UK Border Agency
With a constituency of 8.6 million people candidates for Mayor of London will be seeking a mandate to represent the capital city from one of the largest electorates in Europe, and certainly the most diverse. Over 3 million Londoners were born outside the UK, according to the last census. Forty-four percent define themselves as being black or from other ethnic minority groups. More than three-quarters say that English is their first or only language, 20 percent say they speak a second language either well or very well.
If you take a map of almost anywhere in the UK and plot into all the evidence of immigration raids on business premises which UKVI helpfully provides two things emerge very clearly. The first of these is the tendency for this enforcement activity to cluster in and around neighbourhoods where ethnic minorities are densest. The second comes from looking at the names of the businesses which have had civil penalty fines imposes on them. In the vast majority of cases the fact of their ethnicity is the critical factor.
There has been much talk in recent times about the potential for a ‘points-based scheme’ (PBS) being used to control immigration in the event that the UK votes to leave the EU in the June referendum. The supporters of this approach frequently cite the example of Australia as providing a model which would allow a ‘tougher’ attitude to be taken to admitting the migrants who the UK authorities believe are necessary for the UK economy.
In a few weeks, on 1 February, my best friend will be given a new responsibility by the UK government: guarding the UK border. Though this sounds like a daunting task, the way the government has set things up, he will not have to give up his current job as a digital editor to carry it out. He can do it as he goes about his day–to-day life. Nonetheless, being quite critical of the government’s immigration policy, immigration control is not a responsibility he would have assumed of his own accord. So how did he end up in this situation?
The Immigration Bill proposes changes that extend powers to police our communities which now take in landlords and financial institutions. It also proposes a new labour market enforcement director who will be required to work with immigration enforcement - a mandate that confuses the protection of workers’ rights with the enforcement of immigration control. Broad Coalition A broad coalition of groups concerned with human rights, civil liberties, the rule of law and the social and economic rights of migrants has begun to assemble. It is working hard to lobby for changes to the most worrying aspects of the proposed legislation.