Who has a right to come to the UK, and who has a right to stay?

          Our current migration policy is heavily influenced by our membership of the EU. As the last government committed us to open borders with the rest of the EU, more of the burden of cutting the numbers of new migrants to the UK under the Coalition’s policy has fallen on non EU migration.

        As the Coalition has improved the controls over migrant entry and settlement  it has come to light that some people already settled in our country do not have the right visa or documents to do so. Many cases are coming to light of people who entered legally under a short term visa maybe a decade ago, who are still living here because the authorites never followed up. Often their applications for a right to stay are bogged down in  government pending files, or the decisions are subject to long appeal processes.

         It seems to me to get  more and more difficult to make a decision against an applicant the longer they have managed to stay in the UK without the proper entitlements. If someone has lived here for more than ten years, has children who were born here and have been educated  here without any authority denying their right to do so, it gets difficult to turn round and say the whole family has to leave.

           I would be interested in your thoughts on the balance of migration between the EU and the rest of the world, and your thoughts on what to do about people who are living here without the right paperwork.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    If they are living here without the right paper work for some time and are not claiming benefits, are working, paying their way and not causing any crime or other problems then I would let them stay.

    It is clearly absurd to allow anyone, regardless of merit, from the whole of the EU to settle in the UK and this needs to be changed. Labour (and the Tories) were absurd to ever agree to this.

    Unfortunately, Cameron cannot even tell us what powers he wants back from the EU let alone actually negotiate anything. He prefers to give extra recruitment publicity to terrorist murders. One assumes as a highly damaging distraction from the serious issues he should actually be tackling – the deficit, endless government waste, his fig leaf EU renegotiation, cheaper energy, fewer regulations, lower taxes and functional banking and halving the state sector.

    Still its much easier to make some statement about the appalling terrorism, or so pathetic and nauseous statement on doing the right thing on gay marriage.

    I am not even against gay marriage but Cameron was truly nauseous even by his pathetic emotion over logic standards. I tend to think the state should have a standard legal/financial marriage contract for all and the individual religions and churches should have their own rules as they wish.

    Reply Conservatives exempted the UK from common borders.

  2. Javelin
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    It should not make any difference how long it has been since you committed a crime. Look at operation Yewtree.

    If somebody has worked here illegally all their profits should be confescated.

    Nor should it be an issue to deport criminals.

    The problem isn’t the law it’s the lawyers and the politicians who don’t apply the law in the interests of the people who are law abiding citizens.

    • Javelin
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      Just wanted to add. If children are so precious the visa overstayers made the decision to have children and commit a crime. Why is it so difficult to understand. For any other crime then we do not say we should ignore the crime because of children. Children will adapt if they go back to their parents country. Surely it’s better for children to go with their parents. Children change school and move home during their lives. We don’t have social workers working at estate agents checking children are ok when they move house. This argument is weak and relies on misplaced sentimentality.

      • Javelin
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

        Also wanted to add. If you are a British citizen and have a child with an illegal immigrant then you committed a crime by supporting the illegal immigrant. So you have the choice to go back with the other parent or stay and go through the marriage process like everybody else.

        It’s very simple visa over stayers are criminals. Treat them as such and stop being so sentimental.

        • zorro
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, but they put in applications under Article 8 and if they have children born in the UK, that tends to trump any offence……


        • Ahmed
          Posted May 24, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          I am not a criminal,if it was you fleeing to another country ,you would know how it feels,all things being equal,who really wants to be near you

      • uanime5
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Why should children be punished because of something their parent’s did wrong? You’ve failed to provide any justification for this.

        Don’t forget that children born in the UK automatically have UK citizenships, so they can’t be deported to another country.

        • zorro
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Wrong……Children born in the UK do not automatically have GBR citizenship. It depends on the status of the parents.


          • zorro
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

            Children born in the UK of unlawfully resident parents can be (and have been) removed from the UK.


          • lojolondon
            Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            That is why we want out of the ECHR – because they are always wrong.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      It should not make any difference how long it has been since you committed a crime.

      According to the statute of limitations it does.

      If somebody has worked here illegally all their profits should be confescated.

      So you want the state to be able to confiscate someone’s property and savings if they’re an illegal immigrant. Can’t see that being approved of by the ECHR.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Wrong……. If you have been unlawfully resident in the country, you remain so until you make yourself known. Some make applications under the Long Term Residence CONCESSION after 14 years in the UK unlawfully. The UK is not obliged to rubber stamp these applications.


    • Bazman
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Would that apply to the company profits too? I suspect not. This idea of forced deportation and confiscation of property like something out of Stalin’s era. Where would this fantasy end? Err? There. Shows how you think though.

  3. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    It has always been a source of bemusement to me just how ineffective the immigration office has been over the last 30 years. One could almost believe that successive governments have found it in their interests for this state of affairs to continue. I lived at one time in Northamptonshire, which had a large immigrant population, some of whom were illegals who had lived here for many years and were pillars of the community. No matter how well-integrated they may be, illegals are always targets for blackmail and extortion. In equity, as the system has been so ineffective that illegals have been able to settle without let or hindrance by an incompetent authority, then their position should be formalised, and an agreement for residence dependent on good conduct, similar to the US and Australian systems, be granted.
    At least with immigration from the rest of the world, we still have control of our borders, however weak that may be in practice. In the case of the EU, we have thrown away our sovereignty over our borders. This state of affairs must be redressed in Dave’s re-negotiations of our membership – if such negotiations ever happen.

