Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fixing The Weakest Link In Britain's Borders

Conservative Home posted a useful General Election Brief last weekend which I missed at the time. Immigration is an issue which concerns a lot of people that I meet. It is also a topic that needs to be treated sensitively to ensure that extremists do not prosper on one hand and that debate is not swept under the carpet on the other hand, for fear of causing offence.

David Cameron told Andrew Marr that he favoured a cut in immigration to levels last seen in the nineties, in the tens of thousands rather than the 200,000 peak that we have seen in the last few years. Any cap would be fixed according to economic needs.

Last Saturday, Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling announced a number of measures to crack down on abuse of the student visa system. International students studying in the UK have tripled in number since 1997. The overseas student market is worth £8.5bn to our economy but there are a significant number of students who disappear when in Britain. Measures include:

  1. Only the top universities will be able to fast track students through the immigration system.
  2. Most foreign students will be expected to deposit a £1,000 to £6,000 bond that will only be repaid after the student has finished their studies and left the country. Forfeited bond payments will be used to help pay for deportations.
  3. Student migrants will have to return to their home countries and make a new visa application if they want to switch courses or move to a work permit visa.
  4. There will be a clampdown on foreign students using the existence of UK bank accounts to borrow large amounts of money. There will be clearer requirements for applicants for a student visa to demonstrate ability to fund their studies.
  5. UK citizens associated with bogus colleges will be registered and tracked. 1,925 organisations have been approved by the UK Border Agency to sponsor migrant students but there are only 165 universities and Higher Education colleges in the United Kingdom.
  6. Greater enforcement of existing rules by the Border Police Force including more unannounced raids on colleges suspected to be bogus. There will also be closer inspection of applications from very sensitive countries. An extraordinary 13,000 visa applications from Afgahinistan and Pakistan have not been fraud-checked since October 2008, according to Tory research.

Chris Grayling told the press, "The student visa system is a huge loophole in our border controls, and despite years of promises the Government has completely failed to deal with the problem. This loophole has not only allowed large numbers of people to enter the country who would not have been able to do so otherwise, but is now a genuine security risk for us. In the current climate we cannot possibly go on like this. Our proposals will transform the system, making it much more difficult for those who want to abuse it, whilst encouraging genuine students to come to our colleges and universities."


Cllr David Pickles said...

All a lot of utter nonsense of course. Cameron, and Cllr Scully know full well that immigration cannot be cut until we control our own borders. And as the "Tory" loving Daily Mail said this week - "Big words Dave, but control now rests with Brussels" - until we leave the EU then not even the Lord himself can control our immigration. So enough of this piffle. Tell the electorate the truth, stop wrapping it up in toryspeak, in other words what you think the electorate want to hear, and lets have some honesty. Oops sorry - the words honesty and "tory" don't in fact go together do they?

Cllr David Pickles said...

I say again. How can Cameron have the nerve to pronounce he will "control" immigration, when control of our borders rests with Brussels? He is either an out and out liar or is misguided somehow. I hope he's not getting advice from Sutton.

David B, CB said...

Good to see that the secular and tolerant UKIP has announced it wants a ban in the UK on women wearing burkas.

Is race and immigration (and a pandering to bigotry and cynicism) to be the new UKIP obsession, now that a poll has shown that the European issue is important to only 3% of the population?

Why do burkas - a traditional Islam form of dress - so offend UKIP, whose luddite attitudes to women have been so well described by UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom?

How long until the UKIP Party Uniform includes black shirts?

And, as Lord Pearson of Rannoch claims to be in direct touch with God, are we to assume that this is God's will too?

Some well-argued responses about your party's policies would be most welcome, Mr Pickled.

Cllr David Pickles said...

Until you have the courtesy to address me by my real name, I will ignore your ridiculous jibes. All I will say is the "Tories" are blatantly not in touch with the populace. However UKIP are - and doesn't it get right up your nostrils? You bet it does.

David B, CB said...

What a cop out! Answer the questions! Or do you not have any answers to the specific points?

What is your view on the wearing of burkas?

Is misogyny a UKIP policy?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Cllr P in a Burka!

Cllr David Pickles said...

Not a cop out at all "Mr B" - believe you are a Labour supporter how interesting you like to come on here and comment.

