NEWSLETTER - By Andy Jalil -
Authorities dealing with immigration to Britain are under increased pressure with court rulings on asylum seekers. Already facing a heavy workload with thousands of applications from migrants, the Home Ministry will now have legal obligations to meet in cases of those who wish to stay in the country on grounds of asylum.
Thousands more asylum seekers may be allowed to stay in the UK after the country’s highest court ruled that even those with no political views are at risk of persecution from oppressive regimes in their own country.
The number of people granted asylum in the UK has grown steadily in the last four years, from 10,200 in 2008 to 14,360 last year.
There has recently been the case where the court ruling allowed several people from one particular country to remain in Britain, defeating attempts by the Home Ministry to deport them. That ruling could now be used more widely by those claiming asylum to avoid being returned to countries of dictatorship even if they have never been dissidents.
The Home Ministry’s fear is that the ruling is open to abuse with people attempting to take advantage under false pretence.
There have been cases where people had come to Britain on a student visa but later had their asylum claim rejected by officials.
Upon lodging the case with the Court of Appeal they were given a ruling in their favour.
The Home Ministry’s appeal to the Supreme Court was unsuccessful. The decision will make it difficult for the Home Ministry to deport people and already as many as over a million have settled in the UK from just one country, Zimbabwe, over the last 15 years.
With immigration being such a major problem for Britain, chairman of Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green said: “This (ruling) is ridiculous. It is yet a further extension of the grounds on which asylum may be granted.
“We already have a serious problem in that 60 per cent of applications turn out to be bogus and a similar number don’t bother claiming (asylum) until they are discovered.”
He added: “It is time the courts realised the extent to which the asylum system is being exploited.”
In addition, some of the Home Ministry rules to curb the number of immigrants have been declared unlawful by senior judges.
The Supreme Court said ministers were wrong to bar foreign workers, students and other immigrants from the UK under criteria that had not been laid before Parliament.
There was a case where a person from Pakistan was refused an extension to stay in the country because he did not meet a new job qualification and salary criteria under the points-based system.
The implementation of the immigration points-based system in 2008 introduced a new criteria for migrant workers.
Those requirements were detailed in a code of practice and were not included in official immigration rules that were presented to Parliament.
The home minister is bound by law to put any immigration rule changes to members of parliament as these have got to be passed before they can be applied. The Home Office has as an urgent measure introduced the changes into Parliament to address the error and meet the court requirements.
Legal experts warn that the ruling could still have far-reaching consequences and lead to a flood of challenges by those who have been refused visas or work permits.
Moreover, immigration officials continue to struggle with an enormous backlog of immigration cases in various categories. The growing number of cases includes asylum seekers as well as illegal migrants.
Members of Parliament on the Houses of Commons Home Affairs Committee said the UK has become a country where it is ‘easy to get in, but impossible to keep track of anyone, let alone get them out.’
Some 21,000 new asylum cases have built up and are yet to be dealt with because officials were able to process only 63 per cent of last year’s applications. In addition, there are tens of thousands of those whose right to be in Britain has lapsed date back more than five years.