  4. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Continental countries have the same issues on immigration as the UK. It makes me wonder how much benefit the UK has had by staying outside the Schengen agreement. Even Iceland is now part of the Schengen area and e.g. Chinese don’t need an extra visum to visit it. Is it a surprise that last year, France attracted 10x more Chinese tourists than the UK? If opting out of Schengen doesn’t help on issues of (illegal) immigration, why continue to opt out?

    • lojolondon
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      That is a silly comment – it is well known that our ‘green’ airport tax is responsible for causing many hundreds of thousands of tourists to fly to other countries. Note that a large amount of tourists land in Brussels, Amsterdam or Paris and take the Eurostar to visit Britain.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        @lojolondon: your argument doesn’t explain why France had 1 million Chinese tourists last year and the UK 100,000. Having to buy an extra visum for the UK does explain the difference.

        • zorro
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          That may be because they were on an extended tour to other countries in Schengen.


      • uanime5
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Do you have any evidence to back up these claims? Also how much more does it cost to fly to France and take the Eurostar to the UK, than to fly directly to the UK?

        • zorro
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          Do you ever have any evidence?


    • Mark
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      You might not wish the UK to opt in to Schengen. Holland is of course now suffering the consequences of its over-liberal attitude to immigration in the past. It has led to Pim Fortuin and the rise of PVV. Then there is the interesting requirement for everyone to speak Dutch if they are to stay in the country: just how open are those Schengen borders really?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        @Mark: my argument is only that the Schengen opt-out apparently doesn’t help Britain in controlling immigration, so why continue to opt-out?

        • zorro
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          It would be a whole lot worse within Schengen…..


  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Why did the authorities never follow up? Was it just another part of government thinking that unlimited immigartion was a good thing. Your reluctance to ask those who shouldn’t be here to leave will only encourage more to do the same thing I fear. Why we need so many immigrants to come here every year is beyond me and beyond the country’s capacity to provide schools, housing and health services. We are always left with the feeling that no one knows the extent of the immigration or the effects of emigration and that actually the previous and present governments don’t care.

  6. James Reade
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    A better question is: Why do you pander to the anti-immigration sentiment amongst voters? Is it because you worry about your re-election rather than the consistency in your arguments regarding the role of the state?

    How does the government know what the right workers a firm needs to employ, and where they come from?

    How does the government know how “full” the UK is?

    How does the government know just how much to punish one of our most successful export sectors (higher education) before it’s too much and good institutions are forced to stop programmes?

    How does the government know just how much red tape to introduce to firms just trying to get on with their business and help the recovery, most to the point?

    Reply MY blog asks a question, it does not pander to the sentiments you describe. A country does need border controls, as every new person granted a right to live and work here will need substantial supporting investment in public services which the state has to supply.

    • James Reade
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Given you fully support restricting immigration, I think you do pander John. I know you don’t really want to admit you do it just for the voters, but that’s what it looks like.

      Pre-WWI, a time when this country grew strongly enough to be a world leader, did we have controls on immigration back then?

      You haven’t squared this circle about why the government just happens to know what is the right amount of people in the country, and knows better than each firm looking to create jobs which ones should be filled by UK residents and which by those from overseas.

      Who bestows all this knowledge on the government? And why is red tape OK here but not elsewhere?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Please stop describing higher education as an export sector, when its main overseas business now seems to be the importation of people.

        You and maybe some thousands like you do not have the right either to determine our immigration policy, or to try to circumvent it against the clear wishes of the great majority of 46 million citizens.

        “Pre-WWI, a time when this country grew strongly enough to be a world leader, did we have controls on immigration back then?”

        Did we have transglobal air travel back then, with Heathrow alone now having the capacity to bring in more people than the whole of the present UK population in just one year?


        “Busiest year ever recorded (passenger numbers): 2011 with 69.39 million”

        No, we did not; and nor did sea transport into the country have anything like the present passenger capacity, and of course the capacity of road transport into the country was precisely zero (bearing in mind that the whole of the island of Ireland was then part of the United Kingdom).

        Nor did we have the British government allowing the world to believe that this was “a country of immigration”, intentionally seeking to increase its population by attracting people from abroad; on the contrary, the policy was one of encouraging surplus population to emigrate to other parts of the world, mainly other parts of the Empire; the most important “country of immigration” in that period was widely recognised to be the United States – read the inscription on the Statue of Liberty – and it is a little-known but interesting and revealing historical fact that over a period of about eighty years about four million people from the continent, mainly Scandinavia and the Baltic region, did come here by sea but only to pass through on their way to the United States; that would work out as an average of about 50,000 a year just using this country as part of their route westwards, dwarfed by the annual numbers who have come and stayed in recent years.

        • James Reade
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          At the risk of infuriating John by putting in my nth post for the day, I’ll keep describing higher education as an export sector.

