MPs were told this week there may be as many as one million illegal migrants in the UK and that it was very unlikely they would ever be removed.
But the revelation to the Home Affairs Committee by former borders chief David Wood will come as no surprise to those who have sat in government in recent years.
As many as one million illegal migrants could be living in the UK and it’s very unlikely they will be removed[/caption]
The reality is that this very serious problem has been developing for a long time. Fearing public uproar, successive governments have been secretive on the issue.
Only in 2005 — and under considerable pressure — did the then Labour government make an estimate of numbers.
At the time the illegal migrant population was put at 430,000. Since then, very little has been said on the matter.
But it is likely that, 12 years on, they now number upwards of a million, although we can never be certain of the exact figure.
The impact of the illegal immigrant population on this country is significant.
The cost to the taxpayer for use of the health service and schools, neither of which have robust checks on eligibility, will run into the tens of millions.
In the workplace, illegal migrants undercut the wages of British workers.
Many are also exploited by unscrupulous employers who get away with ignoring health and safety, the minimum wage and other employment legislation. This is unfair to those business owners who play by the rules.
The impact of illegal immigrants cost the taxpayer for use of the health service and schools[/caption]
Perhaps most worryingly, illegal migrants undermine the rule of law and further erode our collective confidence in the ability of government to control our borders. So how have we ended up in such dire straits?
Successive governments have done too little to remove those with no right to remain here and not enough to prevent the illegal migrant population growing still larger.
In the past the immigration system was so lax that anyone with a degree could come to the UK in search of work, and bogus students could sign up to a fake college and remain in Britain illegally after their visa had expired.
Some good work has been done to tighten the system up. However, serious deficiencies remain elsewhere.
Is it any wonder that places like the Calais “Jungle” camp spring up as people seek to make it to Britain?[/caption]
More often than not, those whose claim for asylum has been refused are not sent back to their home country.
Even foreigners who have served time in prison are not guaranteed to be put on a plane to their home country on release.
Meanwhile, as of last summer, our porous borders were manned by just three border patrol vessels — one for every 2,500 miles of coastline.
Is it any wonder that places like the Calais “Jungle” camp spring up as people seek to make it to Britain?
Often those whose claim for asylum has been refused are not sent back to their home country[/caption]
The removal of those with no right to remain has got steadily worse in recent years, and those either already here or who seek to make it to Britain know that the chances of removal are extremely small.
Enforced removals of failed asylum seekers and immigration offenders halved between 2009 and 2016 to just 5,000.
This decline is partly down to resources at the Home Office but other factors such as human rights legislation and the courts make removal more difficult.
A lack of political will to address obstacles certainly doesn’t help.
As a result, the Government has opted to create what used to be called a “hostile environment”, hoping that illegal immigrants will choose to go home.
To allow the illegal migrant population to grow would be an unacceptable betrayal of the British people[/caption]
Unfortunately, this will have only a limited effect. Even life under the radar in the UK can be better than life at home where economic opportunities can be extremely poor.
The public are clear about the need for a crackdown — with more than 80 per cent telling pollsters that Britain should take stronger measures to exclude illegal immigrants.
What is needed is political determination and a substantial increase in resources. We cannot sit on our hands any longer.
First, the 25 per cent cut in the Home Office budget should be reversed and the money spent on increasing removals at least to the level where they were a few years ago.
In addition, the Government should be taking a much tougher line with foreign governments that refuse to re-document their own citizens — replacing or giving them the documents they need so they can be returned.
Where necessary, Britain should make aid conditional on redocumentation, and visa conditions could be made tougher for nationals of countries that refuse to redocument.
I am not suggesting that one million illegal immigrants can be removed. We have to be realistic.
But to allow the illegal migrant population to grow would be an unacceptable betrayal of the British people.
- Lord Green of Deddington is chairman of Migration Watch UK.
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MORE than a million illegal immigrants are unlikely ever to be removed from Britain, MPs have heard. There were “enormous difficulties” in removing foreigners in the country unlawfully, according to David Wood, a former director-general of immigration enforcement. He told the Commons home affairs committee: “There’s probably over a million foreigners here illegally at the […]
MORE than a million illegal immigrants are unlikely ever to be removed from Britain, MPs have heard.
There were “enormous difficulties” in removing foreigners in the country unlawfully, according to David Wood, a former director-general of immigration enforcement.
A recent raid discovered 35 men living illegally in a house in Brent[/caption]
He told the Commons home affairs committee: “There’s probably over a million foreigners here illegally at the moment. There’s a large number, so no one could ever remove those really.
“But what there needs to be is a consequence.
“There needs to be seen that there is a risk that if you don’t abide by the rules, and you overstay or you commit crimes, there is a consequence and a real risk of being removed.”
Official statisticians have said it is impossible to accurately quantify the number of people in the country unlawfully.
The men were thought to be Eastern European and had placed mattresses in every spare space they could find[/caption]
An estimate 12 years ago put the UK’s total unauthorised migrant population at 430,000.
