UK Immigration News Bulletin w/c April 9, 2007
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Another example of Home Office incompetence, and a standing
invitation to terrorists.
The leader of the people smuggling gang waved dismissively
at the charred wreckage of his woodland camp, torched
during a raid by the Calais border police. Sher, a tubby
Afghan in his late twenties and one of the most notorious
of the gangsters who smuggle stowaways into Britain, told
an undercover reporter: We were raided by the police
and they burnt the camp down. But we set up a new one
the following day. He and his helpers had already
handed out blankets, quilts and pillows to the 70 or so
young Afghans who had paid him the going rate of €300
(£203) to €1,000. Makeshift tents, lashed together
from bin-liners, were once again standing in the woodland.
Thanks to Secours Catholique (Catholic Aid), a charity,
there had not even been an interruption to the free food
supplies. Stacks of tinned rice, tuna, meat, fresh bread,
cakes, tea, milk and sugar were waiting for collection
as usual at 7pm at the edge of the forest. The police,
said Sher, are ferocious. He added: They
hassle us too much. But although he resents their
interference in his lucrative trade, it is a distraction
that he and his fellow gang leaders have learnt to cope
with. Within minutes of the reporter entering the camp,
he and four others were chased by the police.
As the group sat by the metal fence that borders the motorway,
a police car arrived on the hard shoulder and chased the
group back into the scrub-land. This was the second time
the reporter had been chased by police in a week. Shers
camp, or the jungle as he and his fellow Afghans
call it, lies about nine miles south of Calais in woodland
near the picturesque village of Nielles-lãs-Ardres.
Half a dozen or so similar camps house about 500 illegal
immigrants or clandestines, as the
locals call them on the periphery of Calais. They
are all within striking distance of the A26 motorway,
LAutoroute des Anglais. It ends at the Calais ferry
port, carrying an endless flow of juggernauts towards
Britain. The present-day images are a worrying echo of
the old Sangatte refugee camp, when immigrants swarmed
over wire fencing to clamber aboard UK-bound freight trains.
The welfare facilities on the Calais dockside, near the
railway station, act as a magnet for the new wave. Up
to 200 gather there for lunch and dinner, and tea and
croissants are provided in the morning. Most are Afghans
but some are from Eritrea and Sudan, and there are a few
Iranians and Palestinians. Secours Catholique, the main
charity helping the migrants, also provides clothes and
blankets and gives people lifts to nearby facilities where
they can shower and shave.
Although the French police arrest immigrants who they
see on the streets of Calais, the charities and the government
have brokered a deal whereby the dockside has become a
tolerance zone during the day, with no arrests.
The smugglers take full advantage of this to tout for
business. Things look as if they can only get better for
the smuggling gangs. A new welfare centre, dubbed Sangatte
Two, is to be built conveniently close to the Calais ferry
port in a disused football stadium. It will offer food,
clothing, toilet facilities, immigration advice and medical
care for about 300 migrants at a time. Talk to the Home
Office in Britain and it paints a very different picture.
John Reids aides say that since the closure of Sangatte,
the number of people caught trying to enter Britain through
Kent has dropped from 10,000 in 2002 to 1,526 in 2006.
However, the Sunday Times investigation suggests that
the Home Office, which three years ago spectacularly underestimated
how many legal migrants would come here from Poland, has
again miscalculated. The 500 illegal immigrants reckon
to spend between two to three weeks at Calais, implying
that up to 200 get to Britain every week. With the addition
of those stowing away at Dunkirk, St Omer and Brussels,
an estimate of 10,000 arrivals in the UK looks cautious.
Sher runs his gang with the help of three fellow Afghans,
each of whom is an illegal immigrant.
They have associates in British cities who can collect
money in advance from the relatives of would-be immigrants
to Britain. The undercover reporter, posing as an illegal
immigrant from Bangladesh desperate to go to London, was
told the tariff by Jameel Asmol, a member of the gang.
If the money is paid in the UK, then the rate is €1,000.
If the would-be immigrant gives cash in hand to the gang,
he can pay as little as €300. If the would-be immigrant
wants a guaranteed entry into Britain, he has to pay the
smugglers €4,400 (£3,000). In this case, the
immigrant would be smuggled into the UK with the connivance
of a truck driver, said Asmol. The camp is close to a
motorway truck-stop where some drivers stop to sleep.
