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The good, the bad and the UK Border Agency

In what seems to be an attempt to appeal to the typical Sun reader and look tough on immigration, UK Border Agency has really overstepped the line with their continuous use of mockery and tabloid style puns in their press releases. I wonder how does this square with the current anti-discrimination legislation.
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This practice is nothing new and MRN has already reported on the issue last year. So far nothing has changed and if anything it would seem that UK Border Agency has stepped up their attempts to portray migrants as unwanted cheats and criminals.

It is no secret that the UKBA works hard to appeal to the likes of Daily Mail and Sun readers. This is a well publicised communications strategy, with the main idea of delivering a strong message to the general public about the success of government policies in effecting deportations, screening out unwanted migrant workers, and the sharp reductions in asylum applications.

Among other things this entails tailoring press releases to imitate the key principles of tabloid writing (very much like the title of this blog illustrates). To give you a taste, here’s a few titles, which appeared on the UKBA website in the last couple of weeks.

20 August 2010 - Bogus dentist lied through his teeth to work in the UK
A bogus dentist from Iraq has been found guilty of faking identity documents and qualifications to practise in the UK.

21 August 2010 - Officers discover something fishy in Tring
Three foreign nationals have been arrested following a UK Border Agency raid on a fish and chip shop in Tring.

21 August 2010 - Double takeaway of illegal workers from Mildenhall KFC
Two foreign nationals have been arrested following a UK Border Agency raid on a KFC fast-food outlet in Mildenhall.

24 August 2010 - Illegal migrant attempt to skip town sunk by UK Border Agency
A Chinese man who tried to avoid arrest by running into the sea in Torquay last week was deported on Wednesday 18 August.

I believe that I’m not the only one who finds this blatant ridicule. Moreover, it would appear to be a clear sign of the cynical attitude, anti-immigration sentiment and culture of disbelief reported to exist across the UKBA. The fact that earlier this year UKBA employee Louise Perrett talked about how asylum seekers are tricked, humiliated and mistreated, really shouldn’t come as a surprise after reading these titles.

And, it would seem that when you work for an organisation like UK Border Agency where publicity releases of this type are signed off by your superiors, you really shouldn’t fear disciplinary procedures. On the contrary, what you ought to expect is a promotion to the press department.

If you are concerned about the specific press releases from the UKBA then do post a comment or get in touch via email. I really don’t say this often, but perhaps this might be a good time to drop your local MP an email.

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Comments

The border agency don't know how many illegals are here but I think the figure is over 1 million. When wages in Somalia are £850 a year - if you get to the UK you get a nice house with running water, electricity and welfare. So why won't economic migrants come and just say they are seeking asylum if caught in UK illegally?

@anonymous

A stupid question to ask, but would you mind explaining how the hell do you know if the UKBA doesn't. You might wanna drop them an email then. I'm sure they will be thrilled to hear from you.

Otherwise, the stuff the UKBA puts out really is absolutely shocking! They have some nerve!

There are clearly too many illegals and I have no bleeding heart for the ones who are turned away - they rob our poor and needy.

@anonymous

Please remind me again, why is it so clear that there are "too many illegals"?

The fact of the matter is that the UK Border Agency, an organisation that should have everyone's best interest at heart and promote good relations, tries to impress Sun readers, who like you already know stuff. It's damn hard to convince people who already know, before all the facts are in.

And if anything these kind of press releases re-printed in the Sun will only convince you that you were right the whole time in thinking that the country is full of "illegals".

@anonymous (2 above)

I want to live somewhere where everyone I trade with is fantastic at their jobs.

Hardworking "illegals" do not "rob our poor and needy". They compete for work like all the rest of us. If you think their presence will make it harder for you to get a job, then perhaps it's because you're worried that they'll be better at that job than you.

If an illegal worker is willing to work better and cheaper, and the boss is willing to take the risk, then of /course/ they'll be hired, because they're the /best candidate for the job/. The boss is saving money and time as a result of hiring this better worker; money and time she can use to achieve something else. That's a net gain for them, and it's likely to be a net gain for society overall, because it frees up money and time for trades that wouldn't otherwise have happened.

