While speaking to the Confederation of British Industry in an attempt to allay the immigration fears of the business community Prime Minister David Cameron comfortingly said to his audience:
“Let me give you this assurance. As we control our borders and bring immigration to a manageable level, we will not impede you from attracting the best talent from around the world.”
This short article attempts to test the logic of what Mr Cameron’s stated immigration policy has been since we have known him. While the Prime Minister encourages plutocracy and puts venal glosses on removing “illegal entrants” to the UK, the reality is that people with rights under Article 8 of the ECHR (meaning their family and/or private life is engaged) are routinely removed from the UK because they are unable to afford quality legal representation. Just from experience one can say that to win for private clients in the immigration law field the practitioner must possess almost a mercenary type quality which allows her or him to quite literally bully the UKBA into complying with their duties under the rules. But this task can only be adequately be performed if the immigration practitioner can outperform the UKBA’s staff, i.e. immigration officers, case owners, case workers, HOPOs and so forth! Outperforming so many people can only be achieved by acquiring better reading, writing, and advocacy skills than them. Being cunning does help no doubt.
But the only question which arises in relation to the best and the brightest wanting to stay in Britain is why on Earth they would like to do such a silly thing? In uncertain economic times there are no jobs for foreigners in the UK and all the local inhabitants, on the “dole”, of this land do is to moan about how asylum seekers are taking public money. And of course there is the belief of the British natives hold that most foreigners in the UK just claimed asylum and stayed; they took public money and were given a house.
In distinction to such views, highly qualified professionals, who are from the list of countries which are subject to “immigration control” and subject to visa requirements, mostly work for a mere fraction of what European nationals or other “first-world” nationals would get paid to do the same job. In any event people with pedigree educations from the UK would be better off if they worked in their home countries because they would be paid more for less work done and they would also be “at home” rather than in a country where in order to get a visa one really needs a miracle or at least a decent lawyer.
Other reasons, why people would choose other countries over the UK to study, are the new UKBA requirements that students’ attendances are to be recorded using biometric machines in lectures and seminars and that the UKBA can then use this information to evaluate whether a student’s attendances are sufficient for a visa! Surely this is a matter between the university and the student and the UKBA cannot have any privity of contract at all.
Moreover, who would like to go to study in, for example, the London School of Economics and Political Science if, in addition to spending £30000 per annum as an overseas student, one also had to be degraded by giving one’s attendance “biometrically”. Meanwhile, further to the “tighter” UKBA requirements in return for “A-rated Sponsorship Licences”, Lord Browne’s Independent Review of Higher Education has inspired many colleges of the University of London, such as the LSE, to consider privatisation as a remedy if the government fails to subsidise the cap on home students’ fees. No doubt if fees increase overseas students will have to pay even more than they do now. But surely this is what Mr Cameron ultimately desires.
As an immigration lawyer one has to go to odd places. One such place is the UKBA “Signing Centre”. These “centres” are scattered all over the UK. In London there is a particularly horrendous one in 210 Old Street which I will blog about another time. Most people at signing centres are failed asylum seekers, however, a lot of people who are signing (meaning they are temporarily admitted to the UK) have a variety of claims while they are in limbo and remain liable to immigration detention and removal.
It is palpable that the people attending to sign at the UKBA’s centres are the ones who want to stay in the UK. Highly qualified multilingual professionals with abundant qualifications are ready to relocate to any part of the world to save money in operating costs. Given the UK’s grim economic outlook and inexplicable immigration policies it is unlikely that people will continue to come here to be discriminated against. And that too at what a price!