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The more detailed coalition government programme is now available. The immigration section doesn’t look too bad so far but is, inevitably in a general purpose document of this nature, very sketchy. The commitment to ending child detention for immigration purposes looks pretty firm, though. There has been considerable scepticism expressed so far about the announcement of ending child detention at Dungavel in Scotland – instead families will be brought south of the border to be detained, some have suggested.

The full text on immigration is as follows:

The Government believes that immigration has enriched our culture and strengthened our economy, but that it must be controlled so that people have confidence in the system. We also recognise that to ensure cohesion and protect our public services, we need to introduce a cap on immigration and reduce the number of non- EU immigrants.

• We will introduce 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.

• We will create a dedicated Border Police Force, as part of a refocused Serious Organised Crime Agency, to enhance national security, improve immigration controls and crack down on the trafficking of people, weapons and drugs. We will work with police forces to strengthen arrangements to deal with serious crime and other cross-boundary policing challenges, and extend collaboration between forces to deliver better value for money.

• We support E-borders and will reintroduce exit checks.

• We will apply transitional controls as a matter of course in the future for all new EU Member States.

• We will introduce new measures to minimise abuse of the immigration system, for example via student routes, and will tackle human trafficking as a priority.

• We will explore new ways to improve the current asylum system to speed up the processing of applications.

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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.


15 Responses

  1. “we need to introduce a cap on immigration and reduce the number of non-EU immigrants.”

    Still a bit sketchy on what the details are on this. Will be interesting to hear how they propose to make this work!

    Perhaps with the liberal influence we now have in Government this simply means that all immigrants who arrive at port will simply be handed a free item of headwear?

  2. “• We will explore new ways to improve the current asylum system to speed up the processing of applications.”

    And, hopefully, expedite the processing of appeals that are approved! It’s been a year since this travesty began, and 3 months now since the AIT judge agreed a simple, blatant error was made in reading my bank statements, yet the UKBA says they haven’t even started to process things. My right to free transit between the UK and USA is 100% restricted until they ‘get around to it.’ I am quite furious.

  3. “• We support E-borders and will reintroduce exit checks.”

    I am not sure how re-introducing exit checks is compatible with reducing the national debt. They are a classic example of “unnecessary beaurocracy” that provides no tangible benefit to the country. Just as the CTA disbanding was scrapped, I think exit controls will go the same way.

    “Serious Organised Crime Agency” – I wonder how many overstayers will be engaged by this agency, given the not so “serious” nature of the offence.

  4. This bit is intriguing, in the ‘Equalities’ section:

    We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

    Firstly, you would hope they would know the difference between deportation and removal.

    Secondly, what is new is this? We do not presently remove people, regardless of the PSG or other convention reason they come under, if there is a risk of the above!

    The debate in this area (despite what certain militant bloggers would have you believe), is not about us exposing removed homosexuals to a real risk of persecution, it is about whether there is a real risk in the first place.

    It is a legitmiate argument to say that discretion will reduce the risk to below that of a real risk, and we can hardly be criticised for pursuing a position that the AIT and the COA agreed with. If the Supreme Court uphold it great, if not, fine, we’ll no longer argue it.

    But this ConDem position has no substance (or even logic) in it whatsoever. A cynical attempt to appear socially-liberal, when the majority of the coalition simply are not.

  5. “It is a legitmiate argument to say that discretion will reduce the risk to below that of a real risk”

    No it’s not. It’s a homophobic argument. It’s an argument based on discrimination. It’s an argument based on an unreality.

    Exactly how does one remain ‘discreet’ in Iraq? Or Jamaica?

    How on earth is a lesbian supposed to live discreetly in these societies? By succumbing to the, often violent, pressure and suffering rape for the rest of her life?

    Have you even read the ‘Failing The Grade’ report which absolutely nails the rampant homophobia in the system?

    And am I the ‘militant’ you refer to? Very proud to be so labeled!

    1. I don’t think it is being suggested that one should live discreetly. Rather it is a case of whether one chooses to live discreetly.

      There are many gay people living in the ‘modern’ west (famous faces included, Ricky Martin, numerous sports stars) who have managed to keep their sexuality discreet.

      I think it’s the classic case by case basis scenario; some will be able to keep it discreet and indeed wanting to keep it discreet while others can’t.

    2. Of course it’s being suggested. The whole idea is based on just what you say – that somehow one can be ‘in the closet’ in Jamaica or Cameroon or Iraq just like Ricky martin and be safe.

