Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Asylum Amnesty?

Listening to the 8.10am political spot on the Today programme is usually bad for my health. It normally ends up with me shouting at the radio, and BondBloke trying to calm me down. For heaven sake, BondBloke calming me down!

Today it was treatment of the backlog of those who have submitted "failed" applications for asylum of whose whereabouts the authorities are no longer aware. Apparently, the Government has been criticised for being incompetent in dealing with this group of people by the Public Accounts Committee. Heaven forfend that any UK Government could be accused of being "soft" on "illegal" immigrants.

Presumably in order to satisfy the bloodlust of the tabloid press, the Home Office and assorted agencies spend a hugely disproportionate amount of money seeking the removal from the country of a group of people who amount to something over 150 000 people. That's about two Manchester United football crowds, or three Celtic/Rangers ones. Their cases dates from many years ago, and these days as I understand it there are wholly new sets of rules on seeking asylum which keep the numbers much much lower. Plus, when they originally entered the country, had there been a sensible system of economic migration in place, many of those who sought asylum might well have qualified to enter as economic migrants.

My proposal would be to give these people amnesty and to concentrate future resources not on chasing after them which often seems fultile, but on managing fair and appropriate immigration and asylum policies for the future. That way, they will be able to work in the official labour market, rather on the black or grey markets, and overall contribute to the wealth of this country rather than being a burden because they have officials chasing after them. Having once been regularised and able to work officially, some at least may have acquire the personal and financial resources to return to their countries of origin, or at the very least to send the remittances which every study now shows dwarf the amounts of official development aid which flow to the less developed economies. And all the officials working on this task can be redeployed to something more constructive.

There we go, now I feel better.


Blogger The Blind-Winger Jones said...

Shouting at the Today programme should be an Olympic sport ! I was making similar noises myself this morning at that particular report.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006  

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