Restricting who is allowed to work here means that /fewer/ people get jobs than ought to, and /worse workers/ get hired than ought to. And those workers who want to work here so badly that they choose to work "illegally" are more likely to end up working for dishonest, vicious bosses, for less money than they're worth, because they're less likely to go to the police when they're mistreated. /And maybe you buy the stuff they make without knowing it./

Migrants can work for less because they send money back home to their countries where it has more spending power. English people have mortgages to pay and therefore can't work for slave labour.
The situation is so bad that people are better off having ten kids and getting a free council house than working for a living.

"I believe that I’m not the only one who finds this blatant ridicule. Moreover, it would appear to be a clear sign of the cynical attitude, anti-immigration sentiment and culture of disbelief reported to exist across the UKBA."
......................................................................................................................

Utter bilge. Look at your headline ;

The good, the bad and the UK Border Agency

Obviously your comments do not apply to you.

Anonymous,

if you would read the whole article, you would see that the title is there to make a point and give UKBA a taste of their own medicine...

@ Anonymous:

"Migrants can work for less because they send money back home to their countries where it has more spending power."

Again, this isn't a problem. In fact, it's a preferable state of affairs, because it allows the migrant's employer to spend their money more efficiently. This allows the employer to spend money on other things. And it's not just the employer who benefits: everyone who trades with him benefits from exchanges that couldn't otherwise have happened.

But there's also an ethical argument to be made. If the migrant and the employer want, of their own free will, to exchange labour for money, then who precisely are you to stop them? It's his money, and his labour. Are you really saying you think people should be forced to spend their money in ways they don't want to? Would you accept the same strictures yourself?

"English people have mortgages to pay and therefore can't work for slave labour."

Personally, I doubt I'll ever be able even to afford a mortgage. At the moment I'm working eleven hour days on a job that pays about 350 quid a week, before tax. The job finishes in three months, and I'll have to find another one. If you have a mortgage that you are actually able to afford, you are in a very fortunate position compared to many other UK citizens.

Your statement is entirely accurate, and you're absolutely right to be angry about the cost of your mortgage, but rather than asking the government to prevent people from working for less money than you're willing to, you should be asking the government why houses cost so much:

A recent article in the Financial Times http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad4dec10-9f32-11df-8732-00144feabdc0.html pointed out: "if other costs had risen as fast as house prices since 1970, a supermarket chicken would now cost £47". That is, your house costs approximately ten times as much as it ought to on a free market. Why is your house so expensive? Because of the astounding amount of money the government --- the same one you want to rely on to keep the immigrants out --- will take from anyone who wants to build a house. Check the article out for more information.

Imagine how much money you'd have available if your mortgage was a tenth of its size. In fact, you might not have needed a mortgage at all to buy your house. If your mortgage is the reason you can't compete with migrant workers, then no wonder you consider the wages they're willing to work for "slave labour" --- because so much of your money is being used up to buy a house that, due to government interference, is far more expensive than it ought to be.

"The situation is so bad that people are better off having ten kids and getting a free council house than working for a living."

Again, this is the result of government interference, not migrant labourers. When something becomes cheaper, more people can afford to buy it. Look, for example, at how the cost of air travel has decreased over the last fifty years, and how many more people fly than used to.

Now, not only has the government dropped the price of a house to zero for certain parents with children, but, assuming the Financial Times is quoting accurate figures, they've caused the prices of all other houses to become ten times more expensive than they ought to be. No wonder people are choosing to have kids in order to get a free house. But that's not the fault of migrant workers: that's the government interfering in the market.

If houses were the price they would be on a free market, you would be able to compete with the migrant workers you fear are stealing your jobs. It is your government that is keeping you uncompetitive. The reason migrant workers' wages look like slave labour is that prices in the UK are far, far higher than they would be without the interference of the government you want to rely on to keep migrant workers out.

