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UK Immigration Scandals

Westkin Associates – UK Immigration Scandals

As we wave goodbye to Theresa May and usher in a new prime minister it would be a good time to reflect on the most damaging immigration scandals that resulted as part of the Theresa May initiated “Hostile Environment” during her period as Home Secretary and later as PM.

How a single number can shape inhumane Government Policy?

Firstly it would be useful to recap what started this chain of events. Although one could argue that the immigration system of today is a result of decades of neo-libral policies, for Theresa May it began with the pipe dream and proclamation that the Tories would reduce immigration below the hundreds of thousands, a doomed promise. What followed has been repeated failure to meet this completely unrealistic target and which in its own way was seized upon by UKIP and other right-wing groups to push the notion of Brexit to the public domain. – Long before the nation went to the polls Theresa May as the Home Secretary initiated her plan known as the “Hostile Environment” – a plan to make living in, applying for or settling in the UK so uncomfortable that it would in theory help the Tories reach their ill-fated target. What happened in reality was that they did not even get close to their target but managed to invoke some of the largest immigration scandals of the past decade, all whilst stoking up anti-immigration tensions.

Windrush Scandal – 2018

The Windrush scandal was called so after the so called Windrush generation that came from the Caribbean and British colonies after the second world war to help rebuild a country savaged by war.

They entered the UK as British Subjects and up until the early 1970s were granted automatic legal rights to enter the UK, as such they were never given or requested a proof of their status, even after several changes in the Immigration rules that restricted immigration from the now Commonwealth.

These people settled in the UK, went to school, took on work and help rebuild the UK post war.
As the Hostile Environment policy came in to effect in 2010 the plan was to make life in the UK so difficult for persons without leave in the hope that they would pack their bags and leave at their own accord.

As the Hostile environment policy tightened its grip, Windrush victims were being disproportionately affected by the inhumane policy, as many of them never needed confirmation of their status and worse yet because of the lack for record keeping from the Home office the victims were unable to even prove that they were eligible to formalise their status. The Home office as a result seized on the situation by sending out thousands of notices of deportation to persons whom could not instantly prove their right to reside in the UK. Estimates suggested that 57,000 people could have been affected.

Over the next 8 years hundreds of innocent people were detained, deported or removed from the UK. Many people lost their jobs, houses or committed suicide because of their helplessness. Several news outlets also reported that several innocent Windrush victims had been murdered upon their deportation to a country that they had no connection. Network or opportunities in, even though they were British Citizens.

Deportation targets 2018

As the media broke the windrush scandal and public outcry forced the now PM Tehresa May on the back foot a related scandal broke out.

Leaked Internal memos established that the Home office had set out by the now Home Secretary Amber Rudd to May an increased deportation target of 12,800 deportations, which she wrote was “ambitious but deliverable”

Rudd repeatability denied in Parliament that such targets existed saying that “that is not how we work” However later leaked private letters between Rudd and May would prove that there were in fact very specific targets.
It was suggested by many that the Windrush generation were targeted as easy targets for deportation as they were generally West Indian pensioners without any documentation to prove their right to reside in the UK. The scandal resulted in the resignation of Amber Rudd.

Go Home Vans – 2013

As if dreamed up by a Marketing Firm whom specialised in Racist slogans, the Go Home vans were thought out with just as much intellect.

These van with the slogan “Go Home or face arrest” were driven around areas of London with high numbers of immigrant populations.

The vans received wide spread criticism from MP’s and the public for mirroring slogans and language from the 1970’s National Front. The vans were soon scrapped after proving ineffective and being deemed as the worst kind of divisive politics

Right To Rent Checks – Current

Introduced in 2015, the Right to rent checks required private landlords to do Immigration checks on any persons renting from them, or face a fine of up to £3000. in effect placing an obligation for private citizens to enforce the immigration system.

The Home office’s own convoluted guidance of over 40 pages and 10,000 words meant that 27% of landlords were less likely to want to rent to any persons whom had a foreign sounding name or accent according to several studies. As such the policy disproportionately affected persons from minority ethnic background in the right to find basic accommodation.

As the trial period ended and the policy was due to be pushed out nationally, In January 2019 the High Court of Justice deemed that the Right to Rent check was incompatible with the Human rights act and therefore was discriminatory.

The court ruled that the policy had “little to no effect” on the aim of the policy which was to maintain immigration control, the court also mentioned that even if the policy worked as intended then then any positives were significantly outweighed by the discrimination that it caused.

The Home office are currently looking in to appealing this judgement.

Increased Fees – Current

Each April the Home Office have been spiking the costs for migrants to enter, remain or settle in the UK. Up until 5 years ago the fees still being high would rise by around £50 per year. However in the last few years application fees have in some cases increased by 450%.

Analysis conducted by freedom of information requests showed that the Home office made 800% profit on an application for Naturalisation which currently costs £1330.

Applications for dependent relatives currently sit at £3,250 per person, this being for a visa category of less than 12% approval rate.

Further analysis showed that the Home Office processing teams spent only minutes in deciding certain cases, despite the amount of money paid by applicants.

Furthermore all migrants are required to pay an advanced surcharge in to the NHS of £400, per person per year of their visa, even when they are paying national insurance.

English Test Scandal – Current

This scandal goes back to 2014 when the Home office rightly discovered that some institutions were helping student cheat their TOIEC English tests. The home office engaged a company called ETS to help identify migrants whom had cheated.
What resulted was a shoddy and heavily criticised investigation procedure which deemed 34,000 test as having cheated and a further 22,000 as potentially having cheated, that would have accounted for 97% of all the test taken during the period.

The Home office took this information at face value and began curtailing visas for migants whom were interconnect or had no way to challenge the accusations made against them. Migrants were denied access to the recording that ETS claimed showed they had cheated and did not have a direct right of appeal against the issue. The Home office took action against 25,000 people and branded them cheats without any real consideration of if the evidence would stand up.

This scandal did not just affect migrants but many colleagues and universities lost or had their licences suspended because several students that had been accused were attending their institutions.

Till this month around 2,500 students have been removed from the UK and a further 7,200 left after being told that they were liable for removal or detention. Over 3,6000 people have managed to win their appeals against the accusations of the Home office.

G4S – £14 million earner. – Current

Hot off the press is the latest scandal that shows that private security contractors G4S whom had to be bailed out by the British Army at the cost of the tax payer during the 2012 Olympics for failing to prepare in time, raked in more than £14 million from running just one Home office removal centre Brook House.

G4S continued to get highly lucrative contracts over a 6 year period despite several scandals hitting the centre over the years, most notably from an undercover BBC Panorama investigation which showed widespread abuse of migrants at the centre, including physical assaults, bullying and verbal attacks on migrants from G4S staff.

In response to the above scandals the Home office fined the firm a pitiful £2,768, not a smudge of the yearly 20% profit G4S was earning. G4S continues to hold several contracts for the Home office including the one at Brook House.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
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