          Why? Because an export is something we sell to someone from elsewhere in the world. Hence if folk come to the UK to be educated then return to their country, that has to be an export by any stretch of the imagination.

          On your other point regarding travel, incentives to locate in the UK existed then, and exist now, and people follow incentives.

          An interesting point the Tory party isn’t paying any attention to is how much immigration would have fallen since 2008 regardless of what it did. There are fewer jobs here currently due to the recession meaning less incentive to locate here.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            “Hence if folk come to the UK to be educated then return to their country”

            Well, the big “if” is whether they do return to their country.

            You cannot simply ignore the fact that travel was much more difficult before the WW1, and therefore even with no legal restrictions migration flows would be much lower.

            The 46 million are the citizens of this country, of course, each of whom is entitled to a say equal to your own, and whose views on immigration were sampled in the YouGov opinion poll mentioned here:


            With their median view being that the maximum allowable level should be about 70,000 a year, and with the outlier of 5% who said there should be no limit being outnumbered nearly fourfold by those who said there should simply be no more immigration at all.

        • James Reade
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          I’m not claiming I have the right to set immigration policy, I’m pointing out the inherent problems with those who do seek to determine what the “right level” is. How do they know what level is “in the national interest”? Do they divine it from someone/somewhere?

          And who is this 46m you appear to be able to speak on behalf of better than I can?

          Finally – again, what gives you, or John, or anyone in Westminster, Tory, Labour of Lib Dem, the right to tell a firm who is the right person to employ? Shouldn’t our politicians just be letting firms get on with producing and creating jobs and removing red tape?

      • forthurst
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        “I think you do pander John”

        Yes, I agree: John does pander, and that to which he panders is common sense and the desire to discharge his duty to his constituents. Did those Labour MPs who connived to encourage massive immigration by sending out search parties use either common sense or a desire to discharge their duty to their constituents, or on the contrary, were they determined to multiculturise England against the wishes of their constiuents? If not the latter, why did they not declare their intentions as government policy and debate it in the HoC?

        You are in fact begging the question because your whole argument is contingent on the ‘right’ of employers to decide how many new foreign born employees they wish to employ here. No such right now exists. There may be no theoretical limit on the amount of new employment which can be created in this country; however, there is a limit on the capacity of the infrastructure to grow to accomodate all the new people. There is also a limit of the tolerance of the English people for surrendering their agricultural land for the accomodation of people they did not invite to their country in the first place.

        • forthurst
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          “Pre-WWI, a time when this country grew strongly enough to be a world leader, did we have controls on immigration back then?”

          Begging the question once more, why not attribute the growth of the country pre-WWI to the lack of universal suffrage and the corresponding lack of socialism, or do you claim that socialism creates wealth rather than destroys it and inhibits its growth?

          • James Reade
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            What makes you think I’m a socialist? I guess you just ignored my posts on privatising the roads?

            Why aren’t you essentially a socialist when you tell me the government should impose its will on the size of the population and interfere in market mechanisms to achieve that? Why not let the market determine this if you are indeed a capitalist?

          • uanime5
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

            Well Socialist Norway and Germany seem to be doing okay, while capitalist Cyprus is having major problems.

            Looks like capitalism, not socialism, destroys wealth.

          • forthurst
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            “What makes you think I’m a socialist?”

            I thought socialists demanded increases in government spending as you did; obviously I’m wrong. I though capitalism was about moving capital to people; obviously wrong again; it’s about moving people to capital, apparently.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Uanime5: ‘Well Socialist Norway and Germany seem to be doing okay, while capitalist Cyprus is having major problems.

          Looks like capitalism, not socialism, destroys wealth.’

          Me: Is this person for real, or just a wind-up merchant?

      • Richard1
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Before WW1, immigrants, like existing British citizens, did not have rights to the extensive welfare and other public subsidies on offer today. Immigrants would come who thought they could make a living in the UK and pay their way. No-one else was going to do it for them. As you point out, these policies, and the much lower taxes that were therefore needed, led to much higher rates of growth.

        • James Reade
          Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          Ah, so our current low growth is all due to the welfare state? It’s an interesting argument, and I’d love to see some empirical evidence to support it.

          It’s also interesting that you infer every immigrant coming here now is coming here for benefits, rather than to work.

          • Richard1
            Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            The point is these days an immigrant has automatic claims on taxpayers. Therefore the govt must regulate the numbers. I have not said every immigrant comes for benefits. My post says the opposite.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Don’t be ridiculous. The world was entirely different per WW1 there was no mass travel – not even worth comparing.


        • James Reade
          Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          People still travelled, and travelled to where economic rewards were best (and persecution was lower). Talk to Americans or Canadians about travel pre-WWI. There was quite a lot of it. My wife descends from German/Ukrainians and Irish settlers from pre-WWI times in Canada.

          Hence it’s perfectly comparable. Travel was easier, but people had their native roots back then, as they do now. So essentially one variable has changed – a variable that makes our labour markets essentially more flexible.