Migration means over crowded schools and English children being held back as teaches have to spend more time with immigrants. Migration means the roads are full up and hospitals too. Migration is forcing up house prices - simple supply and demand. Nothing good can come out of migration. We need a population of 30 million in England so we can grow all our own food. We should be training English on dole so they can get jobs rather than exploiting migrants.

@ Anonymous

All of this is the sort of  dim-witted Malthusianism which predicted that Britain would collapse with famine and disease spiralling out of control as soon as the population hit 20 million.  Yet it must be obvious even to you that the rise to populations three times this amount have come as a paralletl development with with better planning of cities, better housing, better public health, better education, more prosperity, etc.

You should really lighten up pal - all of the problems you list are well capable of being addressed by a democratic politics determined to promote public welfare.  Immigration might not be the sole and exclusive answer to the problem of rebuilding prosperity, but it's very hard tosee how we won't get back to a position of well-being without open borders and a cooperative approach to immigration. 

Before immigration people could afford houses with gardens and grow their own food and their was plenty of allotments. Now we have concrete jungles and people forced to live in sky scrapers up in the air. We don't want immigrants. None of were consulted if we wanted to join an EU superstate that would force us to accept asylum seeking economic migrants.

Hi Anonymous,

"Migration means over crowded schools and English children being held back as teaches have to spend more time with immigrants."

Assuming this is true, then you shouldn't be blaming the migrant workers, you should be blaming the government. In a planned economy, you get shortages. State education is absolutely a planned economy. Hence the shortages.

"Migration means the roads are full up and hospitals too. "

Again, these are areas where a planned economy operates. Government builds the roads and operates the NHS. It's government planning that's causing these shortages. Nothing to do with migrant workers.

"Migration is forcing up house prices - simple supply and demand."

Please see my previous post.

"Nothing good can come out of migration."

Are you still living in the village where you grew up? Would you never consider moving in order to get the job you want? Migration is just moving to where the best job is for you; which is to say, where your work is valued most; which is to say, moving to where you are most valuable to those around you. Migration is a huge driving force for improvement, because it allows people to move to where they're most use.

@anonymous

"Now we have concrete jungles and people forced to live in sky scrapers up in the air."

I find this extremely amusing... Are you by any chance a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan? Can't help but wonder where is all this romantic nostalgia coming from?

You really think people want to grow their own food?! I would imagine half of Europe would die in months if they would be expected to grow their own food.

But hey, here's a crazy idea... if you want to grow your own, why not move to the rural parts. I hear that property is still cheap and steamliners are the talk of the town.

One last thing. Here's a quote from Lord of the rings: "The wide world is all about you; you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out."

There's really no point in trying to engage with people like 'anonymous'. All this achieves is to distract away from constructive discussion.

Excellent piece, Jan. I thought the hullabaloo around the UKBA christmas card (http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2009/12/21/jeremy-harding/would-they-have-let-...) might have dampened their Daily Mail press releases, but it seems to be going from bad to worse.

Seems to me as though they breach their duty to promote good relations between people of different ethnic groups. Surely the UKBA isn't exempt from this?

I completely agree with this piece and am glad this has been brought up. I signed up for the UKBA newsletter a while back and could not believe the kind of headlines they were coming up with. I might even go so far as to say that I felt and feel disgusted by it. Instead of providing balanced information and encouraging good relations, the UKBA seems to be encouraging and provoking an atmosphere of intolerance and suspicion that distracts from the wider picture, by - in a sensationalist manner - depicting migrants as cheats and criminals that need to be deported. I find this to be completely irresponsible behaviour that does nothing to encourage reasoned conversation on immigration. While the UKBA may be trying to convey a strong message about the efficiency of the Border Agency, such a strategy appears to me to be extremely short-sighted, due to it's potential in fueling hostility among the population

Wow "Anynymous", I never knew this amount of ignorance exists - no offence intended. Understandibly you, like many others, are a victim of a capitalist government that brainwashes citizens into thinking that everything is the immigrants' fault (or blaiming everything on other minorities) when there are things like £30 billion uncollected tax mainly from the *RICH* of this country.