      These are not societies like ours. Violent homophobia is the culture and it is extremely difficult to not come to attention in some way. Think of trying to live quietly as a lesbian in a society where a woman is expected to marry and if not why not.

      The UNHCR has said quite clearly that being expected to be ‘discrete’ is a breach of basic human rights. It also goes against any sense for anyone who knows anything about how it is to be a lesbian or a gay man in these societies.

      Here is a post of ours which says more about this http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2010/05/98-sent-back-independents-article-makes.html

    3. I’m afraid the UNHCR example is a poor one; the UNHCR (udnerstandably) has it’s own agenda- the courts have ruled many a time that their definition of what breaches ones human rights is not an appropriate measure.

      I might also add that your description of certain countries and their attitude is rather offensive. You seemed to have tarred entire nations as being homophobic. Whilst it of course happens in some states and is often ignored or even encouraged by some states I think yours tatement is somewhat extreme, and as I say, offensive to the well meaning people of those nations.

    4. The Home Office very much has its own ‘agenda’. UNHCR’s position might more properly be described as its ‘mandate’. UNHCR is international in nature and I think you will find plenty of endorsement of the UNHCR approach in higher court authorities, such as Januzi. I’m finding your comments and your attitude very offensive, and I strongly condemn your cack handed attempt to seize and moral high ground in order to defend your indefensible position. I’ve already suggested you stop leaving comments. You seem blissfully unaware of the damage you do to the reputation of your ex or current employers, the Home Office, by continuing. My ability to screen comments is limited to the nuclear option of entirely disabling them for any given post or completely, which I will do if this continues.

    5. Paul

      I love culture, particularly African culture. Having visited Africa more than half a dozen times I have seen the benefits – well behaved kids, safe streets, good well-being, solid communities, large families. (Envy of the UK?)

      While countries like Uganda have gone far too far, your description “Violent homophobia” is inaccurate, & judgemental.

      You give me the impression you are a militant, PC, left, progressive liberal. Please remember there are many other people with differing opinions to yours.

    6. Mr T, I’m afraid you are utterly and completely wrong on this one, although I do so love your lumping together of ‘militant, PC, left, progressive liberal’. The human rights reports on African countries are littered with stories of virulent and violent homophobia, and the news here in the UK regularly throws up examples: the Ugandan proposed death penalty, the Malawian 14 year sentence, the awful comments by senior religious figures across the continent. You have also missed out a few features quite prevalent in Africa – appalling governments and corruption, poverty, FGM and other gender violence, very low average life expectancy and terrible child and birth mortality rates. I’m not envious of any of that. Of course, there are plenty of other parts of the world where there are serious problems with homophobia as well, some of which were mentioned by Paul in passing, no-one is picking on Africa here.

      One of the joys of human rights law is that it sets universal standards by which states and state actors can and should be held to account. Condemnation of contravention of those universal principles — discrimination, for example — is more properly described as ‘right’ than ‘judgemental’.

    7. FM you appear to write as though I condemn the UNHCR? Far from it- I am a great admiere of what they do. Hoever, I think when one considers that they have criticsed 159 countries on the planet it is indicative of what their agenda/ mandate is but it is an agenda/ mandate which I believe someone has to pursue and it would be a very sad day if they were to ever stop.

      I am disappointed at your description of my postings; as I’ve mentioned on previous posts, much of what I write is backed up by factual material.

    8. FM

      Oh dear, a bit of “Elephant hurling” hey.

      I know you are a well travelled man so would have thought first hand experiences be considered better than second hand Reports. Given the population of the African continent, you can find anything you want for those reports.

      “appalling governments, corruption, poverty, FGM & other gender violence, very low average life expectancy and terrible child and birth mortality rates” – true to some extent but the subject was CULTURE not economics.

      “the awful comments by senior religious figures” – is this a problem for lawyers?

  6. I really do hope they do something to stop the detention of children.. I find it extremely shocking to think that anybody, and especially children, have to spend time in those detention centres. It’s not right..and I say that whenever or wherever the opportunity presents. Or even sometimes when it doesn’t.

    My dad (long since died)came here to the UK from Africa more than 70 years ago and he was only about 10 years old. He was a stowaway and then a galleyboy on a ship and I don’t know how he got on in life before he met and married my mother (how and why he came here etc.) because he never talked about his life in that sense and we never asked.

    I suppose that is some of the reason why i don’t like to think of children today being detained-I think ‘I wonder what they would do with my Father today?

    Lock him away of course.

    But even that aside and as I initially said, its not right. And never will be. Honestly, I find it truly shameful and I hope things change, as they have stated.