Visa restrictions encourage illegal immigration
Many of the best Immigration lawyers in London will welcome a recent study by 3 respected academic institutions which suggests that visa restrictions are not delivering the intended drop in Immigration to the UK and have actually led to a rise in illegal Immigration. Tough Immigration controls including the ‘hostile environment’ which has impacted so publicly on the Windrush generation, tighter visa restrictions for low-skilled workers and restrictions on family migration, have done little to reduce Immigration to the UK.
The study, conducted by University College London in conjunction with Royal Holloway and the University of Birmingham, further supports the calls by many Immigration solicitors and many other organisations that the government should abandon promises to cut net migration. Those critical of visa restrictions and the deeply unpopular ‘hostile environment’ that has caused so much stress, upset and disadvantage to so many of the Windrush generation will see the findings of the study as further evidence that this is not the way to tackle the perceived issues with Immigration.
The study highlights restrictions on low skilled and family migration in particular. The statistics suggest that while total Immigration was reduced by these measures by 21 percent and 32 percent respectively, it drove up illegal Immigration by 14 percent and 21 percent. The study suggested that in cases of family migration, the visa restrictions led to about 25 percent of people who would have moved to the UK legally choosing to do so via an illegal route.
The UCL academic who led the study, Miranda Simo, explained “The largest reorientation towards unauthorised channels happens when the family route is closed, because it is the most easily accessible out of those considered.“
Although 2018 has seen some moves towards a more pragmatic approach to Immigration, with the lifting of restrictions on doctors and nurses coming to the UK as Tier 2 skilled workers, visa restrictions remain in place. However, in light of this study, it now seems that the UK government’s draconian approach to visa restrictions is counter-productive and could be actively encouraging illegal Immigration to the UK.
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