          Trying to do the one post to cover everything written: Denis Cooper, the UK’s population is about 70m now. And additionally, I don’t really care what the majority of the population is purported to think by some pollster, I care about what is the right decision based on economics. That’s why I’m not a politician.

          On that “if”, I can tell you emphatically that about 90% of our overseas students return after studying – that fraction increasing now that their options for staying are reduced. It’s patently stupid though for us to throw away the chance to gain from the increased knowledge capital produced by our universities in these overseas students – we lose the ability to carry out groundbreaking research and hence risk losing our status as a world-leading academic system.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

            46 million registered to vote in UK Parliamentary elections; and the admission that you don’t care what they think, only your view having any validity, merely shows your contempt for our national democracy.

  7. Nick
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    That will be that European right, enshrined in law.

    The freedom of movement of goods, services people and capital.

    Didn’t help the people of Cyprus when their money was stolen did it?

    So its not a right. Perhaps its an aspiration.

    In which case there is no issue with the UK controlling EU migration.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      In the case of Cyprus the Government didn’t have to guarantee any more than €400,000 per bank account, so these people are lucky to have gotten more than €400,000 back.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        Aren’t they lucky being allowed to keep THEIR OWN MONEY…..


  8. Richard1
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    If there is a policy area which demonstrates the incompetence and unfitness for office of the Labour Party its immigration. The unspoken truth is the policy was deliberate as they sought to bring about cultural change in traditional British institutions through mass immigration, and also thought new immigrants would vote Labour. Some day an historian will be allowed to set this out properly. At the moment debate is suppressed by the Left by means of accusations of racism.

    I take a liberal view. If immigrants are either wealthy, or talented and hard working they make a positive contribution and we should welcome them. Look at the huge contribution made by the East African Asians who came 40 years ago. We’d have been better off had we given all the Hong Kong Chinese British passports, as tradition and justice demanded we should have. What we don’t want is terrorists, preachers of hate, criminals and social security scroungers, whether from the EU or elsewhere. Where someone has been here for years but doesn’t have the right to be here, we need to given them an amnesty and draw attention to the governmental incompetence which allowed this to happen. Perhaps, if they are rich enough, they should be asked to purchase a full citizenship. £50,000 a head, subject to means testing and tapering for less well-off.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      £50,000 a head?

      You’d put such a low valuation on British citizenship, including your own?

      Well, that’s better than the £10,000 suggested back in 2004 by somebody* who is now a government minister; but I’d say £1 million was more like it.

      * I will leave it to those who are sufficiently interested to discover for themselves who that was, and which party he or she belongs to; but if anyone is disbelieving I do have a reference accurately reproducing the text of the article.

      • Bazman
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        We just let anyone in as long as they can come up with the cash. Brainless.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Ah Monsieur Gove, n’est ce pas?


    • lojolondon
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I am afraid you are being far too kind to Labour, the immigration policy was specifically designed to alter the demographics of Britain. Every unemployable new person in the country, brought in by Labour, will by definition entrench Labour in government, as they realise that the alternative is a threat to the ‘no need to work, all is provided’ situation that exists.

      • Bazman
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Problem with that theory is that most of them were very employable and that is part of the problem that they push British people out of jobs by this. Young, fit, fleet, footed and willing to work for minimum wages and live in poor housing. The British are supposed to compete with this? What would that idea be lojo? Tory or Labour dogma. No reply as you have no idea.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      The price of British citizenship is one view; the value quite another.

  9. London Exile
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I spent a whole career dealing with overstayers (those who overstayed their leave) and illegals (those who provably used deception to enter).

    The effect of burrowing in and establishing “roots” in the UK exerts a great power on politicians who as Home Office ministers have to exercise their discretion outside the Immigration Rules – they often do not want to be seen as inhuman or insensitive. If we are to change this position and get to something more like the American or Australian position where removal often takes place even where roots have been established, I suggest Home Secretarys have to make their position explicit from day one and not be swayed by harsh headlines at the BBC and some newspapers. One technical point it would be helpful if we made it an absolute rule that any offender seeking regularisation of the position should do so from abroad, thus allowing UKBA to say no where appropriate.

    Another major problem has been the highly interventionist position taken by the courts. Some judges have made no secret of their hostility to the Home Office and immigration law. An example of their power is that they could easily render non effective my suggestion that offenders seeking to regularise their position by leaving the UK first. This is a major constitutional issue and I do not underestimate the scale of the problem.

  10. Martin
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    1) EU immigrants do less paperwork, and hence are less into the culture of paperwork. Some Poles I have spoken too prefer the UK over the USA for this reason.

    2) Non-EU migrants have to do paperwork and hence are into paperwork.

    So some are more inclined to support small government/private enterprise than others.

    Indeed I feel the last government blundered by not joining Schengen. On my travels I don’t see the immigration system being much better/worse in France than the UK. Just more meaningless queues in the UK.

  11. Patryk
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Border control is a 20thC idea. The idea that helped develop two world wars, nazism and socialism. Do not allow any benefits for newcomers (or, for that matter, for anyone) and the problem will be solved. Hard-working people willing to assimilate should be welcome. Just check the background of such people: Brunel, Disraeli, Conrad, Burke and Rushdie. All were immigrants. As a Polish immigrant myself who settled here in 2005 I will be interested to see what solution for us the UK govt will have post Brexit. I’m hoping to be a Tory councillor by then too as I’m standing next year for my local council. Regards.

