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[UPDATE: The ‘Lib’ ‘Dems’ have agreed to a cap on non-EU immigration as part of the coalition deal. So, if too many people bring spouses and children in, the rest will have to wait until next year, and multi-national businesses will not be able to transfer employees to the UK? Will refugees be turned away if businesses have recruited too many workers? If more migrants are needed for a bumper harvest, the crops will be left to rot in the fields? Will there be a rush to bring in family and workers at the beginning of the ‘immigration year’? Or is it all a load of unworkable and impossible to implement hogswash intended only to appeal to the anti-immigration lobby? This will be interesting.]

Well, the Tories are in. I can’t imagine their Lib Dem stooges voting for an immigration cap or abolition of the Human Rights Act, though.

For anyone thinking of (re)joining the Labour Party now that Phil Woolas is no longer still immigration minister, you’ll need to wait in line…

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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.


17 Responses

  1. To be honest throughout their election campaign the Tories spoke of a cap on economic migration – therefore the numbers of refugees, settlements and the like should not be affected. There is also the added factor of the HRA, and I very much doubt that any cap would be ECHR compliant for the purposes of settlement.

  2. At least an official Cap is being honest and upfront. The limited number of visa’s issued each day from most overseas posts amounts to an unofficial Cap. Some other countries have a Cap.

    When ECOs make up refusal notices, knowing them to be inaccurate, to meet those unofficial Caps, an appeal in 12 to 18 months time results at great expense to both sides. Surely a delayed approval is better for both sides than an unnecessary appeal.

    Although a Cap and no amnesty is predicted, and I am disappointed about that, I still see things getting better under the coalition than under Labour.

  3. Theresa May…..not sure it could have been worse than this to be honest.

  4. From the narrow perspective of LGBT asylum I have to say the Tories and LibDems both made manifesto commitments for reform. So we might hope they’ll be treated as badly – rather than often worse – than other asylum seekers. I thought the Tory’s including that was very significant and they didn’t need to, so excuse me my moment of hope!

  5. Your usually excellent blog on this is disappointingly partial, and inaccurate. The agreement (which you’ve clearly not read in full if you think the LibDems are stooges) states:

    “We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.”

    The mechanism is undecided and relates only to economic migrants – so shroud-waving about “spouses and children” is a bit odd.

    I’m assuming like all right thinking people you agree with the final sentence.

    1. Check out the use of question marks. I’m sorry, but propping up a Tory government makes them stooges, just as it would if they were propping up a Labour government. It is the price of being a third party and choosing to go into full coalition.

      This is not an impartial blog (is there such a thing?) and makes no pretence at being so.

  6. The quote on the Guardian website says:-

    “We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU ECONOMIC migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit.

    We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.”

    Clearly refugees are not (or presumably could not be) economic migrants for this purpose. You have not read the wording. Whether family numbers so qualify as “economic” too must be questionable – Article 8 might be engaged in some cases -but we will have to see.

    At least there is the pledge on ending the detention of children which is more than the spinelessly pathetic Labour gov’t could manage.

    1. The full text wasn’t out when I posted. This is a blog for God’s sake. I fervently hope all of my questions will be answered in the negative in due course.

  7. Could anyone really be worse than Blunkett, Reid, Clarke, Woolas, Smith etc?

  8. Changes to the ECO guidance should make interesting reading. The non-refundable visa application fees from those capped will presumably help to defray the budget deficit.

  9. A cap on non-EU immigration was in the offing regardless of which party got in.

    It hardly matters what rhetoric the coalition government spout; they’ll want to have a better immigration record than Labour. Ultimately that means either finding the resources to locate and remove the majority of overstayers – or granting an amnesty.

    Ironically, the Tories could probably get away with this more than Labour ever could. In fact I’d be surprised if Nick Clegg doesn’t try to resurrect this issue further down the line.

  10. Hah! I tore up my Labour Party card before the 2002 Act came in because I was disgusted with the way my party were heading even then… I didn’t leave the Labour Party – the Labour Party left me.

    It is going to take a great deal more than the demise of Woollas (couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke!) to entice me back.

    1. Hi BB

      I think you are the immigration lawyer who blogs on the Guardian website?

      What did you think of David Cameron’s speech to the Home Office yesterday?

      As a Conservative, I saw his speech as nothing more than a PR and HR exercise. If not, what happened to you with Labour may well happen to me with the Conservatives. Mr DC, the HO are still not efficient; please refer to John Reid’s conclusion several years back, as it hasn’t improved since then.

  11. ‘For anyone thinking of (re)joining the Labour Party now that Phil Woolas is no longer still immigration minister, you’ll need to wait in line…’

    FM: whilst normally an avid reader of your blog (which I find both enjoyable on a personal level and informative on a professional one), I find this comment incomprehensible. If it was made in jest then I apologise in advance, but I will assume it was not. I feel safe in making this assumption as it seems to be symptomatic of a wider cynicism among practitioners since the installation of the new coalition.

    Why would you rejoin a party which, whilst in office, has betrayed so many of the values the left holds dear and about which betrayals, on this blog, you have so regularly complained? If it is your position that Labour would somehow be ‘different’ next time, why are you not prepared to extend such hope in the capacity of a party/govt to change to the incoming Tory administration? There is even more reason to be hopeful that they will be different given the heavy influence the Liberals will wield in much of the decision making.

    I understand that many who work in this field are left of centre. If anything, I am a Lib Dem voter and certainly see myself as a progressive. However, in contrast to many colleagues, who seem to represent the very worst of the congenital tribalism found in the card-carrying left, I am at least prepared to wait until this administration has fouled up before I begin criticising (or head down to my local Labour Party office to sign up).

    When Labour arrived in 1997, to judge whether they would be able to run the economy based on the Winter of Discontent, the last time they governed, would be unfair. Why are we doing the same to the Tories?


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