Public majority in Britain are of the opinion that illegal immigrants living in the UK, should be allowed to work so that they could contribute positively to the UK economy.
In a program entitled, “The Big Question”, telecast by BBC recently, the attendees were of the opinion that it would cost the government an arm and a leg to send all the illegal settlers back home. Claims about the number of illegal immigrants living in UK, vary between 600,000 to three million. There is no way in which we can judge the authenticity of the illegal immigrants in UK. A technocrat said, “it would take the Home Office 35 years to send all the illegal immigrants back home – if their number remains the same.”
A representative from the London Mayor’s Office said that illegal immigrants should not be given a Carte blanche. Instead a restricted permission to work in UK for five years would be a step in the right direction. Those granted amnesty during these five years should be monitored closely and if they are found contributing positively to the society without committing any crime or creating a law and order situation, only then such illegal immigrants status should be further regularised.
It may be worthwhile to add that a study commissioned by the London Mayor Boris Johnson had recently suggested that an immigration amnesty would lead to a GBP3 billion boost to the economy. The London School of Economics study also concludes that an amnesty would not lead to large scale illegal immigration, as border controls would prevent this happening. The report’s findings were welcomed by Boris Johnson.
The main points in that report are as follows:
Estimates that there are 618,000 illegal migrants in the UK.
More than two-thirds 442,000 are in London.
If illegal immigrants were given legal status in the then GBP 846 million a year would be raised in taxes.
The public sector costs of granting indefinite leave to remain would be about GBP410 million a year.
Total costs could rise to GBP1 billion a year in the long term if the immigrants receive welfare benefits and public sector housing.
The proposed amnesty would be for those who had been in the for at least five years. It is estimated that two thirds of illegal immigrants would be eligible. The report estimates that regularizing the status of illegal settlers would result in:
An increase in individual earnings of 25%.
An increase in the rate of employment of 6%.
An additional GBP3 billion a year in national gross domestic product.
Amnesties and regularisation programmes have been common in a number of Countries, including in France. The amnesty idea was first mentioned by Boris Johnson more than a year ago in April 2008. This sparked widespread controversy. The Immigration Minister at the time Phil Woolas said that it would lead to more people trafficking.
The LSE research came as a Commons public accounts committee report showed it would be at least another four years before the UK Border Agency reached its “optimum capacity” to remove failed asylum seekers.
Only 12,000 were removed last year. The MPs’ report said Home Office staff on asylum cases are still using fax machines, paper files and handwritten interview notes and will not have a better IT system until 2013. It will also take four years to expand the availability of detention spaces to the 4,000 needed to step up the pace of removals.
The Home Office told the MPs that it was on track to finish working through the backlog of 400,000 to 450,000 cases, some of which date back years. The backlog will finally be cleared by 2011.
Edward Leigh, chairman of the public accounts committee, said: “The process of coming to decisions on whether to grant asylum is still too slow.”
UK Border Agency has turned down the idea of giving amnesty to illegal immigrants. A spokesman of UKBA said:
‘The policy on an amnesty for illegal immigrants remains unchanged and is very clear – there will be no amnesty. Those here illegally should go home.
‘We have a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those who truly need our help, but to grant an amnesty would create a significant pull factor to the UK and would undermine the asylum system as a whole.’