures emerged during evidence before the Commons home affairs select committee.

The Home Office's Allegations Management System (AMS) was introduced in September 2012 to record all allegations concerning illegal immigration.

Up to June this year, there had been 48,660 allegations logged on the system, of which 2,695 claims led to visits by immigration enforcement officers.

Those investigations resulted in 1,840 arrests being made and 660 removals.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – amnesty, border controls
Give illegal immigrants an amnesty to stay in Britain, says Boris Johnson despite PM's warnings of looking like a 'soft touch'
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 2 July 2013

Boris Johnson today put himself on a collision course with David Cameron as he revived calls for an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

The Mayor of London said the government had to be 'honest' that when someone has been in Britain for 15 or 20 years 'authorities no longer really pursue you'.

But the Prime Minister has rejected the idea, warning last week that it would send out a 'terrible signal of Britain as a soft touch'. ...

But Mr Johnson said the failure of border agency staff and the police to find illegal immigrants and send them home meant there was already effectively an amnesty in place.

And he blamed 'ambulance-chasing lawyers' who clogged up the legal system with repeated appeals against deportation.

Appearing on his new monthly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, the London Mayor said: 'This is a chronic problem and if you look at what has happened in this country over the last 20 years, we have continuously failed to evict anybody.

'If you look at the number of people who are staying here illegally and you measure that against the number that are meant to be on planes, it is absolutely astonishingly small.

'The culture of human rights, the immense power of the ambulance-chasing lawyers who immediately come in and offer people protection against eviction, insert all sorts of delays into the procedure. It is blindingly difficult to get people on to planes.

'They melt away into the maquis, into the undergrowth, and they are lost again. It is one of the reasons people lost confidence in the immigration system.'

Mr Johnson said he remained convinced about the need for an amnesty despite the fact that Mr Cameron and other party leaders 'turned their machine guns on me' when he first suggested it in 2008.

'We effectively have it,' he said after being asked about a recent operation to remove dozens of Romanian squatters from a derelict former football club in the capital.

'If you have been here for 10 or 12 years, I'm afraid the authorities no longer really pursue you. They give up. Why not be honest about what is going on?

'Ultimately you have got to reflect reality. Otherwise they are not engaged in the economy, they are not being honest with the system, they are not paying their taxes properly and it is completely crazy.

'But the key thing is to kick 'em out - get them before they hit first base. Stop them coming in such numbers and be much, much tougher in your general approach to borders.'

The Lib Dems suggested an amnesty in their 2010 election manifesto, but leader Nick Clegg ditched the policy in March because it was 'seen by many as a reward for breaking the law'.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – amnesty, politics
David Cameron slaps down MP Nadhim Zahawi who wants amnesty for illegal immigrants
Martyn Brown and Macer Hall
Daily Express, 29 June 2013

David Cameron hit out yesterday at a Tory MP who called for an amnesty for all illegal immigrants.

The Prime Minister said letting border cheats stay would send a "terrible signal" around the world that Britain is a soft touch.

His rebuke came after backbencher Nadhim Zahawi urged a one-off amnesty for more than half a million illegal immigrants. ...

But Mr Cameron, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels, said: "It's not what we are going to implement. I've never supported an amnesty. I think that it would send a terrible signal."

He added: "Nadhim Zahawi is a very bright MP who's got a lot to offer the Conservative Party, got a lot to offer the country.

"I'm all for MPs thinking independently and coming up with good ideas, but this is not a good idea."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – amnesty
Grant all illegal immigrants an amnesty, says Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi
Nigel Morris
The Independent, 27 June 2013

Illegal immigrants should be given a one-off amnesty allowing them to remain in Britain, in a "seismic" policy shift designed to improve relations between the Conservatives and ethnic minorities, a prominent Tory MP has said.

Nadhim Zahawi's provocative call will put him at odds with the party's leadership, which strongly opposes the move, although it has been advocated by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Opponents argue that offering an amnesty would make Britain a magnet for immigrants.

But Mr Zahawi, who is tipped as a future minister, insisted the step could boost the economy – and help repair the Tories' tarnished reputation among minority voters. He said: "We shouldn't be afraid to think outside of our comfort zone." At the last election, the Tories picked up just 16 per cent of the black and Asian vote, while more than two-thirds supported Labour. "Our failure to appeal to ethnic minorities should send loud alarm bells ringing in Downing Street and Central Office," Mr Zahawi said. "Unless we act now this electoral penalty will only get worse."

The MP for Stratford-upon-Avon's call came in an essay for a new think-tank, provisionally called Right Revival, to be launched next month, with the aim of finding ways of reaching out to sections of the electorate hostile to the Tories. ...

The Independent disclosed last year that David Cameron ordered a drive to build support among voters from immigrant backgrounds. He is pressing for more black and Asian people to be made "A-list" candidates and for the party to step up efforts to engage non-white communities. ... ...

Mr Zahawi, who co-founded the market research company YouGov, said he had commissioned polling which found ethnic-minority voters backed Tory policies on benefits, taxation and ring-fencing health spending and even reducing non-European immigration. But when respondents were asked which party was most in touch with their needs, just 6 per cent named the Conservatives, compared with 53 per cent who cited Labour. ...

In 2009, study by the London School of Economics an amnesty for long-term illegal immigrants could be worth £3bn to the economy. It also said migration would not increase because the UK has no land borders, except between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The campaign for an amnesty was led in the last Parliament by Citizens UK, the largest alliance of community groups in Britain.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – driving licences
We'll drive out illegals. Migrants to have car licences seized
Graeme Wilson
The Sun, 18 June 2013

Illegal immigrants will have their driving licences seized under a new crackdown, The Sun can reveal.

Thousands were given them before checks were beefed up in 2010.

Now they will be forced to hand them over unless they can prove they have a right to be here.

The legislation will also make clear driving licence applications from immigrants can be refused if they have less than six months left in the country.

This would include those on short-term visas as well as failed asylum seekers.

Ministers believe the measure is a vital weapon to target illegals from outside the EU who have flocked to Britain over the last decade.

Many use the licences as a proof of identity so they can open bank accounts, rent a property or get a mobile phone. The documents can even help them get a National Insurance number.

And they can find work as minicab or van drivers.

The immigration Bill is also set to restrict migrants' access to the NHS and make it easier to deport foreigners convicted of serious crimes.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said it was another important step in the battle against illegals.

He told The Sun: "Restricting access to driving licences will make day-to-day life more difficult for illegal migrants. It is vital we remove the pull factors that draw them to the UK."

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond added: "Whether opening a bank account or simply getting from A to B, driving licences provide access to a range of services.

"They can be vital tool in helping migrants to establish a foothold in the UK and it is clearly both sensible and fair to restrict them to those who are here legally."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – housing
Plans to force millions of private landlords to carry out immigration checks on tenants to be watered down
Christopher Hope
Daily Telegraph, 27 May 2013

Plans to force millions of private landlords to vouch safe for the immigration status of their tenants are to be watered down, with the new rules only applying to certain problem areas in the country.

A new Bill to force buy-to-let landlords to vouch for the immigration status of their tenants was a key part of the Queen's speech earlier this month. ...

Officials in Mr Pickles' department are now working on applying the change only in areas where immigrants are known to live in "high occupation" houses, such as in places like Ealing and Hounslow. Further details are expected when the Immigration Bill is published later this year.

The source said: "It is a question of getting the balance right and targeting the regulations at high risk areas and not to over-regulate the whole market."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – education
David Laws vetoes plan to force schools to check immigrant status of pupils
Nicholas Watt
The Guardian, 22 May 2013

A proposal to require schools to check on the immigration status of their pupils has been shelved after the Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws decided the idea would be bureaucratic and difficult to implement.