  12. Kenneth
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I cannot see why we can’t have a simple bond system for all entrants to the UK without UK passports. I would suggest a £30,000 bond, refundable when the person leaves the country.

    As for forged passports, I also cannot see why a sequential numbering system + photo doesn’t work (can anyone advise?)

    In most cases the bond would be covered by insurance and/or industry schemes (tourist & catering industries/education etc) so very few people would actually be forced to stump up the full bond – only those who cannot find a ‘backer’).

    As for eu ‘free movement’, we obviously need to urgently leave the extremist eu. This is a problem because of Libdem/Labour/BBC opposition, but I think we are getting there.

    • Bazman
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Expensive holiday in London if you have to borrow 30k before you can get here.

  13. Matthew
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    It’s a complex business deciding who can stay and who should be deported, but as a start why not invest in a sophisticated immigration database, so that the authorities can determine who enters and who leaves the country and by definition who is living in the UK.

    Such a system would model the system used by US Immigration. When entering the USA the immigration officer can state when and where you last visited the country and the airport and date of departure.

    We have invested heavily in preventing terrorism by our adventures in Afghanistan, we should invest in a system where we can at least tell who enters and leaves these shores and who overstays their welcome.

  14. nick
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    So lets see. The courts rule that its illegal to deport them, because their children we born here.

    Hmmm, that’s the same as saying migration is illegal isn’t it? After all if you were born elsewhere, and come to the UK, that would be a violation of your human rights, and we can’t have that can we.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Willingly emigrating and being forcibly deported are two separate things.

  15. Liz
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Other EU countries have the same issues with illegal immigration yet seem to be able to control it withine EU rules. There is not either the will or the competence to do so here. Even when it is know how many extra babies are being born to immigrants the “planners” seem incapable to working out that this means more school places in 4/5 years time. We have the situation here in Wokingham that some parents cannot even get their children into a school in the town where they live but must take them miles to the next town. Illegals could be winowed out if there were checks on NHS usage and school places or any use of Government offices/facilities. If you cannot make even the most basic checks then there is no hope of controlling illegal immigration. Whilst there is still high EU immigration then there is little need for much immigration from other parts of the world. The replacement of UK IT workers by (people from overseas ed) is becoming a scandal.

  16. lojolondon
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Hi John, don’t you think it is outrageous that western governments (specifically the EU, but including the British government) are supporting the Taliban in Syria, once again overthrowing a fairly benign dictator and creating a power vacuum that will be filled by whoever has the most fanatics with guns.
    Have we really, honestly learned absolutely nothing from Iraq, Afghanistan. Egypt, Libya etc.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      How do you judge who is a “benign” dictator? By how much they attack the UK or by how much they attack their own people?

  17. rose
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I would like to hold firm to the rules: they are lax enogh as it is and to have an amnesty would only encourage others to come in, lie low, and then claim nationality on ten years’ residence.

    I would like to see much less non-EU immigration as there has been far, far too much of that. It is all so short sighted. Two problems with the scale of non-EU immigration: population and non-integration. We were already overcrowded as an island when I was a child. The population them rose to 55 million. Ten times the present population of Denmark. Then we watched it rise and rise again, when you would have expected it to fall as people emigrated to Australia and Canada to get more space and land.

    The most worrying thing about unfettered immigration is having more than one nation in one land. Wherever you look in the world, where this is the case, you get trouble. The various peoples live happily side by side for generations, then, usually as the population increases and there is pressure on the land or other resources, they suddenly start killing each other. Or they may suddenly start killing each other ofr some other reason, something that sparks trouble, just a rumour even. This doesn’t happen in crowded countries where there is just one nation – as in Japan. Theymay find being overcrowded uncomfortable and expensive, but they tolerate each other and bring up the children with the same manners so that civilization continues.

    You cannot stop people feeling a gut preference for their own kind when push comes to shove, no matter how much you try and brainwash them. We are seeing that at the moment.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    JR, my starting point for this and other matters is my belief in the basic principle that:

    “The British people have the right to both POSSESS and CONTROL their own country”.

    Not everybody will agree with that; in particular, there are many in our political class who certainly do not agree and who have no scruples about denying the British people that right; and that disconnect between the people and their elected representatives is why we must insist on establishing a Swiss-style system of direct democracy, whereby the people would have a legal route to intervene when their representative democracy was widely seen to be failing, with the citizens legally empowered to petition for and get a binding referendum on any matter of their choosing at any time of their choosing.

    If we had a referendum on immigration, then the median view of the established body of citizens would probably be that GROSS immigration, and the subsequent award of British citizenship to foreigners who had been given indefinite leave to remain here, should be restricted to some tens of thousands a year.

    If we had another referendum on which foreign nationals should be allowed to stay here indefinitely and with a view to acquiring citizenship, within that strict annual maximum, then I doubt that there would be much expressed preference for the citizens of other EU countries but there would be expressed aversion to the citizens of some other countries; and why should the citizens of this supposedly democratic country not pick and choose between those who aspire to join them as citizens with full and equal rights as citizens?

