Cutting UK Visas to Spite… what, exactly?

The attack against UK visa caps continues today in a letter to The Times  from eight award-winning scientists who point out that international collaborations lie behind a significant proportion of the UK’s scientific output and it is  as a result international element that  the UK remains a leader in scientific research. British science depends upon globalised research, they say. Nobel prize winner Professor O’Keefe (vivisector) spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme to describe how the Immigration Rules had presented “a very very large obstacle”. Replying to Home Office pleas that there is scope for world-leading scientists he said “I am very very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration. I’m not saying its impossible, but we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place”. Several university Vice Chancellors have hit out against the present UK government’s immigration controls- most recently Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton told fellow academics that the controls are “directly harming UK interests”. He continued “wherever I travel in the world, particularly China and India, one question persists- Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?… the question baffles me as well”. The British Council predicted this week that the growth in international post-graduate students coming to Britain will slow by around 12% over the next decade. Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that restricting non-EU workers was beginning to damage UK’s economic recovery. And on and on… The Home Office have said that a new “exceptional talent visa” will provide for the needs in scientific and engineering fields. “The UK is open to the brightest and the best, including talented scientists and engineers, and it is wrong to suggest our companies are prevented from appointing the skilled workers they need”. BTW, Herald Scotland reports: Vince Cable has called his coalition partners “UKIP without the beer” and said Labour offered “French socialism without the sex”. It would be once to hear some thoughtful debate on these important issues without the inane soundbites,  puerile scrapping and appeals to the perceived baser instincts of the electorate. UK visa barrister

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

Hard to Swallow: Racially-Aggravated Criminal Damage

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 18.36.22 I thought you might like to see this. You won’t get to see the original as it was destroyed by Tendring District Council as part of its enlightened campaign against racism. Apparently. It seems there was a complaint that the work was racist and offensive. Whether to pigeons or the swallow is not stated. The painting materialised in Clacton-on-Sea (where Tory defector Douglas Carswell is about to fight a by-election for UKIP and where 32 of the 60 present Councillors are Conservative and 2 UKIP).

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

Tories to Reinvent Human Rights

The Conservatives have pledged to free the UK from the tyranny of Human Rights, if elected in the next May. “People in this Country are fed up with human rights being used as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour”- Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

The combined effect of the European Convention on Human Rights  and the Human Rights Act 1998 has been a constant dampener on Tory plans to make Britain a better place (for the British) and there has long been talk of limiting its effect. Immigration barristers have often heard criticisms of the ECHR made by Home Office immigration barristers at court.

Article 8 has come in for most criticism in this context. It provides for the protection of family and private life. The Home Office made changes to the Immigration Rules, effective from July 2012, variously described as intended to incorporate the Article 8 protection into the Immigration Rules and to free our domestic courts from the tyranny of the European Court of Human Rights. The effect, however is almost always restrictive of any protective effect.

The new proposals, which are to be included in the party’s general election manifesto, will reach much further. They will provide a parliamentary override of  judgements from the Strasbourg court, preventing those judgements from being followed by the domestic courts and tribunals. This effectively diminishes an important protection against State actions.

Opponents also claim this will add to existing threats against the rule of international human rights law arising from Russia and other nations’ resistance to the enforcement of Strasbourg Court decisions.

The text of the original Convention will be imported into domestic law (a similar tactic to that taken by the Home Secretary in her private legislation, the Immigration Rules, in relation to Article 8). The UK courts will be told they need not take into account Strasbourg jurisdiction to interpret it. The Human Rights Act 1998 will be scrapped.

immigration barrister Article *
thanks, Anon

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

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

Immigration Splits the Right

David Cameron’s ship was not sinking when Douglas Carswell and then his besty, Mark Reckless  decided to leave, but there is now real pressure to steer hard right on immigration law and avoid mutiny of supporters.

Reckless did his best, in the timing  (during Conservative’s B’ham conference), delivery (at UKIP’s conference in Doncaster) and in his description (Tory leadership had let voters down) of his defection to wreck Tory prospects at the next election. UKIP suggest at least one more Tory is expected to jump- possibly more, depending on the outcomes of the by-elections.