In a sign of the Lib Dems' determination to assert themselves in the coalition, Laws told the education secretary Michael Gove the proposal was a "non-flyer".

According to Whitehall emails leaked to the Guardian in March, Laws asked officials earlier this year to carry out a "cost-benefit analysis" of carrying out checks on the immigration status of pupils "as part of school admissions".

Laws, who was understood to be sceptical about the idea, ordered the analysis after officials warned ministers that Britain would be in breach of the UN convention on the rights of the child if it attempted to ban illegal immigrant children from schools.

The ideas were being considered as part of the work of a ministerial committee, chaired by the immigration minister Mark Harper, that has been charged with drawing up new restrictions on immigrants.

Downing Street wants these in place ahead of the lifting of labour market restrictions on workers from Romania and Bulgaria next January.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – costs, healthcare
Queen's Speech: Crackdown on free access to NHS will not be law until mid-2014
Christopher Hope, Robert Winnett and Peter Dominiczak
Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2013

A crackdown on migrants accessing free health services is rapidly unravelling as it was criticised by doctors and ministers were unable to provide details of how it would work.

The Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier this year that migrants would have their access to the health service restricted to try to dissuade foreigners from coming to live here. ...

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt was unable to say how the changes would work while Downing Street sources said they were unlikely to be law until the middle of next year because of a long official consultation period.

The plans were immediately criticised by doctors and senior Liberal Democrats. The Royal College of General Practitioners warned against the danger of turning GPs into a form of immigration control.

The college's chairman Dr Clare Gerada said: "GPs must not be a new 'border agency' in policing access to the NHS. ...

Under other plans, which were disclosed by The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, almost two million buy-to-let property owners will be responsible for checking the immigration status of potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for those breaking the law.

Employers will also face "more substantial" fines for taking on illegal immigrants while the ability of European immigrants to claim benefits when they get to the UK will be limited. ...

Jeremy Hunt struggled to explain how the crackdown would work when he was pressed on the BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

Mr Hunt insisted the Queen's Speech was only about "announcing areas we are going to tackle" and said that ministers will provide further details "when the time is right". ...

The legislation would be published in September at the earliest and would be unlikely to become law until the middle of next year, Downing Street sources said.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – tenants, healthcare
Landlords told: vet migrant tenants
Robert Winnett
Daily Telegraph, 8 May 2013

Private landlords will be legally responsible for ensuring that they only let properties to people allowed to be in Britain under immigration laws to be announced in tomorrow's Queen's Speech.

Almost two million buy-to-let property owners will be responsible for checking the immigration status of potential tenants, with fines running into thousands of pounds for those breaking the law. Employers will also face "more substantial" fines for taking on illegal immigrants.

The measures are likely to prompt questions over whether ordinary people and employers are being made responsible for policing the immigration system after repeated failures by the UK Border Agency. They are included in an Immigration Bill which will also limit the ability of European immigrants to claim benefits and ensure that the right to reside in Britain on the basis of family commitments is not abused by criminals.

Temporary migrants will also be charged for using the NHS and only those who have lived in an area for at least two years will qualify for social housing.

The legislation has been drawn up as the Coalition struggles to contain the electoral threat posed by the UK Independence Party, which has wooed voters with its hard-line immigration policies. ...

The details of how the measures will be implemented will be set out later in the year. The plans will be the subject of a formal consultation in the coming months. ...

Regulations will also be amended to ensure that European immigrants cannot claim "certain benefits for more than six months" if they do not actively seek work and show they have a genuine chance of seeking employment. Other measures will limit the right of immigrants to claim legal aid, closing a loophole which allows those here illegally to rack up taxpayer-funded bills fighting deportation.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – USA
Immigration Sophistry
Thomas Sowell, 13 April 2013

Most laws are meant to stop people from doing something, and to penalize those who disregard those laws. More generally, laws are meant to protect the society from the law breakers.

But our immigration laws are different. Here the whole focus is on the "plight" of those who have broken the laws, and on what can be done to lift the stigma and ease the pressures they feel, so that they can "come out of the shadows" and "normalize" their lives.

Merely using the word "illegal" to describe their breaking the law is considered to be a sign of mean-spiritedness, if not racism. ...

On the other hand, if an ordinary American citizen breaks a law, no one cares if he has to live in fear for years – "in the shadows," as it were – worrying that his illegal act will be discovered and punished. No one bothers to come up with euphemisms to keep from calling what he did illegal.

No cities announce that they will provide "sanctuary," so that American shoplifters, or even jay-walkers, will be protected from the law. But, in some places, illegal immigrants are treated almost as if they were in a witness protection program.

What is even more remarkable about this special treatment is that you are not supposed to think about it as special treatment. ... ...

Impressive feats of sophistry have become the norm in discussions of illegal immigration.

For example, we are told that there is no way that the government can find all the people who are in the country illegally and deport them. Does anyone imagine that the government can find all the embezzlers, drunk drivers or bank robbers in the country? And does anyone think that this is a reason why the government should stop trying to enforce laws against embezzlement, drunk driving or bank robbery? Or let embezzlers, drunk drivers and bank robbers "come out of the shadows" and "normalize" their lives?

Even if the government does not lift a finger to find illegal immigrants, many will come to the attention of law enforcement officials because of their violations of other laws. But, even then, there is no assurance that they will be deported – and certainly not in "sanctuary" cities.

Why are there immigration laws in the first place? For the benefit of the American people – not for the benefit of people in other countries who want to come here.

But political and media elites treat the American people as if they are the problem – a problem to be circumvented with sophistry and pious promises about border security that have not been kept in all these years since the last amnesty, decades ago. ...

What should American immigration policy be? It doesn't matter what any of us think that policy should be if the borders are not secure, because whoever wants to come across that border will come across anyway, in defiance of whatever the policy might be.

If legal benefits are conferred on illegal immigrants before the border is secured, we may as well give up any pretense that we have an immigration policy, because benefits conferred are never going to be taken back, no matter how porous the border remains.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – European Union
Call illegals 'irregulars' says Eurocrat
Daily Express, 5 April 2013

A senior Eurocrat sparked outrage last night after calling for the phrase "illegal immigrant" to be banned from the European Union.

Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's home affairs commissioner, said she wanted to "eradicate" the term from Brussels documents.

She has instructed EU Commission staff to refer to foreigners who break border control laws as "irregular migrants" or simply "people" instead. ...

Mrs Malmstrom spoke out about the phrase "illegal immigrant" on Twitter yesterday. She praised the US news agency Associated Press, which dropped the phrase from its handbook on writing style for journalists.

In a message, she wrote: "The EU should follow. I've worked to eradicate the term 'illegal immigrant' from all commission docs. No human being is 'illegal', ever."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – education
Crackdown on 'education tourists' targets illegal immigrant children as Swedish PM slams Cameron's attempts to curb UK's soft touch image
Matt Chorley
Daily Mail, 28 March 2013

Children of illegal immigrants would be banned from schools under plans drawn up for ministers to curb the impact of 'education tourists'.

The idea was put forward by officials told to find ways to limit migrants' access to benefits, housing, and the NHS but has been blocked by ministers. ...

It is estimated that there could be 120,000 children in the UK without legal immigration status.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – education
Ministers planning immigration crackdown on 'education tourists'
Shiv Malik and Peter Walker
The Guardian, 28 March 2013

Ministers are considering a plan to require schools to check the immigration status of their pupils, as part of a crackdown on "education tourists".

The policy proposal is being weighed up by ministers who make up the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on migrants' access to benefits and public services, according to a chain of leaked emails written by officials of the Department for Education (DfE) in the past week.