    But if we had a referendum on whether there should be an amnesty for the many foreigners, some guess at millions, who have blagged their way into our country and have remained here illegally, an amnesty which would allow them to come forward and be regularised as permanent residents and probably as citizens, then I think that the answer would very much depend upon the terms of that amnesty and the proposition could easily be rejected.

    Personally I would vote for zero gross immigration for a decade or two, believing that we have already had far too much in recent years; but I might be persuaded to vote for an amnesty for those illegal immigrants who were not known to have committed any criminal offences other than the immigration offences, and who had been sufficiently ingenious to escape detection for a period of at least ten years.

    However only on a condition which may seem harsh to some but I believe would be right, namely that those persons who sought to take advantage of the amnesty would first have to demonstrate their loyalty by fully co-operating with the authorities in tracking down other illegal immigrants.

  19. waramess
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    An open border policy to all that can support themselves so long as they do so. When they are no longer able to support themselves they should go.

    Take an initial deposit to pay for the possibility of their eventual return but absolutely and on no account provide them with benefits of any kind

  20. Martin Ryder
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    No foreign born person has a ‘right’ to enter the United Kingdom any more than I have a ‘right’ to enter France or any other country. Foreign born persons are ‘allowed’ to enter the UK by the elected government according to the laws governing migration on the day the person attempts to enter. Likewise no foreign born person has the ‘right’ to settle in the United Kingdom.

    Personally I believe that our immigration policy should be based on reciprocity and balance. Lots of Britons have moved their homes to Spain and Australia, amongst other countries, and so I would have no problem with a similar number of Spaniards and Australians moving to the UK to take their place. I do not know how many people born in the UK have migrated to India and Poland but I am pretty sure that the migration flows are not balanced. They should be, though I accept that with this government in charge, or any other possible government, they never will be; it would all be far too difficult!

    Your question about people who have been here for a long time without the correct paperwork: I do not blame migrants for being migrants as it is everyone’s right to try and better their lives. I blame the governments that have knowingly allowed this to happen. I would give them all until the end of this year to register themselves with the Home Office. If they have lived here for five years paying taxes; do not have a serious criminal record and are supporting themselves then let them apply for citizenship and then go on with their lives. If they don’t register and later on come to the notice of the authorities (there is no way that the Home Office will ever look for them) they should be deported.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      There is a problem with our welfare system whereby either:

      – people can expect to come here and receive them

      – people can expect to come here and do unskilled work which people already on benefits ought to be doing

      There are also issues of access to health care to consider too. And why must we accept anyone with a criminal past or keep offenders here ?

      There is no other country like this one.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink


        “- people can expect to come here and receive them ”

        – people can expect to come here and receive state support

        I wouldn’t expect to go to France, Spain, Australia and expect to be supported.

    • zorro
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      EU treaty rights mean that EU citizens do effectively have that ‘right’…..unfortunately


  21. They work for Us
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Tackling illegal immigration is seen by politicians as being in the “too difficult pile”. A large number of illegal immigrants is like a Bank deemed too big to fail and politicians are unwilling to rigorously tackle the problem. Children and families are used as a blackmail device against deportation/ repatriation. Whatever the outcome we should abolish “the option to remain indefinitely” and be meagre in granting citizenship. The children and wives of illegals would have the nationality of the illegal and no automatic right to remain. Any criminal offence from such an immigrant should be followed by immediate deportation.
    We can help take back control by having a default state of not allowing people to land except obviously bona fide visitors (and work permit holders) who are financially self supporting (including healthcare. All applications and appeals for asylum and immigration should be made from the home country and not from our side of the “border”.

    We have limited space and resources in this country and we cannot take in a fraction of the people who believe it is in their interest (not ours) to want to come here. Where do we stop? When are we full up? etc

  22. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    We need to say that many people are allowed to come (allowed, not have a right to) but none have a right to stay. This should be done within a context of zero population growth. Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants, the obligation to accept refugees should be abolished forthwith. All decisions should be in the hands of the Home Secretary as the representative of the UK executive, without appeal. Publication of her decisions under the FoI Act should be encouraged – we have nothing to hide.

    And if Scotland goes independent, we have to turn the England/Scotland border into a frontier so that England maintains full control.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      The UK has to accept refugees because of several International agreements, so the UK can’t just refuse to accept them.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        They can if they have made applications in EU countries…..re ‘Dublin’ Accords


  23. MickC
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Very shortly our meddling in Syria will mean we have to admit large numbers of Syrian nationals on humanitarian grounds, so any discussion about immigration is irrelevant.

    Quite what Cameron and Hague think they will achieve by supplying arms to “the rebels” (an unknown quantity of unknown views, except that they should have power) defeats me. But they will certainly incur the hostility of both Russia and Hamas for no benefit to the UK.

    Cameron and Hague are first class fools.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Due to the problems in Syria we already have to accept Syrian nationals on humanitarian grounds. The longer the problems in Syria last the longer it will be before we can try to deport any of them. So I expect that UK politicians want to end this problem as quickly as possible because it will benefit them.

