Despite the ‘lockdown’ and tough rhetoric from the government, reported illegal Channel arrivals in small boats from safe countries were up 44% during January and February this year compared to the number reported during the first two months of 2020 (see our Channel Tracking Station). As we had forecast, without firm action, the problem would get worse. The immediate return of anyone arriving illegally from whence they came is essential if this illegal route is ever to be plugged.
This week we also issued a report (covered by the Daily Telegraph, Mail Online and an interview to LBC News) on the number of non-EU nationals who came to the UK on a visa but who were not recorded as departing on time. The number nearly doubled to 92,000 in five years. The paper also looked at the number of non-visa nationals (including those from Brazil, USA, Argentina and Mexico) not recorded as leaving on time over a two-year period. According to the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, it was a staggering 500,000. If added to the 2019/20 figure of 92,000, this would amount to a monumental 340,000 per year. Some may have left and were missed but many will not have. Sadly, Ministers have shown a marked reluctance to level with the public about the problem. This is unacceptable. Read our paper here.
New visa statistics released on Thursday suggested there were nearly 70% fewer visas granted in 2020 than the year before (although there were still an estimated 40 million passenger arrivals during the year). The PM’s announcement that we will be aiming to exit lockdowns over the coming months certainly increases the likelihood of a return to a greater scale of international travel in the coming summer and autumn.
With the government’s new ‘points-based’ immigration system having come online in January, it won’t be long before the economy starts picking up (we hope) and reality starts to hit home for those who think ‘taking back control’ would automatically lead to tighter border controls and less immigration. As we have repeatedly warned, the system in fact weakens crucial controls for international recruitment by lowering skills and salary thresholds, and allowing employers to bring as many foreign workers here as they like, and now with no need to try and hire locally first. We will continue to refer to this, it is that important.
We have been speaking too about the shameful failure of successive governments to focus sufficiently on the training and retention of UK recruits for our health service while bringing in tens of thousands into the NHS from poorer countries on the basis of “shortage”. For more, see this piece. Do please also read this excellent piece, by James Black, which was published on the Conservative Woman website.
Blog of the week
Media reports showed that only 1 in 6 instances of immigration enforcement raids led to removals. Strangely, this revelation spurred some to call for the abandoning of measures intended to tackle illegal immigration. The figures were spun as proof that the government were taking a mallet to a peanut. This is, of course, absurd. Consider the massive cost to the taxpayer of illegal migrants whose cause is invariably taken up by the huge number of activist lawyers (what, after all, is legal aid for?) and dozens of migrant rights groups. In reality, there has been a major decay of immigration enforcement, especially since 2018. Read our blog here.
Migration Watch in the media
This week has seen our Chairman Alp Mehmet was in demand again in the national news. Please see his comments below.
“A having-your-cake-and-eating-it scenario, if ever there was one. He originally claimed to be a child but was judged to be an adult. He is now asking the Supreme Court to accept that he is 26 years old because the Court of Appeal didn’t believe him and ruled him to be 31. What an utter waste of time and taxpayers’ money. Unbelievable.”
LBC News: Overstayers
Alp also gave an interview on the topic of visa overstaying. His message: “Overstaying is very likely getting worse while the government seem to have ignored a large portion of data which could help clarify the picture. So much for promises to take back border control. Our research points to a major problem and it is about time the government told us how they are going to tackle it.” (See our press release).
Here was another response to a major news story of the week:
”The news that the government’s close ties with French border controls are paying off by preventing 120 people from coming here illegally, is to be welcomed. Nevertheless, the fact that even during the health emergency ‘woke’ human rights lawyers and mass immigration activists can make enforcement of the law all but taboo attests to their influence over the narrative. What they don’t do is reflect the views of ordinary people, who want firm, fair and robust enforcement of our borders.”
Make your voice heard
As noted above and over many months, our two-month old immigration system is not fit for purpose. Even before Covid, it marked a significant loosening of existing controls on work migration. The dip in international travel of the past year, coupled with the Brexit happening, has no doubt led many British people think that all is under control. The reality is that the post-Brexit world could see Britain open up its borders to an estimated global pool of more than 600 million people, as the government and big business collude in opening up to cheaper foreign labour (see our paper). Our supporters are appalled by this betrayal. They did not expect changes that mean a major opening up of the system, and the uncapping of visas, for citizens of four out of five of the world’s countries. May we, once again, suggest that you write to your MP about how you feel about it. You can do so by clicking here.