I don't really have much to add to this as others have amazingly covered everything else but I am one of those "immigrants" you're refering to, an asylum seeker infact. I go to school here so refering to:

"Migration means over crowded schools and English children being held back as teaches have to spend more time with immigrants"

There are separate classes for those who do not speak English fluently and students are put in different classes according to their level of understanding of the subject. Also amount of students enroling in a course have a limit, when reached the course is closed. If a big amount of people over the limit still want to study this course the college normally makes a new class available at a different time.

Added to that, I live on £35 a week, I have to share a room with a stranger, I do not choose which area or town to live in and I am not allowed to object, I am looked at with disgust when somone asks for my ID to prove my age when they see that I am an asylum seeker, I am not allowerd to work and I can't afford to live a normal life of a teenager or even get a student loan to continue my studies.

Sounds like I'm stealing Briton's paradise to you?

A sort of agree with Anonymous on a number of points, I will see if I can put a slightly different spin on his view to make it more positive..What we need is controlled migration, I don't mind having the best and the brightest, infact I think we need more of them - so having a limit of best 1000 application in a year is fantastic.

Students can come here if they have got money pay for their course fee, accomodation and living. They should not be allowed to work or stay after completing their study..

Work visa- companies can have workers from abroad for a maximum of 24months and during that period thay should train a local citizen. No body should be allowed to stay on a permenent basis.

Asylum seekers are simply not welcomed - Please leave - we don't have any money, we already send a lot of money as donoation to keep you where ever you are. So please don't come here..

I just don't understand why the government can't introduce this simple measures

Uk border agency should be abolished they have ruined Great Britain.Firstly legal married couples have to pay 900 pounds for settlement visa then get refused for stupid reason just another scam from the uk border agency to make money yet the undesirables are let in and then allowed to stay!!They are laying off 5,000 people i hope they close them down and start a new agency with some morals!!!

It is no surprise to read that asylum seekers/refugees are humiliated and ridiculed by the UKBA. Many of them are intimidated by the overbearing nature of the UKBA employees, not to mention the bully boy tactics used by G4S at many of the UKBA premises, where asylum seekers have to sign at, usually, on a weekly basis. I have witnessed the disgusting treatment doled out by employees of the UKBA to asylum seekers. Those who flee their home countries to come to Britain usually do so for fear of death or oppression. Whilst theyare here waiting for a decision to be made on their asylum application - they are NOT allowed to work, unlike many British nationals who CHOOSE not to work. I know of many asylum seekers who are desperate to work and provide for themselves, yet they cannot do so. By all means, those who come to Britain and break the law should be deported (eg drug dealing, theft etc). But those who really are at need of asylum, those who usually are abused by the UKBA, are the ones who should be allowed to make Britain their home.

Dr.Joe is one hundred percent right in his post about the uk border agency.Im English with a filipina wife and was refused entry for her on a settlement visa on pathetic excuses so they could pocket another 1,000 pounds.They even had the nerve to hold up the refusal because they were holding on for another 1,000 pounds which they never got thanks to her having a delay on her passport!!!!!The uk border agency is totally corrupt and lets undesirables in and keeps the good people out.I am hoping they will be replaced by a new agency but thet could take a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some good points - they seem to let in economic migrants like Somali's who have passed through safe lands and want to come here for our welfare. Some are renting £1 million pound houses in Londonistan and getting their full rents paid. They could never get a job that would pay the rent on these homes. Did they live in mansions back in Somalia?

The UK Border Agency is indeed corrupt, I believe, and they employ unpleasant, rude, abrupt staff, some of whom cannot speak or understand English. When my granddaughter was stopped by Immigration because she did not have the requisite visa to visit, it took them 9 hours to process her. I cannot say too much more because I plan to put a complaints process in place and I have already spoken with my MP. If anyone else has had recent dealings with Immigration at Heathrow, I would appreciate your comments.