Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Here we go again


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So, Phil “Muslims are Inbred” Woolas (left) is the new immigration minister, and Liam “Dessicated Calculated Machine” Byrne is out (and up). Woolas didn’t waste time before playing the populist, and immediately announced that he thought there ought to be a limit to the population. Unless he is planning a ‘one child’ policy, it rather implies an imposed cap on immigration.

I hate this moment, when I suddenly have to look back fondly on the last minister as being a paragon of liberal virtue in comparison to the new even more reactionary one. It really does seem to get worse and worse. It never ceases to astound me that Jack Straw was actually a liberal Home Secretary in comparison to his successors, for example.

There are in fact positive things to say about Liam Byrne. He wasn’t exactly cuddly, but he did preside over the introduction of a far less subjective system of immigration control, the points based system. There is less room for compassion and flexibility, but equally there is less room for the ignorant gut instinct routinely relied on by some visa officers in the past. The entirety of immigration law is also being re-written as I type, which can only help with transparency and good governance. The existing mish-mash of inter-woven and re-amended laws is a disaster area. And the proposals to amend the immigration appeal system seem to be remarkably well thought through.

It is as if Byrne has provided effective leadership to his team of civil servants, which is surely why he could not be wasted any longer at immigration and is on his way to a political Better Place.

For an inkling of what is to come, check out Woolas’ past¬†sensitive handling of race relations with Muslims. I imagine we can expect the revival of the proposal to prevent entry for foreign spouses under the age of 21 and some other thinly veiled (excuse the pun) mechanisms for keeping out immigrants from the Indian sub continent.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


4 Responses

  1. Freemovement
    Sounds like you approve of this new guy then.

    Immigration cap -wasn’t that a conservative policy a few years back. Is this guy so New Labour he is actually right wing.

    Liam Byrne, I found, spoke a lot, but communicated very little information (waffle error). He defended his department, even when it was wrong or incompetent or in breach of the law. Therefore any changes were always on the applicants side, never improvements to the system on the Governments side. He also raised charges substantially.

    I think you have to back to Major’s day or even Thatcher’d day to find a good leader of the Home Office.

    PS, Did you see “World’s Strictest Parents – Ghana.
    We need family’s like the Adega’s here in the UK. Accra is one of the most wonderful places in the world to visit. Only one thing wrong with the place – the British High Commission there.

  2. I have been watching Phil Woollas’s career for some time as I met him round a dinner table some years ago – long story. In those days he was very much a Kinnock Labourite. How things change, and never for the better in politics, it seems. I am truly sorry to see another good bloke go down the road of populist “Sun Reader” clap-trap to hold onto his seat. Ah well.