As night approached, the reporter watched five people
being taken by the gang to be hidden inside lorries. All
except one headed to the motorway empty-handed; the last
one to leave took a carrier bag full of clothes. The bravest
stowaways get into Britain by holding onto one of the
axles of the truck. Bosh, one of the gang, explained:
In a long lorry, there are three axles at the back
but one of them is not used and is pulled up. We get you
to cling on throughout the whole journey. The gang
plays a wary game of cat-and-mouse with the police. Sher
told the reporter that the previous night, police suddenly
stormed the truck stop as five immigrants were about to
clamber into the lorries.
The five were arrested but the gang leaders managed to
get away. The reporter watched as the migrants lit a fire
at their makeshift camp, heating metal bars until they
became red hot before rubbing their thumbs and index fingers
over the metal. One explained that this was to thwart
the police who take the finger-prints of every illegal
immigrant they arrest. Those stowaways who do get into
the trucks are often caught in Calais. Gamma ray detectors
spot movements inside the container and there are also
heart beat detectors and CO2 probes for human breath.
As part of the tariff charged by the gangs, they promise
the would-be immigrants that no matter how many times
they get caught, they will be put back in lorries until
they reach Britain. According to another group of Afghans,
milling around outside the charity feeding station, the
gangs sometimes put the immigrants inside the wrong lorries.
Some claim they know of people who ended up in remote
corners of France or Belgium. The reporter was invited
into the jungle by Asmol, with the promise
of a berth in a lorry bound for Britain.
An Afghan in his early twenties, Asmol came to Calais
five months ago with the intention of going to Britain.
But instead he decided to become a smuggler himself. He
had met the reporter at the Hospitalier de Calais, a general
hospital which runs a daily surgery for illegal immigrants.
Initially pretending to be a musafir (traveller)
himself, Asmol quickly established that the reporter was
originally from Bangladesh and had just arrived in Calais.
Asmol asked: Have you had a chat with anyone yet?
He meant to find out if the reporter had already been
approached by a rival smuggler. In fact, the reporter
had already been approached twice by competing agents.
Asmol quickly disclosed he was involved in the business
himself and when the reporter said he had no money with
him, but had an uncle in London who could pay, Asmol replied
that one of his men would pick up the fee from him. Asmol
explained that it was common for relatives in Britain
to pay for immigrants in Calais. Within minutes he gave
a mobile phone number for his associate Rahulla, who was
based in Birmingham.
The next day a second undercover reporter, posing as the
cousin of the would-be immigrant, travelled to Birmingham
to meet Rahulla, an Afghan in his late twenties who worked
as a waiter at a run-down Asian fast-food outlet in the
city. It is tucked away among the Asian clothes shops
and restaurants that line Alum Rock Road. Rahulla took
the undercover reporter to the kitchen. A colleague, speaking
on his behalf, explained how the human smuggling business
works: When he [the cousin] will come in London,
he can come in any truck. You know, any truck; loading
trucks. So when he comes in London, so just jump from
the truck. When the reporter handed over the money,
Rahulla reassured him that his cousin could
come to Britain inside a lorry within a day to a week.
He added: Theres no time guarantee. But within
one week it will be sorted out. This weekend Rahulla
refused to speak on the phone about his role as an accomplice
in a people smuggling network. Another Afghan smuggler,
who called himself Jawad, also approached the first reporter
in France for his business. He said that he had set up
his jungle with three Kurdish smugglers and
offered to get him into Britain for £800. Jawad
discussed business in Urdu with the reporter as they sat
outside Calais police station last week with 100 other
immigrants who were protesting against the police. Jawad
gave the contact details of his associate, Derwish Jalat
Khan, in Birmingham.
When Khan was approached in Britain, he handed over his
Barclays bank account details and asked for the agreed
fee to be paid into the account immediately. This weekend
Khan hung up the phone twice when The Sunday Times approached
him for a comment about his role in people smuggling.
West Midlands police said: We will thoroughly investigate
any crimes reported to us. Jawad also boasted that
he had smuggled himself in and out of Britain inside lorries
when things had become hot for him with the
Calais police. The charities refuse to accept that their
assistance may contribute to the build-up of migrants.