Illegal immigration is said to run at a minimum of 150,000 a year.
MPs were also warned that the Home Office would struggle to meet the challenge of Brexit without more resources.
Mr Wood, who retired from the Home Office in 2015, said the immigration system was always poorly resourced “and it’s becoming tighter and tighter”.
The house was a three-bedroom property in North West London[/caption]
He said a vast increase in border guards was needed by March to avoid post-Brexit chaos.
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A HUGE number of border guards need to be hired by MARCH to avoid customs chaos on Brexit in 2019, officials claim. MPs were warned today that unless the Government sanctioned a “considerable” recruitment drive, Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required. And David Wood, former Immigration Enforcement chief, […]
A HUGE number of border guards need to be hired by MARCH to avoid customs chaos on Brexit in 2019, officials claim.
MPs were warned today that unless the Government sanctioned a “considerable” recruitment drive, Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required.
Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required after Brexit without a ‘considerable’ recruitment drive[/caption]
And David Wood, former Immigration Enforcement chief, said new staff would have to be hired 12 months before Brexit so they can be vetted, trained and in place when we leave.
He told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “I don’t think under current resources the challenge of Brexit can be met – and certainly not smoothly.”
Union chiefs in August told the Sun that Britain required at least 3,000 new Border Force guards to be ready for Brexit.
Speaking today, Mr Wood the fact border staff would have to check EU arrivals meant there could be even bigger delays in deporting illegal immigrants.
He said Border Force would resemble a ball-chasing “football team of 9 year-olds” rushing from one problem to the next unless extra staff could be found.
He told MPs: “With Brexit the EU essentially becomes the rest of the world. That places additional pressure on the borders given the time taken to process each individual – considerable pressure.
“I fear it may be nearly impossible to be ready by 2019.”
John Vine, the ex-chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, told MPs registering three million EU citizens already in the UK was an “unprecedented bureaucratic challenge” in itself.
The Home Office admits Border Force numbers fell from 7,911 to 7,670 in 2016-2017.
The Home Office admits Border Force numbers fell from 7,911 to 7,670 in 2016-2017[/caption]
In August, Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the Borders, Immigration and Customs Union, said London City Airport was the only entry point in the UK with no Border Force vacancies.
She said: “Britain’s borders aren’t secure.”
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Rich builder keeps 120 migrants in illegal back garden ‘shanty town’
A MILLIONAIRE builder is putting up 120 migrants in an illegal “shanty town” in his backyard. Gerry Fitzgerald, 60, is said to rake in a fortune in rent from the Eastern Europeans, some claiming benefits. He lives in a £2million, five-bed mansion next door in North London. A source said: “It’s incredible, like a Third […]
A MILLIONAIRE builder is putting up 120 migrants in an illegal “shanty town” in his backyard.
Gerry Fitzgerald, 60, is said to rake in a fortune in rent from the Eastern Europeans, some claiming benefits.
He lives in a £2million, five-bed mansion next door in North London.
A source said: “It’s incredible, like a Third World slum.”
The migrants have been living in shacks and sheds behind Gerry Fitzgerald’s £2million mansion for up to four years.
Some get taxpayer-funded housing benefit to pay his rent, earning him up to £40,000 a month, it is claimed.
Documents show five multi-bed cabins were illegally built on the plot in North London.
A five-bed shed, six-bed building and eight-bed home have also gone up since 2013.
One visitor said: “It’s like a shanty town. There must be 120 people there. If the wood caught fire it would all go up.”
They said Mr Fitzgerald, 60, pays a Romanian couple to run the operation, adding: “They collect people, all Romanian, from the airport all the time.
“Men work in the day then sleep in beds used by the men working nightshifts.
“I got told there’s at least 120 if not 150 in there and he (Gerry) makes £40,000 a month.”
It would mean each tenant pays £333 a month in rent.
The migrant village is on an exclusive road in green belt near the homes of Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Aerial shots reveal sheds, a courtyard, decking, a canopy and rooms linked by tight corridors.
In six hours The Sun counted 20 vehicles coming and going.
A girl headed to school and at least ten residents left on foot. A bonfire burned all day.
A council inspection in January 2016 recorded around 50 people inside. Sources claim the number has doubled in 18 months.
In May 2016 the council told Mr Fitzgerald to tear down the three buildings and five cabins.
He lost his High Court appeal this May and they must go by the end of the year.
An enforcement notice said the complex was “sub-standard accommodation”.
Housing benefit claims were made there in 2012 and 2016.
Mr Fitzgerald denied earning £40,000, saying: “If there were 120 there I’d be living in the Bahamas.
Everyone staying there is legal under the annual short-term tenancy act. They pay council tax and have National Insurance.”
A neighbour said: “You can’t go building mini villages for migrant workers. People need real homes not sheds in gardens.”
Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius said: “We took legal action to resolve the situation.”
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