      • zorro
        Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Bearing in mind they have helped to stir up the problem, that’s awfully generous of them…..


  24. Mactheknife
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    For me it’s a simple question of legality. If you broke the law entering this country illegally then the law should be applied and the person deported. I’m afraid making exceptions for one case will inevitably draw criticism and lead to legal challenges and we all know where the ECHR will take us.

    Didn’t Abu Qatada enter on a false passport and look what’s happened there. I’m not saying this is the norm, but we do have to be much more circumspect on who we allow in and who we allow to stay.

  25. julian
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    We need much stronger powers to deport illegal immigrants but nothing much can happen while we are in the eu as we all know.
    We are over populated but a reducing population is seen as a bad thing for some reason.
    The country is simply full so reduce the population (by natural means!), reduce the demands on the nhs, roads, rail and energy companies, accept a lower GDP and downsize!

  26. Normandee
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The very simple and obvious fact is we have little or no control over the immigrants we have here already, and until we do have that control, not a single further one should be allowed in.

  27. Vanessa
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I think we appear soft when somebody has managed to stay here, undetected, for 10 years and say …..don’t worry you have all the trappings of a legal immigrant, we wont deport you.

    I think this sends out a really weak message to all who want to come. We must deport them and their family if they have been here illegally. That is what would happen in their country and we cannot afford to let the whole world take advantage of our soft and weak government.

  28. muddyman
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Illegal immigration is a crime. Thus the immigrants who do so are criminal in intent. Thjs should not give them any right to stay ,and all found should be deported.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    We have been far too lax in allowing individuals to remain here beyond their visa date . I advocate ” zero ” tolerance on this issue . Any crack in the system is the same as having an open door . If an employer wants to retain the services of a foreigner who was allowed entry on a visa , it is up to them to make a case and to accept the outcome .Knowingly continuing to employ someone illegally should face the full consequences of the law .

  30. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    One voice that has been surprisingly quiet is that of the post-war Commonwealth immigrants. Having been encouraged to come and by now being well settled here I would have thought they would have preferred to see their friends and family making the same migration rather than preference being given to EU citizens.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    In case it proves impossible to publish the longer comment I submitted this morning, I would just extract the first lines and say that my starting point for this and other matters is my belief in the basic principle that “The British people have the right to both POSSESS and CONTROL their own country”, although not everyone agrees with that.

  32. uanime5
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    If someone has lived here for more than ten years, has children who were born here and have been educated here without any authority denying their right to do so, it gets difficult to turn round and say the whole family has to leave.

    This is due to UK law, not EU law or human rights. So the UK’s Government is free to change this. Though there will probably be a public backlash.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on the balance of migration between the EU and the rest of the world, and your thoughts on what to do about people who are living here without the right paperwork.

    Well given that the Pound is stronger than the Euro the UK will always attract people from the EU because it will be more profitable to work in the UK for a short time, then retire in their own country.

    Regarding immigration as long as big businesses want a pool of staff who will work for a pittance the UK will continue to have high levels of immigration.

    Regarding people who are in the UK without the right paperwork I would recommend that if they have integrated into the UK and are making a positive contribution they should be allowed to remain.

  33. backofanenvelope
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Our politicians have pitched us into a vast cultural and social experiment. They didn’t ask and they don’t know what the outcome will be.

  34. Jon
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I think we have to be mindful of cost benefit. I hear we only deport a handful of people anyway. So with a backlog of 100s of thousands it seems madness to spend vast sums of money sorting out the backlog. A private company would not divert funds of that nature when the outcome is minor.

    That said I’m uneasy about a blanket amnesty. Can a half way house be figured out so a sort of amnesty with a caveat if its in national interest if something crops up?

    I would imagine this is a complex area, how many pay tax, how many would if they could, what would be the cost to benefits. The thing is we can’t sort this out going on as we are. Its mistakes make in the past that we have on our plate to deal with now. I feel the answer is politically awkward and when thats the case it just makes it worse. I fear it will just be kicked into the long grass because of political consequences. Not something that I think Thatcher would do.

  35. Bazman
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    My wife came here on tourist visa which was obtained by me in Russia which was tricky I have to say, and did not leave until she got a British passport which took only took five years as the case was straightforward. In the real world do you think I would have just let the state put her on a plane because of a letter informing me of the pending deportation?
    We are now in the situation of not being to able to visit Russia as she does not have a Russian passport and the British one is not valid for a Russian citizen though previously it was. Money being the reason and the Russian state changing the law to get more also in a more sinister way identifying addresses where Russians live in this country. Children of Russian citizens are seen as Russian by the state. Hmmm..? It is possible to revoke ones citizenship for money, but how this would be recognised on the ground is difficult to say.
    So in effect on the run from ones country of birth.
    Interesting to see how easy these so called conservatives on this are willing to live in a police state isn’t it? Thick is the simple answer and the right one too.

  36. outsider
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Immigration issues are chiefly about how many rather than who. As severe restrictions are required, however, preference should be given to people who live under the same sovereign, because we all have a genuine “special relationship” with them and because they are more likely to share aspects of our culture and fit in more easily. This group consists mainly of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and smaller islands of the Caribbean, the Atlantic and Pacific.

