Asylum 'amnesty' looks set to be repeated

October 28, 2003

The 'one-off' amnesty announced by the Government last week to some 15,000 families of asylum seekers - totaling perhaps 50,000 people - may well happen again. 

The Government have admitted to only half the likely numbers.  There could well be a similar number who are already 'in the pipeline' and who will, in due course, seek the same treatment, says think-tank Migrationwatch UK after an analysis of the Government's own figures. (See report).

Said Sir Andrew Green , Chairman of Migrationwatch: 'Last week's amnesty covered only those who applied for asylum before October 2000 but our research indicates that about 200,000 asylum applications have been submitted since that date.

'Of these it is estimated that there are 14,000 applicants with families who will not be accepted for asylum but who will remain in the UK and, in time, meet criteria similar to those applied to the 15,000 families currently granted an amnesty.

'This is already the third amnesty granted by the British Government... Rather than being the 'one off' exercise claimed by the Government it is highly likely that it will be repeated once again,' he said.  'Yet experience in the US , Italy and Spain demonstrates that amnesties simply encourage further immigration.'

Sir Andrew said that there are two basic requirements for an effective asylum system.  First, that the final decision on asylum seekers' applications should be reached quickly.  Second, that those who are not granted asylum or permission to stay should be removed rapidly when the final decision is made.

'Neither requirement is near to being met, nor will they be unless the government turns to firm actions, not just tough words,' he said.

'The Government have certainly not "cleared the decks" as they have claimed.  Instead, their policy of deterring future asylum seekers is now holed below the waterline.'

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