The emails from civil servants advising the IMG – which includes schools minister David Laws and immigration minister Mark Harper – suggest that the group considered banning illegal immigrant children from schools. However, the civil servants warned that the UK would be in contravention of article 28 of the UN convention on the rights of the child if ministers took that step.

One study published last May by Oxford University's centre on migration, policy and society estimated there were 120,000 children living in the UK without legal immigration status. ...

In a lengthy memo sent on Friday to David McVean, deputy director of the DfE, one civil servant reported on the next steps the department would take to "support the [IMG] on migration".

"The group has asked that DfE looks further at the feasibility of carrying out checks on migrant status as part of school admissions," the email said. "David Laws has asked for a cost-benefit analysis of carrying out the checks. I think this needs to consider evidence of the extent of existing problems – Home Office have already provided some estimates for the number of illegal migrant children in English schools – ... [and] how migrant status information could be used.

"I think members of IMG have agreed that there should not be a bar on illegal migrants going to school – David Laws certainly sees this as a red line."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – education
Surge in foreign students who come to Britain then disappear
Ben Leach and David Barrett
Sunday Telegraph, 24 March 2013

Fears over the number of immigrants exploiting the student visa system to enter Britain illegally have been raised by a Telegraph investigation.

More than 100,000 foreign students were suspected of abusing the system to get into the country last year, 20 times the figure of two years ago.

The disclosure raises concerns that tough new rules brought in to clamp down on abuse of the system are being routinely flouted.

Under the regulations introduced in 2009, anyone from outside the European Union coming to study full-time in Britain must be sponsored by a college or university licensed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Institutions must also report any concerns to immigration officials.

The new figures, obtained by The Telegraph using freedom of information laws, reveal that the UKBA received 106,698 warnings about foreign students in the academic year 2011/12. This compares with 77,757 the previous year and just 4,795 in the 12 months before that. Over the same period, the total number of foreign students has risen only slightly, from 405,805 in 2009/10 to 435,235 in 2011/12.

This newspaper has also established that some colleges have been able to get around the licensing rules by registering multiple colleges at the same site so they can transfer students between them.

David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth and a former member of the home affairs select committee, said the figures suggested the scale of student visa abuse for the first time. "Colleges are under new obligations to make these reports and they indicate how it is highly likely that large numbers of foreign students have abused the system over many years," he said.

"Ministers were right to require colleges to report on missing students, despite all the criticism they received for doing so, and colleges were wrong to complain about it. The Government must continue to work hard to stamp out such abuse of British hospitality."

The UKBA was not able to say what happened to all of the students about whom it was alerted. Last year, the organisation was criticised in an official report for ignoring tens of thousands of such warnings from universities and colleges about foreign students, suggesting that many of them could have remained in the country. ...

... Almost 200,000 student visas were issued in 2011/12 and about 1,800 universities, colleges and language schools are registered as student sponsors.

The student visa system has been hit by a series of controversies in recent months. In August last year, border officials stripped London Metropolitan University of its right to sponsor overseas students. The following month, it emerged that the UKBA had ignored tens of thousands of warnings from universities and colleges about foreign students.

It meant that 23,000 bogus students were allowed to remain in Britain when they should have been sent home. Many have still not been traced. In November last year, it emerged that foreign students were responsible for a backlog of more than 300,000 asylum claims.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – amnesty, politics
Nick Clegg abandons illegal immigrant amnesty proposal
Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, 23 March 2013

Nick Clegg announced on Friday that he was abandoning the Liberal Democrats' support for a so-called amnesty for illegal immigrants, one of the central planks of his party's 2010 election manifesto.

The party had promised an earned route to citizenship for any illegal immigrant who had been in the UK for 10 years. But in a wide-ranging speech on immigration, designed to be seen alongside a separate immigration speech from David Cameron due on Monday, Clegg admitted the policy "was seen by many as a reward for breaking the law". ...

Clegg said he had asked the former local government minister Andrew Stunell to conduct a review of Lib Dem immigration policy, but he said the earned citizenship policy "risked undermining public confidence in the immigration system" and that confidence in the system was an essential building block of cohesion and tolerance.

Party polling has shown that the so-called amnesty was one of the most unpopular policies they put in front of the electorate, and was seen as a drag in pulling over centre-ground voters.

Clegg said of the genesis of the policy: "We felt it was an honest and pragmatic solution given the chaos in the Home Office and the obvious failure by Labour to identify where thousands of illegal immigrants were." He added that the party had thought it was better to get illegal immigrants "to pay their taxes and make a proper contribution to our society, than to continue to live in the shadows".

Clegg also revealed he would like to see the maximum fines for employers hiring an illegal immigrant double to £10,000 per illegal worker. He said: "Employers need to get the message: they have an inescapable duty to employ people who are working here legally ... Not to turn a blind eye to those working illegally." ...

Clegg said he agreed with the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, that politicians must avoid an "arms race of rhetoric" on immigration: "That kind of low populism patronises the British people and is an insult to the many migrants who have contributed to our country," he said. "British society has been shaped by migrant communities in ways more profound than any cliche about chicken tikka masala or Notting Hill carnival or Polish builders can ever express."

Clegg denied there was a conspiracy of silence on immigration from politicians, saying worries had been met with words, posturing talk and little or no action. He complained: "Plenty's been said. The problem is, not enough's been done."
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – deportation
£100m a year to kick out illegal immigrants: Removing one person who has no valid passport or visa can cost £25,000
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail, 13 March 2013

Booting out migrants who arrive without a visa or valid passport may be costing up to £100 million a year.

At least 4,000 foreigners enter the UK every 12 months despite having no right to be here.

Each costs as much as £25,000 to remove – putting the potential annual bill at £100 million.

Officials admit however that the illegals are often allowed to stay. Many will claim asylum, or be impossible to remove because they do not have a passport and will not co-operate with investigators.

Last night ministers warned that such individuals pose a significant risk to national security.

In many cases officials will have no idea who they are, where they are from or if they have a criminal or terrorist history.

Many are thought to come from countries it is difficult to return them to because of human rights issues, including Uganda, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Details of the problem emerged as ministers launched a crackdown on undocumented migrants. Fines for airlines that allow them on to their planes will rise from £2,000 to up to £10,000 per migrant.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper admitted the numbers abusing the aircraft route was 'too high'. ...

The Home Office believes 4,100 migrants arrived on flights and ferries to the UK without proper documents in 2011.

Many carry counterfeit or forged passports that should be spotted when they try to board the plane. Others are allowed on to planes despite having expired documents.

Some flush their passports down the toilet during the flight to try to disguise their nationality and help them claim asylum. ...

The Home Office could not say how many of those who abuse this route into the UK are successfully removed from the country. ... ...

In 2009 the National Audit Office estimated that every failed asylum seeker costs between £3,000 and £25,000 to remove.

At first, many arrivals will be locked up in immigration detention centres, but they cannot be held behind bars indefinitely, and the courts may demand they be let out on to the streets if there is no prospect of prompt removal.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
We're on hi-de-hi road to Britain
Brian Flynn
The Sun, 4 March 2013

A holiday camp in Serbia is being used as a launch pad by illegal immigrants plotting to sneak into Britain to gain access to the NHS.

Migrants from Africa and Asia flock to the camp before crossing the border into Hungary – an EU state.

They then plan their route to the UK, drawn by our free healthcare.

The Serbian camp gives them en-suite rooms, free food, clothing and medical care. It also has a swimming pool, basketball court and giant TVs.

Outside, taxi drivers and trafficking gangs offer to help take migrants to the border with Hungary or smuggle them directly into the UK.

Some pay around £300 for a taxi to the border with Hungary and walk across fields knowing there will be no more checks until the English Channel.

Serbian officials say they are powerless to stop the migrants using the Bogovadja centre, which is run by the Red Cross.