  37. Pat
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    My two penneth:-
    I have met countless English people who express verbally a dislike of foreigners- but they all made an exception for the ones they actually met. The only foreigners to be disliked are those who don’t try to fit in- those who don’t even try to learn English, those who want to tell us how to live. Of course there are no statistics to back that up- I don’t see how they could be collected.
    Who to let in? Well I can’t think of any legislation which will distinguish between those genuinely intending to fit in and those merely saying so. I would suggest that immigrants be required to support themselves by their own efforts for a number of years before they became eligible for any taxpayer funded support at all. Indeed it might be a good idea to apply that to the native population as well. In order to support themselves people have to relate to fit in with others.
    As to the idea of selecting immigrants on the basis of their skills, who knows what skills are in short supply? For the last ten years or so we have had immigrants waiting table and washing cars- who knew that these were the skills our unemployed were lacking?
    Just accept anyone who is willing and able to support themselves unaided, and deport any that break the law (perhaps it would be an idea to deport them in lieu of other penalties, rather than at the end of sentence- they might go with less of a fight, and we might be spared the cost of imprisoning them). And give them citizenship if they can, after supporting themselves for long enough, find a suitable number of native sponsors.
    If you have, thanks for reading.

  38. James Reade
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Sorry John, pertinent additional point that has come to my attention today: The actual volumes of immigration numbers.


    It’s quite clear that, actually, EU migration from the 8 most recent applicants is only about 10% of total inward migration according to the same ONS data release that you commented on the other day.

    This suggests that, actually, it isn’t your constant bugbear – what the last government did in allowing all these EU migrants access – that’s the main issue here.

    It perhaps also suggests the inadequacy of all recent policy – the downward trend in inward migration has quite neatly followed economic activity over the last 10 years.

    Suggesting that people (surprise) migrate to where job opportunities are highest. They aren’t so high here right now so people aren’t moving here.

  39. Mark
    Posted May 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    It is very easy to be unthinking about immigration and citizenship. Some think all immigration is bad, of whatever origin, while reserving the right for Britons to emigrate. At the other extreme, there are those who think we should offer open house and citizenship to all and sundry – even those who are openly hostile to the country.

    It is probably easiest to be clear about economic migration. This should be limited to those whose migration is temporary, and mainly on a basis of exchange, designed to build international experience on the one hand, and identified skill shortages on the other. This should include mode 4 migrants, who currently fly under the radar in the statistics: it’s time an MP asked for figures about this. All such migrants would have no long term right of abode, and none would enjoy exemptions from local taxation: they should be subject to additional requirements for health insurance and schooling co-payment. The exchange route should also be open with selected countries for young people – but note the basis is reciprocal, and limited.

    We should be much tougher on limiting asylum. The UK is not the first safe country that many asylum seekers might reach. The motives of asylum seekers often seem to be rather more economic than political. [Discussion of a topical case that perhaps JR finds controversial removed]

    With regard to immigration on marriage, I think we should return to the primary purpose test. That might put some obstacles in the way of traditional Eastern arranged marriages, but it seems a good idea to encourage those who are already immigrants to look first to marry within the UK, and to have at least established for themselves that their intended spouse really is someone they love, rather than a chattel in an immigrant clan.

    We should also be more sparing in our grants of citizenship. That should require clear demonstration of integration into wider British society, and not be granted willy-nilly. We should perhaps also consider revoking citizenship of those whose behaviour is essentially treasonous or utterly abhorrent as a matter of course, now that we no longer have the option of the death penalty for treason. Judges should be instructed that such people should be deported for their own safety.

    Likewise, we should be much more discriminating about the students we admit. Whilst some of the most flagrant abuse of the student route has been tackled we are still admitting large numbers of overseas students in preference to devoting educational resources to our own population. I have no problem with a genuine language school such as (name left out ed) making real money for the country. But the evidence from HESA suggests that university level courses for overseas non-EU students are on average being subsidised by taxpayers – and we know that EU students are failing to repay their loans and disappearing off the radar, at further cost to taxpayers. There should be no right to stay beyond a short holiday period after the end of a course.

    On the EU, whilst we remain a member we need to be as robust as the French in requiring migrants to be exercising their treaty rights for employment, or to be self-supporting. Benefit tourism needs to be stamped on. Those who wish to establish residency beyond these parameters should essentially be required to fulfill UK citizenship criteria.

    We should resist adding to the non-integrated diasporas. Those that are here should be encouraged to think in terms of integrating or returning to sort out their homelands for themselves. Asylum should not be forever, but always under review country by country.

    I would make the point that shutting down our consular visa services and subcontracting them to commercial enterprises has proved a very false economy in terms of the burden imposed on the welfare system and the infrastructure of the country, and the costs of reduced social cohesiveness. We would do far better to be more rigorous about who we admit in the first place. Likewise, the mess that is Lunar House and the UKBA needs clearing out. There have been too many cases of corrupt practice of granting admission and leave to remain going through the courts, and a likelihood that others remain undetected.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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