Sputnik: So what are some of the significant findings from this report?
Neil Anderson: There is a number of significant findings. Firstly is the baseline figure, the key figure, that the illegal population of the UK is growing by 70,000 a year. We would like to point out that this is a cautious estimate and the figure is likely to be higher. Secondly, we are very concerned that the system to police this and enforce illegal immigration does not seem to be working and in fact it’s quite the opposite. If we look at this in more detail 60% of those refused asylum over the period of 2004 to 2017 didn’t actually leave the UK. Over that same period, voluntary and forced removal of illegal migrants has fallen considerably and this has fallen from the days of the Labour Government and an open door immigration policy and we’re actually removing fewer illegal immigrants now than when we did then. This is deeply unfair not only to other migrants who are following the rules and regulations and the guideline properly, but its also deeply unfair to the British people who are paying their taxes to support services.
Neil Anderson: Certainly it’s a cause for concern and in the public conscious it’s the most salient issue in the whole immigration discussion. The public across the board have consistently said in poll after poll that they want immigration reduced overall, but a particular issue to the public is illegal immigration presumably because of the inherent unfairness of the system it allows people to exploit our generosity, simply for their own benefit without putting anything back into the system. In some senses this something that is being tacitly allowed. This is a very key issue to the public and is something that needs to be addressed.
Neil Anderson: What we are asking is when people are caught illegally they are removed efficiently – the government is failing to do this. Removals are falling, the number of people and this is a serious cause for concern. This is an issue of resourcing; first and foremost, we’d like to see at least £100M invested into immigration enforcement but also the home office and immigration authorities need to co-ordinate better with the police and other agencies to ensure these people are identified, located and removed as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Resourcing, better returns policies and better co-ordination across immigration enforcement, The Home Office, Police is absolutely essential.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.