Monday, 27 February 2012

Is the Government’s net immigration target counter-productive?

By Georgina Tubb, @GTubbMedia

Statistics released this week showed that the Government has made no progress towards its target of cutting net immigration down to the tens of thousands. 250,000 more people have entered the UK than have left it, which means net immigration has remained at a record high despite the Government’s pledges. As a result of both the target set by ministers, and their failing to meet this so far, pressure has been put on immigration authorities to reduce the number of immigrants entering the country.
However, it would appear that deciding who is allowed to live in the UK isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, and some evidence would suggest that the sort of people who may be beneficial and welcome in our country are not being granted permission to stay.
I saw and heard an example of such evidence with my own eyes and ears this week when sitting in the public gallery of a Crown Court (a very interesting way to spend the day if you’re a Criminology student!).

The case was of a Zimbawean man who had entered the UK as an asylum seeker, along with his wife and two young children. The man and his family were refused asylum and were therefore not legally supposed to stay in the country. However, immigration authorities refused to deport the family to their home country because of the political situation there. This therefore left the man with a dilemma. Because, by law, he wasn’t supposed to be here then he wasn’t allowed to work, but he wasn’t going to be sent back either. He had a problem.
I can only imagine how frustrating this situation must have been. This man had a family to support and needed to earn money and so did exactly that, by paying for a fake passport in order to gain employment. So, while the man was using his wages entirely legally and reasonably, he had obtained it (and the passport) illegally and so he was hauled before a judge at Crown Court.
His defence stated that both he and his wife had been law-abiding citizens while in Zimbabwe and they had both had well-respected jobs. It was also made clear to the court that, apart from paying for the fake passport & then using it to gain work, the man had not committed any crimes whilst in the UK.
While the man did not receive a custodial sentence, he was punished by our criminal justice system. I would even go so far as to say he was let down by both immigration authorities and the justice system. Surely this is the sort of person we want to be encouraging to live in our country, someone who, by looking at their previous history, isn’t going to cause any trouble and will be a good, honest worker and therefore contribute to our economy?
The judge seemed to be of the same mind as me, and did express some sympathy towards the situation and acknowledged that the man was in a very difficult situation due to the ruling immigration authorities had made.
I would argue that there are other immigrants (and British citizens!) who are much less worthy and yet are granted permission to stay. I am saddened, angered & disappointed that this man and his family were treated, in my opinion, so unfairly by our country. In my eyes, this man had done nothing wrong and, while I watched him stood in court, I did not feel at all proud to be from a country who is seemingly too obsessed with meeting targets to take a step back and consider the situation with a little understanding & empathy.

Georgina Tubb's blog can be found here: [Wordpress]
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1 comment:

  1. The man has left no choice but to use a fake passport in order to earn money. I guess the government should grant them the legal stay since they are capable of contributing to the economy of UK.