Manager Stojan Sjekloca admitted: "Ninety per cent of people here are not interested in staying in Serbia. This is a springboard to Europe. Many end up in Britain."

The camp sits in woodland 40 miles outside the Serbian capital Belgrade and was converted in 2011 to cater for 150 asylum seekers.

Bogovadja – which costs £800,000 a year to run – has become overloaded. Up to 480 migrants are packed in at any one time – more than three times the number intended.

The Serbian government is even paying villagers £43 a month plus a fuel allowance to put up migrants.

Officials insist they do not want to act as a halfway house for Britain but United Nations rules mean they must care for anyone formally applying for asylum.

Mr Sjekloca said most Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Afghans who arrive at the camp choose the UK as their destination because of cultural and family ties.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration – deportation
Agency's £30m for failing to eject illegal immigrants from Britain
Marco Giannangeli and Kirsty Buchanan
Sunday Express, 17 February 2013

A £30 million "bounty hunter" contract to clear a backlog of 181,000 illegal immigration cases has not removed a single person from Britain in its first two months.

Now the contract, which involves e-mailing and texting people to ask when they will be leaving the country, faces collapse due to a suspected breach of the migrants' rights under data protection laws.

The Information Commissioner has launched an investigation into the deal between the UK Border Agency and Capita.
[Site link]


Illegal immigration
Enough illegal migrants to fill three cities the size of Newcastle: Home Office reports that 863,000 are living in the UK
James Slack
Daily Telegraph, 7 January 2013

Britain is hosting enough illegal immigrants to fill three cities the size of Newcastle, according to border officials.

A Home Office report says an estimated 70 per cent of the 863,000 illegal migrants are living in London.

The study also reveals that 10,000 foreigners who had no legal right to live in Britain have been granted permission to stay under the so-called 14-year rule.

It means they managed to stay in the country for so long without being booted out that the Government has now given up the fight.

Ministers say the situation is a legacy of Labour's shambolic handling of border controls.

The illegal immigrants are a mixture of those who sneaked into Britain in the back of lorries and those who arrived on visas but never went home.

Officials, overwhelmed by the foreign prisoners scandal and a deluge of asylum claims, did not have the resources to track them down.

The 'robust estimate' of how many illegals are living in the UK comes from the London School of Economics, and is included in a study titled Practical Measures for Reducing Irregular Migration. Ministers accept the figure.

The Home Office says the top five countries from which the illegals have arrived are believed to be India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, and Bangladesh.

This is based on the nationalities of those people the authorities have detected. ...

The illegal population – more than three times the 275,000 who live in Newcastle – will add sharply to the number of foreign-born nationals living here legally.

Earlier this month, the official Census showed that 7.5 million people who were born abroad were living here in 2011, of whom more than half have arrived since 2001.

The Home Office study sets out for the first time how many beneficiaries there have been of the 14-year rule.

This states that, once a migrant has lived in the UK for this long, he or she will have established a right to a family life and should not normally be kicked out.

Between 2004 and 2011, 9,266 'irregular migrants' were granted permission to stay, including a record figure of 2,062 in 2010.

The total is now understood to have breached the 10,000 barrier.
[Site link]



Immigration – border controls
Don't lift the border controls, grassroots Tories beg Cameron: Activists say he risk social unrest if the PM doesn't tear up plans
Tim Shipman
Daily Mail, 30 December 2013

David Cameron must reimpose controls on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants or risk social unrest, senior Tories demanded last night.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, seen by the Daily Mail, 90 activists and constituency chairmen demanded that he tear up plans to end transitional controls on January 1, saying the Government's position was untenable.

In a challenge to Mr Cameron's authority, the Conservative Grassroots group rubbishes claims by ministers that the Government is powerless to prevent what they call a 'destabilising wave of mass immigration'.

They demand that the Prime Minister uses a little-known clause in European Union law which allows governments to continue with border controls if their country is 'undergoing or foresees serious labour market disturbances'.

The loophole – known as a 'safeguard clause' – was used by Spain in 2011 to reimpose controls on Romanian migrants at a time when youth unemployment was running at 50 per cent.

The activists also call on Mr Cameron to stage an 'emergency' recall of Parliament to pass an amendment to the Immigration Bill, tabled by Tory MP Nigel Mills and supported by 70 Conservative MPs, to continue the restrictions on new arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria after Wednesday. ...

In the letter to Mr Cameron, Conservative Grassroots chairman Robert Woollard says that action to strip the new arrivals of full working rights is 'a matter of economic necessity'.

He warns: 'How are local authorities going to be able to support unrestricted new immigrant individuals and entire families without additional financial support or increased local taxation? The fiscal position is simply untenable, irrational and grossly unfair – and may lead to social unrest.'

He demands that transitional controls are extended until 2018, the year after Mr Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on Britain's relationship with Brussels. Describing the Government's position that it cannot act as 'perplexing', the letter continues: 'Long-term UK youth unemployment – at 21 per cent – is the third highest within EU & OECD countries.

'As such it is only logical for the UK – invoking the Spanish example of "exceptional circumstances" – to unilaterally exercise its opt-out on immigration matters under the Lisbon Treaty and extend the original restrictions to 2018 to allow the UK economy the space and time to reverse the long-term high youth unemployment trend.'

Attacking the Government's refusal to budge, the letter continues: 'You must be aware that this is an untenable political position given the widespread opposition of the British people – from all walks of life including ethnic minorities.

'It is also an unsustainable economic position in view of the huge pressure already placed on public services at a time when the country is still facing acute challenges within the economy.'
[Site link]


Immigration – national identity
Mass immigration is destroying our once great nation
Leo McKinstry
Daily Express, 30 December 2013

The day of destiny has almost arrived. Another stage is about to be reached in the destruction of national identity and our existence as an independent country. From the beginning of January, all restrictions will be lifted on immigration to Britain of people from Bulgaria and Romania. ...

The vast new influx of eastern European migrants will be the next step in the revolution that has engulfed our country in recent years. A relentless flood of arrivals, running at a rate of more than 500,000 a year, has already transformed the very fabric of our society. As a result of our open borders Britain is now the most overcrowded nation in Europe. ...

With five million foreigners arriving here since 2001 the pace and extent of the demographic change has been phenomenal.

At least a third of all babies born in Britain have at least one foreign parent, a figure rising to an astonishing 90 per cent in some London boroughs.

In several of our urban conurbations, such as Leicester, Slough and Luton, white British people are significantly in a minority. It is no wonder that many ordinary Britons now feel like aliens in their own land.

What is so sickening is that we never voted for this upheaval. Mass immigration and the creation of a multi-cultural society have all been imposed without a shred of democratic consent. Opinion polls show that the overwhelming majority of the public want tighter border controls.

Yet this natural instinct is treated with contempt by the bullying ideologues of the proimmigration brigade, who hurl accusations of racism and xenophobia against anyone who dares challenge their project. ...

... Mass immigration smashes the social contract on which civilisation depends. A nation can only function successfully when its people have shared values, a mutual sense of belonging and a universal moral code. But multi-culturalism and open borders promote division, segregation, and hierarchies of victimhood based on ethnic identities.

The higher the rates of immigration, the harder integration becomes. We are now a land scarred by practices that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, such as forced marriages, urban shanty towns, predatory grooming gangs, genital mutilation and tribal gangsterism. But such problems could just be the precursor of what is to come. "You Western Europeans have not quite registered the level of criminality you are about to face," says a retired Bulgarian colonel.

