A freedom of information release shows that nearly 2,000 fraudulent identity documents are presented to Border Force staff per year (totaling 21,256 between 2010 to 2020).
The number recorded in 2019 was the 4th highest for the period (after a 2014-2016 peak) with 2,134 such documents presented before a notable drop as air arrivals plummeted during the pandemic.
The news of fake documents being used comes after it was revealed that the Liverpool bomber, Emad Al Swealmeen – who blew himself up outside a women’s hospital on 11 November 2021 – deceived officials during an asylum interview after using a fake Jordanian passport to come here in 2014.
Those found to in possession of false documents can be prosecuted under the Identity Documents Act 2010 (as well as under other laws) with a maximum penalty for one such offence of up to ten years in prison.
Recently, an Albanian illegal immigrant who used a range of false documents was jailed for just under three years. However, removals of those who have no right to be here have fallen dramatically in recent years.
From 1 October 2021, UK Border Force stopped accepting insecure ID cards from most EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. The government revealed that ID cards are some of the most abused documents seen by Border Force officers and that, in 2020, almost half of all false documents detected at the border were EU, EEA or Swiss ID cards.
Those wishing to come here without prior permission will be emboldened by the hugely weakened approach by the authorities to those entering without prior permission and without any documentation at all (including many of the 40,000 who have been reported to have arrived via dinghy since January 2018 – see our Tracking Station).
The Channel Threat Commander has made clear in evidence to a Parliamentary committee that many of those coming here from safe countries via dinghy will have destroyed documentation prior to arrival, making it harder to identify them.
Yet only five of those who arrived in small boats during 2021 have been returned to safe countries as of the latest official report.
Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “Presenting false and fraudulent documents is nothing new. What is new – and not lost on traffickers and fixers – is that the absence of genuine documents, and even lying to an official, makes little difference to whether an illegal entrant will be allowed to stay. Indeed, it can work in their favour.
“This absurd situation won’t change until failure by applicants to present proper evidence of who they are leads to asylum or other protection being denied. Sadly, the government doesn’t have the courage or will for such a course of action.”