National Audit Office’s Gift to Anti- Immigration Lobby

The National Audit Office today publishes a report addressing the highly divisive issue of foreign criminals and the cost to the nation (and limited effect) of the Home Office’s attempts to deal with them. It reports: The Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders, despite increased resources and tougher powers.

The NAO is the independent Parliamentary body responsible for auditing government agencies (including central government)-  it carries out Value for Money audit into the administration of public policy. Its report Managing and Removing Foreign National Offenders, notes: 17% of the foreign criminals living in the community have absconded (including 58 “high harm” individuals); in 2014/15 management and removal of foreign national offenders has averaged public bodies around £70,000 per offender; it takes 319 days to deport offenders; and all of this despite an around 800% increase in Home Office staff working on foreign national offenders.

Amyas Morse, of the NAO, whilst recognising the difficulty of the problems (including cunning UK immigration barristers determined to prevent disruption and effective punishment of offender families), commented: too little progress has been made, despite the increased resources and effort devoted to this problem.

In an effort to deflect criticism and attack another favourite target, Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: The countless appeals and re-appeals lodged by criminals attempting to cheat the system cost us all money and are an affront to British Justice. So, once again, it is the fault of immigration lawyers!

Expect more jubilant response from the anti immigration lobby today- including those that are responsible for the failings identified in the report (well, its so much more agreeable to point the finger at your enemies than to accept valid criticism).

The full report can be found here —-> NAO- Foreign Criminals

 passing the buck

UK Skilled Worker Visas – Scrap Cap, Cable Tells May

Vince Cable, the business Secretary has written to Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May, urging the scrapping of the skilled worker cap. The cap of 20,700 skilled worker visas per year, was set in 2011. This year’s numbers are already approaching it. Cable (a LibDem Minister) calls the cap “a barrier to growth” and suggests that if it cannot be scrapped then unused quota from previous years should be rolled over (there were 6,780 unused last year). The cap has been widely criticised as bad for business and there has been little attempt to justify it on an informed economic basis. One wonders what other reasons there could be.

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Britain and France United Against Immigration

Britain will pay France £11.7million pounds over the next three years to assist with the cost of its extra Schengen Area border controls. The measure, which was jointly announced by Home Secretary Theresa May and French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, is part of an effort to stem the flow of immigrants from Calais, across the English Channel contrary to British Immigration law.

The numbers of immigrants attempting this journey have increased in recent years as people flee humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa. Others travel in the hope that they make better lives for themselves and their families in the UK.

Well, not if Theresa May has her way.

Wikipedia:- The Schengen Area is the area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders, also referred to as internal borders. It mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Area is named after the Schengen Agreement. Countries in the Schengen Area have eliminated internal border controls with the other Schengen members, and strengthened external border controls with non-Schengen states. The Schengen area encourages the free movement of goods, information, money and people. (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area)

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Scottish Border Control?

If the Scots vote Yes next Thursday, work will begin in earnest to get up an economy capable of sustaining independence. Part of the problem is Scotland’s ageing population:  who will pay for all their pensions?. Part (an important part) of Alex Salmond’s solution is immigration- he will import taxpayers, he says. He has said that Scotlandf’s needs can be met by increasing net migration by 2,000 annually. Others call this an underestimate. It is unclear what work they will be doing to pay this tax.

An Independent Scotland would have to pursue a dramatically different immigration policy from that of its southern neighbour. For the first time, the modern Westminster government will have to operate a land border with a country over whose immigration it has no control.

So, immigration Control on Hadrian’s Wall?

 Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

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photo: thanks to BillHails

UK Visa Application Fees to Increase From October

This truly fascinating written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons by James Brokenshire.

Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire):

I am today announcing some changes to fees for immigration and nationality applications made to the Home Office. The government reviews these fees on a regular basis and makes appropriate changes as necessary. The amended regulations are for fees set at or below the cost of processing the relevant applications.

We are making some targeted amendments to support the implementation of provisions in the Immigration Act 2014, including expanding the list of application routes required to pay a fee for the enrolment of biometrics. We are also taking the opportunity to amend one other fee to support economic growth.

Further details of the changes are provided in the Explanatory Memorandum for the regulations. The government intends to bring most of these amendments into force from 1 October, though some of the new fees will come into effect later in the year to align with changes to processes.

If you are interested, check out the Home Office’s handy and fascinating pdf, here:

UK visa application fees

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Very Low Quality Street – Two Minutes Hate – Immigrants, Immigration Lawyers and the Dreadful Other

The public, normally apathetic about politics, are about to be lashed into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism (as George Orwell almost said)- Love Productions is starting work on the sequel to Channel 4’s Benefits StreetImmigration Street. Presumably unwelcome back in Birmingham, this one is to be filmed in Southampton.

The residents are not happy. There are reports of “Go Home Love Productions” banners and residents are concerned that the production is likely to incite disharmony in the community. Sensitive to these concerns (and the need to get on with it) C4 have offered to change the title of the series, but residents point out that the divisive effect of the production itself will remain. Clearly, these are no gormless proles.

Benefits Street, a 5-episode documentary series aired by Channel 4 from January this year documented the lives of some of the Residents of a Birmingham street where newspapers had reported that 90% of residents claimed means-tested benefits. It portrayed a benefits-dependent, work-resistant community whose members spent  their days committing benefits fraud,  cultivating cannabis and  shoplifting. The series led to hundreds of complaints to Ofcom and, allegedly, Twitter death threats being sent to some of the residents. It also spawned political soundbites including David Cameron saying the government needed to intervene in people’s lives.

Ofcom concluded that the series had been fair in its portrayal of of its participants. After all,  everyone needs to have someone to look down on in contempt. And the thrill of superiority seems to make pop entertainment.  But it is no more edifying than than other regionally popular (but psychologically damaging) entertainments- public execution and bullfighting for example.

And speaking from an immigration lawyer’s perspective this comes at a dangerous time given the tone of current pre-election debate on Immigration, unrest in Calais and the heat surrounding immigration issues in many other European countries. Still, it serves the needs of The Party.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

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Immigration Street – Thanks to Minnesota Historical Society 

Public Support for UK Student Visas

A poll carried out on behalf of Universities UK and think tank British Future suggests the British public do not support the present government’s attempts to limit the number of UK student visas issued in future. This follows last month’s Prime Ministerial statement of intention to reduce net migration to the UK and to set absolute numerical limits on the number of UK student Visas issued. International students are the largest single group of migrants from non EEA states to be counted in the Governments reduction figure.
The study reports surprise expressed by poll participants when they are told that students are counted as immigrants for this purpose. 59% of participants thought the government should not reduce the number of international students. Around 75% of participants felt international students should be allowed to stay on an work in the UK after their studies.
It seems there is a gulf between the support shown for general populist anti-immigration policies as described in dumbed-down form in an attempt to foster public support in the last months before the next general election, and the opinion of the British Public when they are properly informed about these policies. The truth is that international student are a large and easy target- reducing their numbers is the quickest means to achieve the government’s self-imposed immigration targets.
But this approach comes at a cost to the nation- international students contribute significantly in financial terms to the UK; And what is the benefit, exactly? The politicians showcase policies about foreign criminals, immigrants seeking to take advantage of benefits or the NHS or people coming to work illegally and and the end of the trick they hope to appear (by sleight of hand) to have reduced immigration numbers (concealing the fact that its mostly a different kind of immigrant they’ve counted).
Educational providers, who as registered sponsors fulfil part of the pre-visa suitability checking process, will lose their highly trusted status if 10% or more of their Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) students fail to get a UK student visa.