Government update on illegal migration and the port of Calais.

I thought you might appreciate an update on the Government’s work to respond to migrant pressures in Calais. The current situation is not a new one, nor does it originate in Calais. France – unlike the UK – is a member of the Schengen zone, so people are able to pass freely across its borders from other Schengen countries. The pressure this is putting on French ports is a Europe-wide challenge, demanding joint work with our EU partners and concerted action to tackle the organised crime gangs associated with illegal immigration, in addition to our own work to keep the UK border secure.

Since 2010, we have:

  • recruited more Border Force staff and introduced systems to deploy those staff more flexibly and effectively;
  • funded and maintained improved scanning equipment in Calais, including a recent £2 million investment to upgrade equipment to the latest technology; and
  • increased Border Force seagoing patrol activity in the southern North Sea and eastern English Channel to counter the potential threat of trafficking by sea.

In addition to the ongoing work between the UK and France:

  • the Home Secretary met the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on 29 August to discuss a series of emerging options to further strengthen our approach to illegal migration, including in Calais;
  • a delegation of senior Home Office officials visited Paris yesterday to ensure this work is being taken forward urgently and to discuss our additional offer to France to deploy the fencing from the recent NATO Summit in Newport to strengthen security in Calais.

Three months ago the UK also committed an additional £3 million to help enhance port infrastructure in Calais and ensure that legitimate travellers can pass through border controls more quickly. We are pressing the Calais Chamber of Commerce to allow those measures to be implemented.

But Calais is only one part of the challenge posed by those who seek to flout the law and come to the UK illegally. Since 2010 we have taken strong measures to address illegal immigration, most recently through the Immigration Act 2014. This landmark piece of legislation will:

  • ensure illegal migrants are unable to rent homes, open bank accounts or obtain a driving licence (in little over a month we have already revoked over 3,500 licences);
  • cut abuse of the immigration system by reducing the number of routes by which people can appeal immigration decisions from 17 to 4; and
  • clamp down on those who seek to evade immigration controls through sham marriage.

We have also driven forward further reform of the immigration system so that people with no legal right to benefits are refused them.

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35 Comments

  1. a-tracy
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    What does France do that the people don’t want to reside there? If they freely offer passage into France why don’t people just stop? What does the UK offer them that other EU countries don’t? Are we very much more beneficial in housing and job vacancies?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      a-tracy–For starters I bet they speak at least some English but little or no French

      • Hope
        Posted September 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I think it is clear to everyone that the coaliton and Labour want more immigration, I cannot find any long term plan that says otherwise. PR stunts to con us perhaps, but Cameron has been found out as a poor Blaire sideshow.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      The word has gone out that England is the place to go, for a variety of reasons; the Labour minister Barbara Roche helped that along by going on the radio during a visit to the Balkans and announcing that England needed more people.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted September 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Labour wants more Islamic immigrants because they vote Labour. They’ve been doing this since 1997.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      The French are tight with benefits. Ask any UK immigrant on their uppers in France. (Per an article in the Daily Mail today. )

  2. alan jutson
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Whilst this is all good stuff John, and I do like the fact that we are involved in Calais, so at least we can attempt to stop unwanted people from even arriving on UK soil, but the fact is thousands of people still think if they can get here, it is all milk and honey, with housing and Benefits provided.

    Perhaps we should do rather more to get our message across, that without proper paperwork, secured in advance, nobody has absolutely any chance of entry, and if they do make it, they will be returned from where they came immediately.

    The problem we have is that so many have made it here, then been granted asylum, or some other legal right, or temporary stay whilst awaiting investigation, that they spread to word to others.

    The above of course does nothing for the EU free movement of people from wherever they come, whoever they are, as long as they have EU paperwork from an EU Country.

    Thus our defences are only as strong as the weakest link in EU borders.

    The EU needs to wake up on this score. and in the meantime we should make our Benefits system conditional on a good track record of payment.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      “EU paperwork from an EU country” – The easily granted ticket to ride.

      The free movement rules should really be changed so that any country issuing citizenship/residence to an immigrant from outside the EU is responsible for that individual. There should be no freedom of movement for naturalised citizens (there should be no freedom of movement but especially for naturalised or granted citizens).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s right to make that kind of distinction between naturalised and natural born citizens. If you don’t want somebody from abroad to be adopted into your country as a citizen then don’t allow them to become a citizen, if you do allow them to become a citizen then you have to accept them as an equal citizen and fully integrate them into your society.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted September 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Dennis I disagree. It is not right that Italy can confer EU citizenship upon hordes of Somalies and other African who can the move freely around the EU. Italy gave them citizenship so Italy should clothe and feed them. This goes for those we naturalise and all the baltic states who hand out passports like confetti. The problem should be the issuer’s not other country’s.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    Thank you for speaking up for England in Parliament yesterday.