The EU and the self-styled progressives do not care about any of this. Mass immigration and the abolition of nationhood are central to their goal of a new federal entity in Europe. But the rest of us can only feel despair at what we are losing.
[Site link]


Immigration – Bulgarians, Romanians
UK 'cannot extend' migrant controls, says Grant Shapps
BBC, 30 December 2013

The UK has done all it can "within the law" to delay the lifting of work restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, a top Conservative has said.

Party chairman Grant Shapps said the deadline for ending temporary controls had already been extended by two years and this could not be done again.

Tory activists say there is scope within EU law to retain controls until 2018 under exceptional circumstances. ...

Mr Shapps said he had sympathy with those worried about the economic and social impact of future migration from Bulgaria and Romania, on top of that seen since Poland and nine other countries joined the EU in 2004.

But he said the "maximum" seven-year limit for transitional controls on migrants after their countries join the EU could not be extended under current arrangements.
[Site link]


Immigration – Bulgarians, Romanians
Exposed: What they DIDN'T tell you about new wave of migrants heading for booming Britain
Jonathan Petre and Simon Walters
Mail on Sunday, 29 December 2013

Bulgarians and Romanians will flock to Britain in far greater numbers than forecast as our economy races ahead of the rest of Europe, a secret report predicts.

After immigration controls are lifted this week, Britons could find their jobs are squeezed in some areas – while community tensions could rise as the new wave of migrants fight for work with other Eastern Europeans who have been settled in Britain for a decade, it suggests.

The Home Office-funded review – obtained by The Mail on Sunday – also suggests that the UK could lose out financially if low-paid Bulgarians and Romanians drive out Poles on higher wages, who pay more tax.

From Wednesday, Bulgarians and Romanians, known as A2 migrants, will have the same rights as other EU citizens to live and work throughout Europe, but Britain is likely to be seen as more attractive than other countries struggling to make an economic comeback.

The authoritative report by University of Reading academics was commissioned ahead of the change by a group of 74 councils in the South East of England, working with the UK Border Agency, police and health services, but has not been officially publicised.

Obtained under a Freedom of Information request, the 40-page report reveals that migration overall was likely to be beneficial to the UK but warns that:

In some regions, employment for British-born citizens has declined while jobs for 'not UK-born other white residents' [mainly Eastern Europeans] have increased – suggesting this gap could get worse.

Already overcrowded schools will struggle to find places for the children of the new arrivals.

Overstretched hospitals risk coming under fresh strain, and the housing crisis could get worse.

The cost to taxpayers of state handouts, such as Child Benefit, could go up.

Town halls may fail to collect enough council tax from new immigrants to pay for the extra services because they often crowd into one home and have 'makeshift accommodation arrangements'.

Bulgarians and Romanians could compete for the jobs of previous immigrants such as Poles, 'negatively effecting social cohesion'. ...

The study drawn up for the South East Strategic Partnership for Migration says that immigration restrictions 'are ending when employment across the EU is changing,' which could have an impact on migration patterns.

Significantly, it adds: 'Against this background it is feasible the UK might receive a larger share of A2 migrants than in the recent past.'
[Site link]


Immigration – public opinion
Britons ready to welcome migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, poll finds
Daniel Boffey
The Observer, 29 December 2013

Romanians and Bulgarians coming to the UK on New Year's Day will be welcomed by more than two-thirds of Britons if they integrate and work hard, a new poll suggests ahead of restrictions on them being lifted.

In spite of a surge of anti-immigrant rhetoric from leading politicians, British people are happy to accept migrants from the east of Europe who learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.

As many as 68% of those asked said they would be happy for migrants to come on those terms. That sentiment was particularly strong among people aged between 35 and 44, with 72% supporting their right to come to live and work in the UK.

The Ipsos Mori poll for the thinktank British Future comes in the wake of an intervention in the Observer by the president of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, who warned the British government not to abandon its traditional tolerance of immigrants in favour of isolation. ...

Yet, despite a barrage of negative publicity about the arrival of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria, the new poll finds that only one in four Britons (24%) believe that restricting the free movement of people, while staying in the EU, should be one of the government's priorities. A similar proportion (26%) said leaving the EU should be a priority if it does not change its rules on allowing people to come to the UK.

Nearly half (45%) said that enforcing the minimum wage was one of the most important ways of stopping business undercutting British workers by paying European workers less. Around one in five (22%) believed in the importance of managing the impact of immigration by, for example, giving more support to areas heavily affected.

The polling also showed that, while a significant majority did want a tightening of the welfare system (63%), just 2% of those asked believed that there was nothing migrants from Romania and Bulgaria could do to be accepted. This compares with 69% who said that learning the English language should be a priority for migrants, and 64% who said getting a job and paying taxes were among the key things to do.
[Site link]


Immigration – public opinion
Britain must keep Romanian and Bulgarian restrictions
Steven Swinford and Peter Dominiczak
Sunday Telegraph, 29 December 2013

Seven in 10 Britons believe David Cameron should retain restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants even if it means breaking European Union laws, according to a new poll for the Sunday Telegraph.

The ICM survey found that the public overwhelmingly backs a call by dozens of Conservative rebels for the Government to ban migrants from both countries coming to Britain for at least another five years.

The findings come amid fears that hundreds of thousands of migrants could arrive from Romania and Bulgaria – the poorest countries in the EU – when current restrictions are lifted on January 1. ...

The poll found that a sizeable majority of the public support the demand, with 72 per cent of people saying that Britain should keep current restrictions in place. Just 18 per cent oppose the move. ...

In response to the growing concerns, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has floated plans for an annual 75,000 cap on the number of EU migrants.

The suggestion increased Coalition tensions, with Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary, comparing the Conservative "rhetoric" on immigration to Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech.

However, the ICM/ Sunday Telegraph poll suggests significant support for the idea, with 49 per cent of people in favour of changing EU laws to limit the number of migrants who can move to Britain every year.

The option was preferred to another of Mr Cameron's policies – barring migrants from poorer European Union countries from coming to Britain – which received the support of just 14 per cent of the public.
[Site link]


Immigration – Romanians
Even Romanian MPs warn us that swarms of migrants are coming to live in UK
James Fielding
Sunday Express, 29 December 2013

Hundreds of thousands of Romanians will flock to the UK from other European countries in the New Year, the Sunday Express was told last night by one of the country's top MPs.

The largest wave will arrive from recession-hit Spain and Italy to take advantage of Britain's blossoming economy, warned the MP, Aurelian Mihai.

He said two million of his countrymen are thought to be living in the two Mediterranean countries but face racial abuse, a lack of job prospects and no access to unemployment benefits.

Many of them, he added, are now eyeing a move to the UK when work visa restrictions are lifted on January 1.

Mr Mihai, who was elected by Romanians living in Western Europe to represent their interests in Bucharest, admitted the UK was an attractive destination. ...

The Romanian population in Italy is estimated to be 1,000,000, 15 times greater than the number living there 10 years ago.

A similar number live in Spain, a figure which has shot up 30-fold in a decade.

Large numbers of the migrant workforce have seen their jobs wiped out by the economic difficulties in both countries. They also complain of being targeted for daily abuse by locals.

By contrast there are only around 90,000 Romanians living in the UK. They have reported a largely positive reception and have access to benefits when out of work.

Mr Mihai angrily dismissed claims Romanians were going abroad merely to live off the state. He told the Sunday Express: "I think it's insulting to lower the debate to the level of accusing Romanians and Bulgarians of wanting to come to the UK to claim benefits.

"The suggestion to us as European citizens is not only a tired one but a serious insult to the concept of European citizenship. Such stereotypes need to disappear if we are to really enact European Union legislation that allows all EU citizens the same rights." ...

