Connect with us

News

Boris Johnson rows back on proposal to introduce amnesty for undocumented migrants

Boris Johnson

Government quietly scraps idea months after prime minister said it would be considered as improvement on ‘anomalous’ policy of deporting anyone without correct papers

A proposal floated by Boris Johnson to introduce an amnesty for undocumented migrants – which he previously said would help prevent another Windrush scandal – has been quietly scrapped by the government.

The prime minister, who initially advocated the idea when he was London mayor as an “earned amnesty” for illegal immigrants, reiterated his support for the move on becoming leader of the country last July, telling MPs that his government would consider bringing in such a policy.

However, when asked about the plans by Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan​ in a parliamentary question this month, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins appeared to shoot them down, saying the immigration rules “already provide for undocumented migrants to regularise their status”.

Ms Atkins said: “The government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people to the UK through safe and legal routes but deters illegal immigration.”

Campaigners said rowing back on the proposal would leave migrant workers without “vital protection”, which they said would be increasingly important after Brexit in order to prevent labour exploitation, and accused the prime minister of “posturing”.

Lucila Granada, chief executive of Focus on Labour Exploitation (Flex), said: “Brexit is prompting a redesign of our immigration system. Undocumented people are at far greater risk of severe exploitation, including modern slavery offences. An amnesty for those without correct paperwork would provide vital protection.”

READ  African Migration To Europe: Facts Vs. Fiction

Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust, said he was “not surprised” that the prime minister appeared to be shelving the plan, adding: “He supported amnesty in words, but like all politicians he should be judged for his actions.

“Current policy on undocumented migrants is a failure. Politicians may like the sound of talking tough, but they’re ignoring the obvious reality that current policy hasn’t been working for years, while continuing to cause harm to many people.

“It’s long past time for a grown-up, realistic debate and policy on undocumented migrants rather than blustering and posturing.”

Sonia Lenegan, head of legal policy at the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, said: “As we have seen with Windrush, it is difficult for people to provide evidence of their life in the UK when the hostile environment is designed to ensure that those without status are unable to get the paperwork the Home Office expects to see.”

She added that she was concerned by the “lack of consideration” in these announcements for the people who would be affected by such an amnesty, saying: “Every time this is mentioned, hopes are raised before inevitably being dashed again.”

READ  About 12,000 Africans arrive Europe via Italian waters in less than four months of 2020

Mr Johnson first advocated the creation of an amnesty for illegal immigrants as London mayor in 2008, when he announced that his office would consider the feasibility of granting an amnesty to an estimated 400,000 people living illegally in the capital.

READ ALSO: It is time to change the definition of refugee

Eight years later, as foreign secretary, he called for an amnesty for undocumented immigrants who had lived in the UK for longer than 10 years, saying this would be the “economically rational” thing to do as it would allow them to start working lawfully and contributing tax income.

The day after he became prime minister in July 2019, Mr Johnson was asked by Labour MP Rupa Huq whether he was a “man of his word” on his previous support for an amnesty.

He answered: “I do think we need to look at our arrangements for people who have lived and worked here for a long time, unable to enter the economy, unable to participate properly or pay taxes, without documents.

“We should look at the economic advantage and disadvantages of going ahead with the policy that she describes and which I think she and I share.”

Mr Johnson described as “anomalous” the current policy of deporting anyone who “doesn’t have the correct papers, and who may have been living and working here for many years without being involved in any criminal activity at all”.

READ  84 Malians return home from Algiers

“And we saw difficulties that that kind of problem occasioned in the Windrush fiasco. We know the difficulties that can be caused,” he added.

While many welcomed his comments at the time, others responded with anger, describing the idea of introducing an amnesty as an “absurd proposal”.

Following the exchange in the Commons, a parliamentary petition was created, calling on ministers to “rule out” any prospect of granting an amnesty on illegal immigration, and has since garnered more than 35,500 signatures.

The Home Office was contacted but declined to comment.

(www.independent.co.uk)

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
24 − 17 =


News

Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  African Migration To Europe: Facts Vs. Fiction

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

READ  Inquests will be opened into deaths of Vietnamese migrants

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Six refugees among 137 killed in Niger’s recent attack

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

News

29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

READ  UNHCR alarmed at brutal attacks by insurgent armed group in Mozambique

“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  African Migration To Europe: Facts Vs. Fiction

 

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
* are compulsory
cardlogos
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 Voice for African Migrants. Site Design: Semasir Connect