Border officer deported 17,525 immigrants in three months
20 November 2008. Home Office has published the quarterly immigration and accession monitoring statistics which show that more foreigners were removed from the UK between July and September this year than in any other third quarter since 2002.
The report unveils increases in deportation on all categories of immigrants: last year the UK Border Agency removed nearly 50,000 non asylum seekers and lawbreakers – the highest level since 2002. In the three months to September this year 17, 525 people were removed – a nine per cent increase on the same period the previous year; also, there was a 14% increase in non asylum removals – a group that includes foreign national prisoners – with removals increasing from 12,680 in the third quarter of 2007 to 14,405 in the same period this year.
Asylum applications, lowest level
The UKBA praises itself for succeeding to remove anyone who has no right to be in Great Britain – "with a focus on targeting the most harmful first" says the report and points out that in the first six months of this year over 2,500 foreign prisoners were removed – a 23% increase on the same period last year; there is a target to remove 5,000 before the end of 2008.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said, ‘The huge shake-up we have made to the immigration system is paying off. Our borders are tougher than ever before, asylum applications remain low, and we are removing record numbers of foreign law breakers. ‘Last year someone was removed every eight minutes – including more than 4,200 foreign national prisoners.’
To speed up the removal process further still, the government announced earlier this year that the capacity of the immigration detention estate will be increased by 60%, with an additional 1,300 to 1,500 spaces for immigration offenders within two years.
The Home Office states that in 2007 asylum applications were at their lowest level since 1993 and they remain low, with 6,620 applications in this quarter. Also, nearly 16,000 individual attempts to enter the UK illegally were prevented between April and October this year – a 60% increase from the same period last year. The figures come together with another performance document that confirms the UK ranked 11th in Europe in terms of asylum seekers per head.
East Europeans fall in numbers
A dramatic drop in the number of eastern Europeans registering to work in the UK was recorded by other statistics published by the Home Office. The accession monitoring report shows that the number of applications from A8 nationals looking for work fell from 59,000 between July and September 2007 to 38,000 in the same period this year – a drop of 36%.
Applications are now at their lowest level since the eight accession countries (A8) joined the EU in 2004.
Applications for accession worker cards and registration certificates from Bulgaria and Romania – the A2 nations – have also fallen to record lows. There were 6,515 applications from these two nations between July and September this year – a drop of 31% from the same period last year when there were 9,470.
Mr Woolas said, ‘Today’s figures show a dramatic drop in the number of Poles coming here to work this year – suggesting that regeneration in Poland is encouraging people to stay in their home country.
‘On top of this, our new points system means only those from outside Europe with the skills we need will be able to work or study here and no more. ‘Had the points system been in place last year there would have been a 12% reduction in the number of people coming here to work through the equivalent work permit route.’
These figures are released as the Home Office carries out the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in a generation, including the introduction of:
• a tough new Australian-style points system to allow only the workers Britain needs to come here
• fingerprinting of every visa applicant from across the globe – so far more than 3.1m sets of fingerprints have been taken, detecting over 4,400 cases of identity swaps
• civil penalties targeting those employing illegal workers – since February over 1,000 fines worth nearly £10 million pounds have been issued
Later this month the government will introduce compulsory ID cards for all foreign nationals. These will lock people to one identity and – in time – help businesses that employ foreign workers to crack down on illegal working.