Officially the number of Romanians living abroad is claimed to be over two million, but in reality it is believed to be far higher especially among the Roma community, some of whom are not even registered as existing by the Romanian authorities, let alone notifying them when they head abroad to live or work.
[Site link]


Immigration – Roma, Gypsies
The new ethnic cleansing: This disturbing dispatch from Eastern Europe reveals how racism exploited by politicians is driving thousands of Roma to flee to Britain
Sue Reid
Daily Mail, 28 December 2013

Marek puts his arm around his dark-haired wife before stating sadly: 'Life here is so difficult for us gipsies that we have lost hope. We are hated by the white Slovakians.' He says that virulent racism is directed against the Roma population and they face daily hostility. ...

'The racists are making life terrible. They are trying to chase us out of the country. Under communism, we were treated as equals. We had jobs and houses. But now many politicians call us dirt.'

Marek fears for gipsies in Slovakia and other former communist bloc countries. His family is just one of many turning their eyes towards Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and Spain.

The result is that we are witnessing a significant exodus of people from the East – an insidious form of ethnic cleansing for which tolerant, liberal democracies such as Germany and Britain are picking up the bill.

Among them are thousands of Slovakian, Hungarian and Czech Roma. They are legally entitled to live in the UK because their nations of origin are already in the EU, giving them rights to work and claim benefits in other member countries.

Next Wednesday, on January 1, Romanians and Bulgarians will be granted the same access to Britain (although with a three-month wait before being entitled to claim benefits). ...

Yet the truth is that many Romanian and Bulgarian Roma are already here. They have taken advantage of EU rules that allow them to stay for 90 days – which they exploit by leaving Britain at the end of the period, only to return, legally, for another 90-day stint. It has allowed them to put down roots with ease right across the country.

They have also seized on legal loopholes by stating they are self-employed (one ploy is to become a seller of the homeless magazine Big Issue, of which a third of sellers are East Europeans) which entitles them to welfare benefits and free healthcare. ...

The 2011 census did not specifically do a headcount of the number of Roma in Britain, which means councils are unable to work out how to cope with the extra numbers. But it is clear that public resources – such as GP surgeries, refuse collection services and schools – are already overstretched with the new arrivals.

And a report by York University published two years ago, on behalf of the European Commission, found that between 600,000 and one million Roma had headed to the UK since the communist bloc collapsed.

More recently, a lower figure estimated by the respected charity Equality UK has put Roma numbers at 500,000, far higher than the 200,000 which is widely quoted by politicians from a report by Salford University earlier this year.
[Site link]


Immigration – housing, education, police
EU migrants: Public services 'must prepare'
BBC, 23 December 2013

Ministers should take practical steps to help public services cope with the arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, a think tank has urged.

There should be more funds for housing, schools and policing, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said. ...

Over the past month, the government has tightened the rules on benefit claims by EU citizens who come to the UK, amid growing concerns about a possible influx of Romanians and Bulgarians.

But the IPPR said the plans had been devised in an "atmosphere of panic and fear-mongering" and were largely "symbolic".

Instead, the institute said practical help was needed to deal with increased demands on the privately-rented housing sector and on police who may have to deal with more incidents of anti-social behaviour by people unaware of UK laws and customs.

It also called for extra translators in schools and health centres.

It said there should be a "dedicated" pot of money to pay for the measures, from visa fees and the European Social Fund. ...

IPPR senior research fellow Alex Glennie said: "It is entirely legitimate for politicians to be concerned about the pace and scale of European migration flows, not least because this is an issue about which there is so much public anxiety. But the political response has been more symbolic than substantive.

"Failure to properly prepare for the rapid inflow of citizens from the previous group of eight states in 2004 and the effects that this had on communities was short-sighted, and led to a number of avoidable problems. It also polarised the broader migration debate in the UK.

She added: "Since then, the UK has had 10 years of experience managing the impact of migration from these countries.

"The past decade has shown that the UK's economy and society are flexible enough to adapt to and benefit from European migration flows, as long as the pressure points they create are quickly identified and addressed.

"There is little to suggest that these lessons have been learned and applied in the run up to January 1st, but even now it is not too late to take some practical steps to alleviate any issues that might arise."
[Site link]


Immigration – racism, public opinion
It's not racist to be anxious over large-scale immigration
John Harris
The Guardian, 23 December 2013

According to YouGov, in 2005 Britons supported "the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want" by a ratio of two to one. Today, we oppose free movement by 49% to 38%. One recent poll by ComRes – admittedly commissioned by an anti-EU outfit called Get Britain Out – found that 79% of people opposed the lifting of the restrictions on new arrivals from Bulgaria and Romania. All this cannot solely be traced to the screams of rightwing papers and the rise of Ukip's Nigel Farage, let alone some metro-left fantasy that outside the M25 simple bigotry runs rampant.

The point is, millions of people will always be uneasy about large-scale change. Not because they are racist, or any more prejudiced than anyone else – but because human beings like a measure of certainty and stability. Further, it barely needs pointing out that immigration tends to impact places where certainty and stability are thin on the ground. ...

Millions of people understand all this, as a matter of day-to-day experience. In Peterborough, employment agencies are stuffed with young eastern European men being packed off to do temporary work, and locals swear blind their sons and daughters either do not get a look-in or are caught in a grim race to the bottom. ...

Throw in former council houses now pulled into the most disreputable end of the buy-to-let market (as has happened in the areas of Sheffield that have attracted newly arrived Roma people), and you have even bigger problems.

And none of these tensions have anything to do with "health tourism", the non-problem of EU migrants claiming benefits, or any of the other issues being played up by the Tories: instead they are reducible to the ideas embedded by the Conservatives in the 80s and 90s, largely sustained during the Blair and Brown years, and now being taken to new extremes by Cameron et al – surely the greatest dishonesty of all.
[Site link]


Immigration – debate
Vince Cable compares Tory immigration 'panic' to Enoch Powell 'rivers of blood' speech
Peter Dominiczak
Telegraph, 22 December 2013

David Cameron's "populist" immigration policies have created a "panic" in Britain comparable to the one started by Enoch Powell following his "rivers of blood" speech, Vince Cable has suggested.

The Business Secretary said that the Prime Minister is "doing harm" and failing to give the British public the "facts" about immigration.

Mr Cable compared the current debate over immigration to anti-Semitic "panics over Jewish immigrants" in the twentieth century.

He also accused British voters of being "schizophrenic" over immigration. ...

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Mr Cable backed Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has said he will block any Tory plans to cap immigration from within the European Union.

He appeared to compare the Prime Minister to Mr Powell, who was in 1968 sacked as shadow defence secretary for a controversial speech on immigration.

"I think there's a bigger picture here, we periodically get these immigration panics, I remember going back to Enoch Powell and 'rivers of blood' and all that, and if you go back a century there were panics over Jewish immigrants.

"The responsibility of politicians in this situation when people are getting anxious is to try to reassure them and give them facts and not panic and resort to populist measures that do harm." ...

In his "rivers of blood" speech, Mr Powell claimed that not all immigrants wanted to integrate in Britain, instead seeking to foster racial and religious differences "with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population".
[Site link]


Immigration – Liberal Democrats
Clegg's vow to veto EU curbs on immigration
Channel 4, 22 December 2013

The Deputy Prime Minister dismissed Home Office proposals for a 75,000 cap on EU migrants as "pointless" and claimed without freedom of movement the National Health Service would "fall over". ...

In an article for The Sunday Times, Mr Clegg wrote: "Sticking a big no-entry sign on the cliffs of Dover may be politically popular, but at a huge economic cost. What would happen if tonight every European living in the UK boarded a ship or plane and went home?

"Are we really that keen to see the back of German lawyers, Dutch accountants or Finnish engineers? Do we want the NHS to fall over and the City of London to grind to a halt?"