This government have done more than any in history to damage our country and wreck our culture and society. They have forced their views on people who haven't been asked about it. Yes, I am all in favour of "banning the burkha". Why should I be stopped from entering a supermarket or post office in a crash helmet and someone else can hide their face? This is supposedly a christian country and EVERYBODY should abide by our laws, our cultre and our values. If you are so in favour of things multi-cultural I suggest you decamp and put yourself up for election in Baghdad West. And before you bleat on with the sort of reply I expect, NO it's nothing to do with racism, but believe it or not - fair play. Ever heard of that?

David B, CB said...

David, you seem to think the UK has a single culture - probably anglo-saxon Christian. What you are effectively saying is WE should impose OUR culture and views on anyone who is not of anglo-saxon Christian origin. Yet you say you don't want 'foreign' cultures imposing their ways on you! You are suggesting the very thing you object to!

(And no, I don't want sharia law or any imposition of foreign culture in my country either. Nobody will ever force views on me I don't want. But that isn't what you're saying.)

You imply you are against 'all things multi-cultural'. The UK has not been a singularly anglo saxon Christian country for decades. We were invaded by foreigners only a thousand years ago, while the roots of the British Empire were forged 400 years ago, when we Brits imposed our culture on half the world.

I hope what you meant to say was that everyone should RESPECT our culture and values, as we should respect theirs, which I would agree with. We all have to abide by the law, so that's a moot point.

I have traveled to countries where the burka is widely worn and have never had anything but the warmest welcomes and hospitality, as well as respect for my culture - a far cry from what non-white 'foreigners'(and even British muslims) receive in the UK.

You are in danger of creating an impression with this policy that you believe all burka wearers are concealing bombs and weapons, or are about to commit crimes. I do not believe that is your intention. I believe the presentation of your knee-jerk reaction policy is misguided and incorrect.

You may argue if people have nothing to hide, then why hide your face? Well, the 'nothing to hide' argument is the one used by the pro-identity card lobby, and I'm sure you don't agree with that.

I agree there are serious problems with how Islam deals with the issue of face covering in the UK, especially where airport security is concerned, and I believe these issues should be addressed first before a burka ban is considered. Even the French are treading carefully on this one.

If you did not mean that you wish to impose our laws, culture and values on others, then please clarify. Otherwise I will assume you do not really like anyone who doesn't fit in with your culture, and that you believe anyone wearing a burka is concealing a bomb or intends to rob a bank. Heaven knows what you'd think of someone wearing a burka who rides a motorbike.

I do not believe you are racist, David, but I do think you are xenophobic in your outlook to this particular issue.

This most certainly is not about 'fair play'.

But thank you for a relatively clear expression of your views. It is appreciated.

And don't ever accuse me of being a Labour supporter or I will have to take action and spike your Guinness.

Belle Mont said...

I assume that if UKIP vote to ban the veil at work, a lot of beekeepers would be upset.

Cllr David Pickles said...

David B, CB - I think you'll find it was Cllr Scully who informed me you were a Labour supporter. I suggest you take it up with him.

How droll Belle Mont. Pity you don't have something constructive to say.

brakestow said...

Glad to see that you obviously cant keep confidences if that is true.
But then again we have known that for a long time.
Dear oh dear,you may well have started something now...

Cllr David Pickles said...

really brakestow? Care to issue your real name here? No, I thought not. As gutless as the "tories" you pretend to support.

David B, CB said...

Mr Pickles, you have accused me of being a Tory stooge, a Conservative and now a Labour supporter. That's pretty good so far.

What do I have to do do get the set?

David B, CB said...

By the way, I was born in a mining community, run my own business, am a director of a charity and own four properties. What does that make me?

Spare me your labels. They don't always fit - some of us are capable of having opinions without having a party affiliation.

Cllr David Pickles said...

That probably makes you a rather wealthy individual who originally supported the miners strike.

Cllr David Pickles said...

I really do have to laugh. The useless "Tories" (to quote Peter Hitchens) can do absolutely nothing about mass immigration. I point you all to today's Daily Express comment - which says it all. Unless we leave the EU we are going to be overwhelmed with immigrants. Now who wants to call me a racist? That's about the only thing the "tories" and Lib-Dems can say. Trouble is the people want something else - which is why the "tories" will not win. Tally Ho!