    • DaveM
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      And for England and the UK in general. I think you deserve a medal just for sitting in the same room as Hain.

      I don’t want to be at all negative about this post, but the fact remains…..EU. Enough said.

  4. Chris S
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    As a frequent user of the port, the only thing that will work long term is to maintain our border controls and vehicle checks in Calais but for France to go back to the previous agreement under which illegal immigrants found on a ferry or on arrival in any UK port on the South Coast can be immediately returned to France.

    We can then introduce proper checks under our complete control of all lorries and coaches arriving in the UK.

    If immigrants know that they have a 99% chance of being discovered, either in France or at any UK port AND they will certainly be returned to France on discovery, many will give up trying.

  5. ian wragg
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    And whats betting the HRA will drive a coach and horses through the legislation. Local Authorities will be obliged to home the homeless irrespective of legality or not. Emergency funds will be provided and not called benefits.
    What about the 1 million illegals (Migration Watch) who are already here.
    It’s a bit to late John. Only 34 weeks to go.
    Still time for CMD to recruit 2 million more for yes votes if he holds the sham referendum.

  6. Max Dunbar
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    All that you say sounds wonderful, but if only it were possible to implement these measures unimpeded.
    There are countless organisations, many of whom are government funded, that spring in to action much more quickly than the questionable Border Force and whose sole aim is to defy and outwit the law and enable these illegals to remain in our country. Until there is a genuine political will to deal with this problem then illegal immigration will continue unabated. None of the 3 main parties will ever take robust action to either stem the flow or close down the subversive organisations that deliberately help illegal immigrants to play the system.

  7. They Work for Us?
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Does your new Act have LibLab support? Or will it just disappear?
    Please add to it that no further indefinite leave to remain will be issued, just 3 year residence permits that can be terminated on criminal conviction. Issuing National Insurance Numbers should be consequent on a work permit or residence permit. It is too easy for illegals to start accumulating paperwork, starting with the NIN.
    Again take a default position of not allowing people to land if their paperwork is not in order. Put them back in charge of the carrier to return them to the place of embarkation.

    Reply It is a Coalition Bill.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    JR: “I thought you might appreciate an update on the Government’s work to respond to migrant pressures in Calais.”
    This was followed by a whole list of activities since 2010. They cannot be working as we see nightly the situation in Calais. Please explain why so many people are still trying to enter this country illegally and how you are going to stop them. Then tell us how you propose to control legal immigration – another area of failure by the three main Westminster parties.

  9. stred
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The ability of immigrants from anywhere in the world to obtain a driving licence may explain the increasing instances of appalling driving. These include excessive hornblowing, impatience, tailgating while indicating or light flashing, accelerating to prevent overtaking, sitting in the left blind spot to prevent pulling over, varying speed for no reason and undertaking has increased. I am a faster than average driver and not a lane hogger by the way. The driving test has been made more difficult for UK residents but sometimes you have to wonder how some drivers passed their test or whether they just buy them.

  10. ian
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    They do not stop in france because if you have not paid in you get nothing out and you cannot work in france if you do not speck the language and a lot more. That why migrants like the uk. They should go to lile and broad the euro star train and straight to london no check.

  11. Richard
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for your update.

    You say that 3500 driving licences have been revoked.
    But you do not say what has happened/is happening to the 3500 illegal immigrant owners of these licences. Are they being deported or are they still in the country ?

    Unless illegal immigrants are being deported, and it is seen to all that they are being deported, then this problem will grow and grow.

    The illegal migrants in Calais know that once they get into the UK they will be looked after by their own tribal communities and by the charities which exist to support these illegal immigrants. This is the “pull factor” which makes these illegal migrants want to come to the UK.

    Reply The update is a government statement, not mine.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Only failed politicians like the leaders of the LibLabCon could wrap up a disastrous failure as some sort of success. Thankfully, having read these posts, at least my fellow contributors are wise enough to see through it.

      Tad

  12. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    If benefits were contributions based then our pavements would not appear to be as golden to migrants.

