Migrants can enter Britain in 73 ways



Home Affairs Correspondent

Telegraph 04/11/2007



Immigrants can choose from a confusing range of 73 Government schemes allowing them to live and work in Britain. The full array of legal routes for non-European migrants can be revealed for the first time today in a list disclosed by the "Home" Office.

Its publication follows a bruising week for Labour, in which a minister had to apologise for getting his figures wrong and town hall chiefs complained that they were struggling to cope with a record influx.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, renewed his call for a cap on immigration and was praised by Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, for trying to “deracialise” the immigration issue : . Schemes on offer to migrants range from work permits - issued to more than 300,000 foreigners in the past three years, - to concessions aimed at particular groups, from MPs’ assistants to “non-pastoral religious workers”.

Some schemes, such as those for music students and riding school pupils, allow migrants to combine studying with part-time work. Among the 73 are special programmes for diplomats’ household servants; sportsmen and entertainers; and employees of the Jewish Agency. Students who need to resit exams or write up a thesis are specially provided for.

Migrants from European Union member states, including those in eastern Europe that joined in 2004, have an automatic right to live and work in Britain so do not need to use the schemes.

A Home Office spokesman admitted that the system was “quite complex”. The separate schemes are due to be replaced by 2009 with a single “points-based system”, which would make the controls “more efficient, easier to understand, and stronger”.

Under the points-based system, all applicants will be allocated to one of only five tiers: highly-skilled individuals; skilled workers; low-skilled workers to fill temporary labour shortages; students; and short-term workers allowed in for “non-economic” reasons. A new committee will advise the Government on which industries are suffering skills shortages.

Among 713,000 foreigners who came to work in Britain last year, as measured by grants of national insurance numbers, the leading nationalities were Poles (223,000), Indians (49,000), Slovakians (29,000), Pakistanis (25,000) and Australians (24,000).

Peter Hain, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was forced to admit last week that the number of foreign workers in Britain had risen over the past decade by 1.1 million, not 800,000 as he had earlier told MPs. The total number of foreigners employed had reached 2.1 million.

However, leading statisticians said that even the revised figures appeared wrong, and true totals were likely to be higher. An “explanatory note” from Mr Hain stated that the figure of 1.1 million was based on projections for migration made in 2003, before the expansion of the European Union that triggered a surge in migrant numbers. As a result, experts believe that the true increase is likely to be at least 1.4 million, and could be much higher.

Tim Holt, the president of the Royal Statistical Society and former director of the Office for National Statistics, said: “There clearly is a lot more that needs to be done to make these figures robust.”

A spokesman for Mr Hain’s department said the figure “may well change” once the ONS provides more up-to-date migration data. The controversy over immigration follows last month’s warning by Whitehall forecasters, revealed in The Sunday Telegraph, that Britain’s population is on course to reach 77 million by 2051.

In addition to large numbers of immigrants arriving legally to live and work, an unknown number of illegal immigrants are already in the country. Scams that the Government has attempted to clamp down on include sham marriages, bogus language schools, false applications for self-employment visas, and overstaying by students and tourists.

Others stow away on lorries at Channel ports to enter Britain, then lodge unfounded asylum claims or disappear into the “black economy”. Ministers have announced an extension to controls on Romania and Bulgaria, the two newest EU member states, which prevent their citizens from taking jobs in Britain.

However, the curb is hard to enforce because both nationalities can live freely in Britain and work on a self-employed basis, while 20,000 a year can work in agriculture and food processing.

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...which all leaves me with a very sinking feeling !

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=2656
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