David Cameron has announced a package of new measures designed to “control and reduce immigration”, to be unveiled in the new government’s first Queen’s Speech.
The Prime Minister’s speech came on the same day that official migration statistics show the Conservatives are still failing in their ambition of cutting net migration to the tens of thousands.
A bold new policy – or a distraction from the bad news? Let’s take a look.
“Uncontrolled immigration means too many people entering the UK legally but staying illegally.”
The Prime Minister obviously thinks this is a big problem, but the Home Office actually says it doesn’t have any statistics on how many of these people are living in Britain.
John Vine, the last independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, found that the department did have some figures relating to immigrants who stay too long, but could not provide him with complete data.
In his last report in 2014, the outgoing inspector noted that over-stayers who fail to report to the Home Office are supposed to be recorded as “absconders” and their details should ultimately be passed on to police and immigration enforcement officers.
But staff told the watchdog that this was not happening in practice, and there was a backlog of around 10,000 over-stayers in London alone who had not been classed as absconding from immigration control. (more…)