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.