As a result of migrant figures which are on the increase, the United Kingdom has made announcements of measures which are harsher and targeted at having the trend curbed. But a few critics are saying that a sledgehammer is being used by the government to crack a nut.
The government of Britain’s new bill on immigration is going to make an introduction of a lot of measures established to have an environment that is hostile created for migrants who are undocumented. When it becomes operational this autumn, the new legislation will make it an offense to be illegally employed, which will have a jail sentence of six months and a fine that would be unlimited. Powers that are new will permit the authorities to on an interim basis close down businesses that are suspected of hiring migrants that are illegal. It equally means that the licenses for trading could be taken off pubs, off-licenses, and takeaway shops, which fail consistently in complying with the rules of immigration.
Some controversy has been caused by the new measures which were announced on Tuesday. DW was informed by Don Flynn the Migrants Rights Network director that these were sectors of business in which individuals of migrant background had created for themselves across the country on high streets. The power to have a trading operation shut down on the basis of its failure to satisfy proper checks on immigration was an approach he felt was a sledgehammer being used to get a nut cracked.
Promises on migration
Ever since 2010 when he cam e into power, the Conservative party of David Cameron had chosen a stance that is hardline on immigration, making pledges to reduce to the tens of thousands net immigration. During the election in 2015, an overall majority was won by the Conservatives and they became disentangled from an alliance with the Liberal Democrats that was responsible for the blockages of some measures which were hardline in the duration of the last parliament. As the worldwide refugee crisis which is the biggest since the Second World War is being faced by Europe, the position of the United Kingdom government had continued to harden.
The current information of the bill on immigration were made public before the quarterly figures on net migration which is expected afterwards in this same week. The previous quarterly data, made public in May, revealed that at the end of 2014, there was a rise recorded in net migration to 318,000. Since the election in 2010, this was the highest level, and it was very close to the zenith that was in 2005 recorded when the government of labour had opened the borders of Britain to employees from other countries in Eastern Europe and Poland.
The data is an embarrassment for a government which made promises to drastically bring down the quantity of persons arriving in the United Kingdom; the harsh action which was vowed in the announcement on Tuesday was targeted at having criticisms pre-empted. James Brokenshire the immigration minister had stated that any individual who had thought that a soft touch was what the United Kingdom had become was now going to be doubtful. He stated that if an individual was there unlawfully, they were going to adopt action to stop them from getting an employment, getting a flat rented, getting an account opened at the bank, or even driving a vehicle.
The need for new legislation refused by critics
Still specialists have suggested that the extra measures are going to have minimal effects on the statistics. A deterrent in itself was the fact that those employed unlawfully in the United Kingdom were already operating under the risk of being deported.
A London refugee center volunteer Laura Howard stated that migrants who were not documented in the United Kingdom were already facing an environment that was hostile. This was why it was difficult to understand what goals were expected to be achieved by these powers that are new, except to emphasize that anybody who is running away from hardship and conflict was not going to be welcomed there.
She stated that a lot of the individuals that she has been working with had been forced into becoming destitute because of the asylum system which is very harsh and already pre-designed to having their claims rejected. If there was no safety in having them deported back to their country of origin, they are abandoned in nobody’s land, not able to make claims for support from the state but equally not able to be employed and make contributions by tax payments, which a lot of them would willing want to do. She wondered what aims were served by having them driven further into the economy that is black? There was nowhere for them to go to.
While some institutions, like Migration Watch UK the anti-immigration think tank, have given accolades in support of the bill and urged those in authority to actually go into action with their powers that are new, others have raised objections as to if the measures being proposed are proportional.
Flynn has stated that the research which had been undertaken on the impact on irregular migrants of employment had been a failure in looking for proof that effects which were anti-social which were supposed to warrant this type of penalties. His remarks were a reference to the planned sentences of six months. He pointed out that today migrants were already experiencing vulnerabilities to exploitation and trafficking as a result of years of management of migration that had been poor.
Rights of landlords bolstered by legislation
The employment crackdown was simply the most current detail to be gotten from the bill on immigration that was forthcoming. An announcement was made earlier in this month by the government that tenants who lost the right to reside in the United Kingdom were expected to be evicted by landlords in England. Empowerment was going to be provided to landlords to have tenancies ended, sometimes not with an order from the court, when requests for asylum failed and were going to be required legally to have the status of the migrant checked prior to a lease being agreed. There have been concerns raised about this.
The CEO of a homelessness charity Crisis Jon Sparkes stated that making it simpler for landlords to have people evicted who did not have the appropriate status on immigration could result in a lot of them encountering homelessness. He said that there was a need for government to give assurances that plans which are robust were going to be installed to ensure that individuals who were not able to go back home were not going to be left without homes. He said that they equally required safeguards to make sure this simpler type of eviction was not going to be available for abuse and utilized to have tenants who had the proper status of immigration evicted.
There have also been reports that officers of immigration were making preparations to raid sites for buildings, care homes as well as contractors for cleaning during the course of the months that were coming.
Howard stated that all of this was simply gesture politics which was not going to have any significant effect apart from making people who were already desperate to feel that the state was further hunting them.