Friday, April 25, 2014

How To Waste £500 Million On 'e borders' System That Cannot Control Immigration Or Visa Overstayers

Cynthia Barker writes…Unbelievable! The Home Office has blown £500m on a computer system for its ‘e-Borders’ control programme - to check everybody coming in and out of Britain – but ministers have now admitted that it cannot estimate immigration.

Home Office official told MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee (PAC) that data from the programme, which took 10 years and half a billion pounds to build, cannot be used to replace the existing methods of estimating net migration to Britain because it does not collect information about whether passengers are long-term migrants or just visitors or tourists.

What? Did someone forget to ask that question? Hello!!!

The Home Office are saying that it would be illegal under European Union legislation on ‘free movement’ to ask passengers how long they intend to stay or their purpose in entering the UK. Another example of how EU and EEA rules help immigrants. However,since EU/EEA migrants are only allowed to stay in the UK for 90 days without exercising treaty rights, for instance as a self-employed worker, self-sufficient person or student, it would seem logical to ask the question at the border?

The truth of the matter is the Home Office has no idea exactly how many illegal immigrants or visa overstayers are in the UK because there is no system to count them in or out. I recently put this question to Theresa May, the Home Secretary in charge of the Home Office, when I met her. She admitted that there have been problems with border control going back over 15 years, but said the e borders scheme will be operational by 2015.

There have been various estimates that there are between 500,000 and 750,000 overstayers in the UK. The ippr (Institute for Public Policy Research) said it will take 20 years and £5 billion to track them all down and deport them. Let's face's not going to happen, so we need to start looking at workable plans to deal with the situation such as a legalisation programme for overstaying migrants - as long as we don't mention the unmentionable word "amnesty"!

Even when an overstayer is picked up by the Home Office (usually after a tip-off) they can appeal against a removal order on human rights 'article 8' or 'right to a family life' grounds if they own a cat (not really unless you believe the Daily Mail) are in a relationship, or especially if they have children. The same law applies even if you are a convicted murder or rapist - a Jamaican killer was allowed to stay because he said he was gay! Illegal immigrants often spend months in detention centres, at great cost to the government, only to be released on appeal and eventually granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or permanent residency in the UK.

If you need advice on any immigration matter, EU or UK immigration law, or want to appeal against a refusal, call Cynthia Barker on 07850 307687 or 0208 731 5972 or email her your details to Cynthia Barker is a qualified OISC Registered Immigration Adviser, with 15 years experience in immigration matters, with a team of Level 3 Immigration Law Practitioners, Concept Care Solutions, Middlesex House, 29-45 High Street, Edgware, HA8 7UU.

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