Today’s sunday Times reports one senior Tory MP saying the defections mean it is impossible to foresee a Conservative majority at the next election.

According to The Sunday Times, data disclosed by Tory peer, lord Ashcroft, from a Survey of more than 8,000 voters, shows more than a quarter of those who voted Conservative in 2010 no longer support the party- and almost three quarters of them now support UKIP. A poll for BBC’s Sunday Politics suggests 30% of Tory councillors believe Cameron should strike an electoral pact with UKIP. And 86% believe immigration has been detrimental to the UK.

The central divisive issues have been immigration and the UK’s relationship with Europe. So how does all this change the bigger picture? Ironically, if it splits the anti-immingration and anti-Europe vote (mostly former conservative voters), it could make a labour Government more likely and reduce the prospects of an EU referendum. On the other hand if a deal were done between Conservatives and UKIP… well that would be different again.

As ever, the way the country is run seems to have more to do with the machinations of the political class than with the will of the people.

I am sure they know best.


Photo: Thanks Yorkville

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

Reckless Jumps Right in Front of Chanting Crowd

On a stage at the UKIP’s Doncaster conference, Tory backbencher Mark Reckless today announced his defection to UKIP. His views diverge from those of the Tory leadership in a number of areas including Immigration. Barrister, Banker and City Economist in the past, Reckless has latterly been known as something of a loose cannon in conservative circles (he was once part of a rebellion of conservative MPs on the EU Budget).

He told an entranced audience he sees the Tory leadership as “part of the problem that is holding our country back”, and that he believes voters felt “ripped off and lied to”.

On immigration he said: “I promise to cut immigration while treating people fairly and humanely, I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative, I can keep it as UKIP”. The Immigration Rules are insane, he continued (many immigration lawyers would agree, for one reason or another) and there is no sense in which Britain has control over who comes into the country and in what numbers.

His defection will trigger a by-election in Reckless’ constituency, Rochester and Strood, where he is expected to fight for his new team. This announcement is timed for maximum impact during conference season and the by-election coming only months before the General Election.

It was a bit of a coup for Nigel Farage who, with conjuror’s flair, produced Reckless to a whooping crowd. They continued to chant (“Ukip”) throughout his speech.

The move (alone or with any further similar defections) will raise the importance of immigration generally and European free movement in particular in the coming debate.

Reckless won his Kent seat with a majority of 9,953 in 2010, and was elected to the Home Affairs Select Committee in the same year. He has argued publicly for the deportation of Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. He has been a vocal critic of the European Court of Human Rights (as “eroding British Freedom and democracy”) and the European Budget. As one of the relatively new MPs after the 2010 by election he had to apologise for missing a vote because he was too drunk- “I apologise unreservedly and I don’t plan to drink again at Westminster” (sound familiar?).

Well, all in all it sounds like Mr Reckless will feel at home with his new friends.


Photos: Mark reckless; the Freedom Association. Thank you both.

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

Europe, the UK, Visas, Immigration Immigration and Immigration

I have been told by a fellow immigration barrister that my last post lacked gravitas and sacrificed political critique in favour of sloppy invective. I apologise and will try to do better. To a green field in South Yorkshire, they came. Bacon sandwiches in hand. They would cut UK immigration  to 20%, they roared, encourage discrimination against non-British Workers, turn away foreigners arriving at borders without ID, and exile released prisoners from their former neighbourhoods. They stood up for the Great British Values against the liberal lefties (who, by the way virtually encouraged the abuse of white girls by Asian men). They cheered their (mono)culture spokesman Peter Whittle who berated multiculturalism. They stood to hear from the B&B owners who bravely turned a gay couple away from their inn. They Made England Proud. This was the UKIP’s annual conference at Doncaster Racecourse. God Save the Queen. Not everyone holds that particular basket of views- this is after all a free country (for the moment). Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors (den of Reds and liberal lefties) commented: …if it were to succeed in pulling the UK out of Europe, and bar immigration from the continent entirely… it would be economic lunacy. Free trade, access to foreign investment and skills from across the world are key to UK’s prosperity. UKIP’s immigration plan is a nightmarish vision of stagnation and irrelevance for Britain… . For the similar views of other people much cleverer and more articulate than I, read here.


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