    Additionally if government stopped subsidising business with tax payers’ money by paying out tax credits and housing benefit to the low paid (forcing business to pay a reasonable wage to its workers rather than making workers more poverty stricken) then again we would be less appealing to immigrants as a country.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Read todays Mail and see how the French treat penniless Brits. Quite correct I think. If you haven’t paid in you get nowt out.
      I bet immigration is still 500,000 next 12 months.
      Vote LibLabCON for overwhelming immigration. Vote UKIP and start to get our country back.
      I think immigration will be the deciding factor at the next election as we all know the economy is a fix.

  13. David
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I know people who were in the UK illegally but after a certain number of years managed to get British citizenship.
    Will this loophole be closed? If we reward illegals who stay here long enough with legal status we will always have illegal immigration (and of course it is morally wrong).

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      David,
      The future saviour of the Conservative party Boris Johnson says we should have an amnesty for illegal immigrants!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted September 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        And all the time, we thought that was a Lib Dem policy Brian. What’s that telling us?

        Tad

      • alan jutson
        Posted September 13, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        Brian

        All an amnesty will do is encourage others to get here illegally, and simply wait their turn for a pardon.

        Not sure Boris is such a large a capture as some seem to think.

  14. ian
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I can now see 400,000 oversee migrant after voting yes, rushing back across the border claiming to be english

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The most effective measure would be to automatically return every illegal entrant to his point of embarkation, no arguments and no exceptions.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      The strange thing about that Denis, is almost every person I speak to holds the same view. Yet the alternative view seems to hold sway in parliament. It could be said that it’s just down to the company I keep, but that isn’t quite true. Many life-long Labour people I meet and fraternise with feels that way too. We must conclude therefore, that there’s a broad swathe of the electorate who aren’t having their views taken into account – the great disenfranchised masses.

      Let’s hope that is remembered at election time, and people vote for a party that DOES take account of their views and wishes, and to paraphrase Mr Cameron, gives the whole bunch of those presently in power ‘an effing good kicking’. And I for one won’t be slow in wielding my boot!

      Tad

  16. Matt
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    All of the things you list are inputs and not outcomes. Are any of those actions actually having any effect? Do you know what you are actually trying to achieve?

    Personally I think the government is in a state of confusion about immigration. Some of its biggest commercial supporters are very much in favour of open borders whilst many voters are not.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted September 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Matt,

      The powers-that-be have taken us ever-closer to a union few people really wanted. They did it despite our protestations, to appease vested interests and/or warped political ideologies. All three main political parties are culpable. Then these half-baked people throw up their hands in confusion and despair when it all goes pear-shaped. Not for the first time it seems, we have Lions led by Donkeys!

      I could sort it. Any one of us could sort it. So what’s stopping them. Are they hoping the nightmare will just go away if they close their eyes for long enough?

      Tad

  17. Terry
    Posted September 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The problem at Calais rests with all of those silly countries that signed up to the Schengen Agreement.
    With completely solid Borders in place, International Law would take precedence when handling “refugees” and all others who arrive under that guise. They must all request asylum at their first adjacent point of entry and be confined to a holding area until their credentials are checked, thoroughly. All those without credentials must be rejected and informed to apply to the Embassy in their homeland. England, with a population of some 53 Millions (2011), covers an area of 130,395 Km2 which equates to 406 people per Km2. Contrast that with France 640,679 Km2 and population 66 Millions (2013 world bank) and they have just 103 persons per Km2. They have 4 times more room than little Britain.

    Therefore, I would ask the EU dictators why they do not address their desired immigration quota in terms of population density. It is easy maths to calculate that for France to match the English density their population would have to rise to 260,000,000. A sober but very scary thought, especially for the patriotic Frenchman, who should bear that in mind next time he complains about Britain and immigration. BTW. I have singled out England out of the UK because England has the most habitable areas within the kingdom.

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    The one measure you haven’t taken, because under EU membership you can’t, is to promise absolute control on the numbers coming in from each country. Yes, we need our very own net immigration quotas, specified country by country. And if that needs a change in the law, then change the law.

  19. APL
    Posted September 13, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    JR: “I thought you might appreciate an update on the Government’s work to respond to migrant pressures in Calais.”

    It’s time this situation was described as exactly what it is.

    A group on NON FRENCH have travelled across France and are laying siege to a French port trying to FORCE their way into our country.

    They have been AIDED and ABETTED by our ‘so called partner’ the French government, who allows citizens of a foreign country to cross freely through its own territory to conduct the siege.

    Our partners are behaving suspiciously like our enemy.

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    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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