Over 7,000 illegal immigrants managed to get “squatters’ rights”.
22nd February 2010: If you are an illegal migrant in the UK for over 14 years, a relatively unknown rule can help you get a British passport.
After establishing they stayed in Britain for 14 years, over 7,000 illegal immigrants have managed to get for themselves the “squatters’ rights”.
On an average, more than 1,000 illegal migrants every year have succeeded to stay, ever since a relatively obscure rule was introduced by the Government way back in 2003.
It allows the migrants to ask for “indefinite leave to remain”, if they have succeeded to live in the “black economy” long enough. The rule is also applicable to the failed asylum seekers, successful in avoiding deportation.
According to the rule, they can apply to the Home Office after 14 years. It is the Home Office, which then decides whether an illegal immigrant will have to go, or is to be permitted to stay.
The successful ones have full access to the welfare state. This is not all. They can even apply for a British passport.
The rules were made law by the Home Office in 2003, but existed earlier also in the form of a loose concession.
They reflect the legal status of “squatters’ rights”, which say anyone who has occupied land or property for 12 years can apply to be registered as owner.
A Home Office spokesman said not all applications for indefinite leave to remain are granted. They are considered on case-by-case basis.
According to estimates, 7,245 illegal migrants have succeeded to live in Britain permanently since the rules changed in April 2003.
Reacting to the developments, Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green said he was disturbed over the fact how many more people would be able to establish this type of squatters’ rights to stay in this country.
He said rewarding illegal behaviour was bad. As such, additional efforts ought to be stop people from getting to the 14-year level.
The chairman of MigrationWatchUK, Sir Andrew Green, reacted by saying it was wrong to allow full access to welfare state to people who have been undercutting British workers and often paying no tax. He said it was a reward for crime, provided you got away with it for long enough.”