He said the issue was "the biggest dividing line in politics today" and branded plans for a cap "arbitrary", "pointless" and "distracting".
[Site link]


Immigration – Bulgarians
Bulgaria issues fierce rebuke to David Cameron over migrants
Daniel Boffey
The Observer, 22 December 2013

The president of Bulgaria has made a stinging intervention in the UK's immigration debate, attacking what he calls David Cameron's attempts to pander to nationalists – and warning the PM to consider how history will judge him.

In an exclusive interview with the Observer, less than two weeks before the lifting of all restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians seeking work in the UK, Rosen Plevneliev called for Britain to stay true to its legacy as "a great global power that pioneered integration" and not play on people's fears. In a direct warning to Cameron, he said: "Isolating Britain and damaging Britain's reputation is not the right history to write." ...

Plevneliev added: "Politicians should be ready to say the inconvenient truth and fight for unpleasant but necessary decisions which, in the short term, will bring our ratings down but, in the long term, preserve our values and keep the history of our proud tolerant nations as they are." ...

Plevneliev said Cameron should consider how history would judge him and forecast that, across the continent, the coming elections for the European parliament would be a clash of those who are "for Europe and against Europe". ...

In comments that will inevitably be controversial, Plevneliev also claimed Britain could learn from how Bulgaria had adapted to the first wave of immigrants in its modern history, with some 11,000 people arriving from war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East in the last two years.

He said: "We might even be able to give a lesson to Great Britain. As a country that is not so rich and not so powerful, we are trying to understand not so much how many could come to Bulgaria but how we can integrate them."
[Site link]


Immigration – politics
Oh come, all ye Romanians, a coalition exodus and one can have too many crowns
Jane Merrick
The Independent on Sunday, 22 December 2013

..., actually, Romanians (and their country neighbours Bulgarians) are not, in fact, a 27-million strong horde of beggars about to descend on Britain come the New Year, but two nations with a rich and deep heritage and much to offer Britain. ...

Tony Blair, the guest of honour at a fundraising dinner for Labour rising stars Gloria de Piero and Luciana Berger last week, gave a blistering defence of immigration, telling the audience that the UK is "best when we are outward looking", and he is right. It was under his government that, in 2004, Britain opened the door to hundreds of thousands of Poles. Ed Miliband has since distanced his party from the Blair government's enthusiasm. But this is surely distancing himself from the huge contribution Polish immigrants have made to our economy in the past decade.

In fact, Britain is not the "migrant beggar capital of Europe", to cite one newspaper's hysteria. Migrants contribute 35 per cent more to the Treasury in taxes than they take out in benefits and services, according to The Economist. ... ...

But the Tories have allowed the facts to go astray because they believe this is the only way to peg back Ukip in the polls. So, Cameron's announcement of new policies on EU migration this week was tied to a prime ministerial visit to a raid in Southall, seeing for himself the cramped conditions in which illegal immigrants were living. But the immigrants were Indian nationals, not Eastern Europeans. Yet, last month he was in Delhi and Calcutta appealing for Indians to come here. His position on immigration is as ramshackle as the suburban shed he clambered into; like a garish sheet hung over a dirty window, political desperation is obscuring the facts.
[Site link]


Immigration – debate
Should Britain fear a surge of east European migrants? [part 1]
Alp Mehmet
The Observer, 22 December 2013
[Alp Mehmet is vice chair of MigrationWatch UK and former British ambassador to Iceland]

'The issue around migration is now not just about economics, if it ever was'

The opening of our labour market to workers from Romania and Bulgaria in 10 days' time has attracted enormous attention from the media. Some say that this is just the tabloids blowing the whole issue out of proportion while being blind to the economic benefits of immigration as well as to the political advantages of stabilising eastern Europe.

We at Migrationwatch take a different view. ...

Last January, Migrationwatch published a paper in which we concluded that immigration from Romania and Bulgaria could be around 50,000 a year over the first five years following full access to the labour market. ...

Our forecast was based on the number who have already arrived in recent years and on a comparison with the Polish precedent. This time, other major countries – Germany, France and the Netherlands – are opening their labour market simultaneously. On the other hand, there are now nearly a million Romanians in both Spain and Italy who might transfer to the UK. According to European Union figures, 30% of Romanians in Spain were without work in 2011.

Critics of our forecast have vacillated between saying that it wasn't possible to make a forecast, that those who are going to come were already here, or that the number coming didn't matter because they would be mostly young and fit and intending to work rather than to claim benefits.

We have looked carefully at the economic incentives and found that even at the UK minimum wage, a single Romanian or Bulgarian worker in the UK would earn four or five times what he would earn at home. ...

It is very hard to know whether any of the 2.5 million Roma in these two countries will seek to migrate westwards in any numbers. Their situation is worse than that of their compatriots because they are often unable to access social welfare in their home countries. ... ...

... However, the issue around immigration is not just about economics, if it ever was. The Office for Budget Responsibility reported recently that, after reviewing the "vast literature" on the impact of migration, most of it indicated that immigrants have a positive, although not significant, impact on productivity and GDP.

The issue is now political, indeed highly political. The British public is already deeply concerned by the mass immigration of recent years. Net foreign immigration under the previous government was very nearly four million. This took place against the frequently expressed views of the public and has left a legacy of deep mistrust. ... ...

The wider picture, however, is that net migration must continue to be firmly and successfully tackled. If it is allowed to drift back up to its 10-year average of 200,000 a year it will drive our population to about 70 million in a dozen years and 80 million in 2060. At least 60% of the increase will be due to immigration, which will also account for one-third of the requirement for new homes and add to the existing pressures on schools and public services. The impact on our society will be enormous, especially in areas of high immigration.
[Site link]


Immigration – debate
Should Britain fear a surge of east European migrants? [part 2]
Jonathan Portes
The Observer, 22 December 2013
[Jonathan Portes is director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research]

'Politicians need to start offering a positive vision of Britain as an open, liberal nation'

According to one Terence McLeod, a self-described "passionate Conservative" from St Albans, I'm an "east European immigrant", and so is my "religious buddy" (that is, fellow Jew) Ed Miliband. I've no doubt today's Conservative party is embarrassed and disgusted by such attitudes. But subtler forms of prejudice can be found even in my profession: Paul Collier, a well-respected development specialist and professor of economics at Oxford University, complained in his recent book Exodus that "indigenous" people – which he defines as "white British" – are now "a minority in their own capital".

Of course, the vast majority of those who are concerned about the full opening of the UK labour market to citizens of Bulgaria and Romania would be horrified not just at McLeod's antisemitism, but at Collier's view that black, Asian or even mixed-race people born here to British parents aren't "real" Londoners. ...

So it is no surprise that recent research by Christian Dustmann at University College London shows that new migrants from the EU since 2000 pay a third or so more in taxes than they cost in extra spending on public services and benefits; and that a public opinion study by ICM Research for British Future, a thinktank, shows that large majorities think that Polish people work hard and make a positive contribution to Britain. ... ...

Four weeks ago, government sources told the Daily Mail that the prime minister would announce that "new arrivals would have to wait a year, up from three months, to get benefits". But two days later, he wrote in the Financial Times: "We are changing the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; we will not pay them for the first three months." So he's changing the rules to the ones we've already got (which, while complex, are broadly fair, both to migrants and to taxpayers).

This is not xenophobia, as European commissioner László Andor suggested. Rather, it is a confused attempt to confuse the public, by pretending that there is a problem, and then pretending to do something about it. ...

Labour is wrong to apologise for its decision, in government, to open the UK labour market in 2004 to the new member states, but it did make a significant error in not addressing potential abuse of the posted workers directive, which has been used to get around labour laws and minimum-wage provisions, not just here but elsewhere in the EU. ... ...

What about wider economic impacts? Some have argued that immigration has little impact on per capita GDP. But this ignores much of the recent economic research on this topic, which suggests that immigrants can boost innovation and raise productivity; and that, perhaps as a consequence, countries more open to immigration, like countries more open to trade, seem to have higher productivity growth.
[Site link]


Immigration – new EU members
Cameron issues threat to halt EU expansion over migration fears
Andrew Grice and Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
The Independent, 21 December 2013

David Cameron raised the stakes in his fight to curb immigration by threatening to veto the admission of new members to the European Union unless they accept tough new controls on their citizens moving to the UK.

The British prime minister's dramatic move fuelled tensions with other EU nations at the end of a two-day summit in Brussels yesterday.

Mr Cameron was greeted with silence when he called for the need for stricter transitional controls on the right to work throughout the EU when countries join the 28-nation bloc in future. He went further at a press conference, revealing that he would be prepared to block the entry of new member states unless stricter "freedom of movement" controls were imposed. ...

Potential new EU members include Albania, one of the poorest countries in the region, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. Mr Cameron's threat will enrage their leaders, as these countries started the accession process years ago.

Although Germany, the Netherlands and Austria share Britain's concerns about migration, freedom of movement for all citizens is regarded as a fundamental EU principle.

Diplomats from other countries dismissed as a "non-starter" Mr Cameron's controversial plan to link the right to work in other EU countries to a new member state's GDP, income or wage levels. ...

However, some diplomats did not rule out longer transitional periods before people in new member states win full rights to work in all EU countries. For example, the maximum seven-year wait for Romanians and Bulgarians could be extended to 10 years when other countries join the EU club.
[Site link]


Immigration – Romanians
EU freedom of movement is damaging us right now
Daily Express, 21 December 2013

It is good to hear the Prime Minister talking tough about the need to have in place long-term immigration controls on possible future EU members such as Albania or Turkey.

Following this newspaper's campaign on the issue of EU migration, it seems as if David Cameron really does now appreciate that freedom of movement cannot work between countries with hugely different levels of wages and welfare provision. And yet the main task of a political leader is to deal with the problems that are actually facing the country while he is in office rather than ones that may possibly come to pass afterwards.

Our exclusive dispatch from the town of Barbulesti in Romania should finally shake the entire political class out of its complacency about the imminent removal of all labour market controls on that country and its neighbour Bulgaria. Most of Barbulesti's 7,000 inhabitants are planning to head our way in 2014. Given that they currently survive on paltry welfare payments of £20 a month, nobody can blame them for seeking a better life. ...

But the blunt truth is that Britain is full up and needs to be more discerning about who is allowed to come rather than less so. We have neither the space nor the resources to sustain a new influx of impoverished families from Eastern Europe, whether they seek out low paid jobs or choose to live entirely off taxpayer funds. Something has to change in 2014.
[Site link]


Immigration – protectionism, free trade
David Cameron talks nonsense about vetoing future EU enlargement
Alex Massie
The Spectator blog, 21 December 2013

... No, the Prime Minister can be a terrible poltroon himself.

Witness his witless suggestion today that the United Kingdom might veto future EU enlargement unless something is done to thwart "vast migrations" of people. It is a silly thing to say for a number of reasons and the first of those is that Cameron is in no position to make any such suggestion. He cannot bind future British governments and since there is no immediate prospect of any country being accepted into the EU club it's not likely to be a decision he will ever have to make anyway.

Secondly, when did the British government start favouring protectionism? Because objecting the free movement of people is no different – in economic terms – to constructing barriers to the free movement of goods (and capital).

The mantra of British jobs for British workers makes no more sense than a mantra of Hampshire jobs for Hampshire workers. In terms of their employment is it any better for Hampshire workers to be displaced by an influx of labour from, say, Newcastle or Shetland than if the new supply of labour has come from Romania or Bulgaria?

Not really.
[Site link]


Immigration – Bulgarians, Romanians
Why I'm Urging the Government to Restrict EU Migration for Another Five Years
Nigel Mills, Conservative Member of Parliament for Amber Valley in Derbyshire
The Huffington Post, 19 December 2013

On Thursday afternoon, Parliament will get a chance to debate the issue of the lifting of the restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migration to the UK. Sadly this debate will be in Westminster Hall (the so-called second chamber) and without a vote as the government have not allowed the Immigration Bill, and my amendment to it, to be considered before the Christmas recess. A total of 73 MPs have now signed my amendment that would keep the restrictions for a further five years. ...

The issue of further unrestricted EU migration has been a hot political topic in recent months, and is of great concern in constituencies up and down the country. ...

The concerns on the lifting of restrictions are many. They include:

• the impact on our employment market, where despite recent marked improvements, many more people, and especially young people, are unemployed than before the recession;

• the cost of welfare payments to new arrivals - both out-of-work and in-work benefits;

• the lack of housing in this country;

• the increased demand on already over-stretched public services including schools and the NHS.

We are assured that there will not be a problem this time that the numbers will not be as great. If that was the case, then why have we kept the restrictions in place until the very last day we are permitted to do so in the Accession Treaty? Why have most Western European countries also kept the same restrictions to date? We can only presume from this, that these governments fear the numbers will be significant. ...

There have been some positive announcements from the government in recent weeks including the accelerated introduction of restrictions on when new migrants can claim out-of-work benefits and for how long. These are sensible and much-needed measures to tackle the reputation that the UK is seen as more generous to new migrants than other countries - we give benefits based on entitlement not past contributions as in many other countries. Our free healthcare is also extremely attractive - a recent report estimated that the cost to the NHS of treating EU nationals was already up to £1.5 billion.

While it is absolutely right that we act to ensure that our systems are not acting as a greater pull for economic migrants to the UK than to other countries, these measures do not tackle the issue of the impact on our employment market. In fact, the justification for keeping the transitional restrictions in place to date had to be that there was a serious disturbance in the labour market. Two years ago, the government assessed that this was indeed the case in the UK and so kept the restrictions in place for the final two years permitted. The very same criteria used to justify that decision would apply to the UK's situation now.
[Site link]


Immigration – politics, costs
New immigration rules are too little, too late
Daily Telegraph, 19 December 2013
[Leading article]

In the New Year, restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK will be lifted – raising legitimate concerns about the pressure on jobs and services. Now, in the middle of December and just a matter of weeks before the changes come into effect, the Prime Minister has suddenly announced new rules that will limit the ability of migrants to claim benefits. ...

Mr Cameron is right to assert that the public is "concerned that migrants do not come here to exploit our public services and our benefits system" – and he is right to take action to curtail what people can receive. Other countries have much tougher rules than Britain's and there is no reason why the free movement of labour should translate into a guaranteed right to benefit from the largesse of a nation state's taxpayers.

But many voters will probably roll their eyes at this latest announcement, out of exasperation and bitter experience of promises undelivered. Politically, the restrictions are obviously designed to draw back support from Ukip and to mollify Tory backbenchers calling for an outright confrontation with the EU. In practical terms, many will doubt the Government's ability to police the situation efficiently. There is currently a backlog of some 432,029 immigration and asylum cases, which at current levels will take five years to clear. Astonishingly, only 1.5 per cent of reports of illegal immigrants result in someone being removed from the UK.

Ultimately, an open border is an open border. It was the Labour government that lifted restrictions on Eastern Europeans entering the workforce, and since then treaty obligations have forced us to accept the hard reality that we cannot say no to EU citizens coming to Britain to compete. Only a serious reversal of policy could change this situation and that, frankly, seems unlikely.

What we have instead is tinkering. Limiting benefits might earn Mr Cameron some favour in some quarters, but most people will remain concerned about mass migration depressing wages, inc