Jacky Verhaegen, head of migrant welfare for Secours Catholique,
said: These migrants dont leave Afghanistan
because they heard that the soup we provide is good.
They come here to go to England. We have to help these
people because they are poor. The new welfare centre,
to be paid for by the French authorities, will open this
autumn. Critics of Sangatte Two accuse the
French of reneging on the spirit of the deal struck in
2002 between Nicolas Sarkozy, now a candidate for the
French presidency, and David Blunkett, then home secretary.
This made it clear that no such centre would be built
again in Calais. Blunkett said this weekend: Given
the much tougher border controls and surveillance put
in place since closure, it is amazing that local, as well
as national, French politicians do not appear to have
sufficiently recognised the danger of conflict that such
a centre will present. Unlike the original Sangatte
facility, the new centre will have no overnight accommodation,
say its creators. A spokesman for Jacky Henin, mayor of
Calais, said: For three years we have asked the
French, the European and British governments to do something
but no one has done anything. He blamed Britain
for the presence of illegal immigrants. Why do the
British government give work to migrants? Why is it possible
to get jobs in Britain without identity cards? he
Spring 1999: Kosovan refugees arrive in Calais en route
to Britain and set up a shanty town
August 1999: Police move refugees to a disused warehouse
in the coastal village of Sangatte, administered by the
February 2001: Riot as Afghan immigrants clash with Kurdish
July 2001: Eurotunnel demands closure of Sangatte refugee
September 2001: David Blunkett, home secretary, asks French
to shut it
February 2002: Full-scale riot
December 2002: Nicolas Sarkozy, the French interior minister,
shuts the camp down
2003: Calais charities provide food to migrants
April 2007: Mayor of Calais announces welfare centre for
immigrants to be opened in autumn
Just as Britain is being flooded with cheap foreign labour,
the resulting decline in Britains quality-of-life
is driving out our best and brightest!
International migration is eroding Britain's skills base
with an exodus of professionals matching the arrival of
low-skilled foreign migrants, the Government is to be
warned. The number of Britons emigrating has jumped in
recent years, with a growing proportion leaving professional
or managerial jobs to work overseas. By contrast, the
number of immigrant workers - many of them manual workers
- has risen sharply. The extent of the problem will be
revealed in the annual report on international migration
from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), to be published this summer. The section on Britain
has been written by John Salt of University College London,
an expert on migration and an adviser to the OECD and
the European Union. In it, he says: The evidence
suggests that migration flows are tending towards a deskilling
of the UK labour market, which is gaining manual and clerical
workers but losing professionals and managers. The
finding will call into question claims by ministers that
immigration boosts the economy by helping employers to
tackle skills shortages.
MPs and trade unions have already claimed that the arrival
of migrant workers is driving down pay and reducing job
opportunities for the established work force. Prof Salt's
report is also critical of the new points-based system
for assessing the skills of would-be migrant workers,
due to be launched by the Home Office later this year.
Under the new system, checks on candidates will be carried
out by entry clearance officers and case workers based
in the countries where the applications are made. However,
the report says: A major concern is about the capacity
of such a geographically distributed system to meet the
criteria of objectivity, consistency and -transparency.
Until recently, business leaders were broadly supportive
of the Government's position on migration. However, a
report last month by the British Chambers of Commerce
revealed that seven out of 10 of its members are now opposed
to unchecked immigration. David Frost, the organisation's
director general, said: Outside London, we are increasingly
seeing large numbers of white, unemployed males wandering
This is not pointing to a bright and positive future.
We need to engage with these people once more and get
them trained up. Immigration is not solving today's
problems but actually postpones them. Between 2000
and 2005, a net total of 272,000 Britons emigrated, while
a net total of 639,000 non-Britons moved to the UK. Findings
from the Government's international passenger survey,
cited by Prof Salt, show that in 2005, 34 per cent of
immigrants were professionals or managers before entering
Britain, 29 per cent were in lower-grade jobs while 37
per cent were not in work. By contrast, 42 per cent of
emigrants were professionals or managers, 25 per cent
were in other jobs and 33 per cent were not in work -
often because they were retired.
Thanks to immigration, we are now importing the civil
wars of the Middle East into Europe.
The police have brought five people before an administrative
judge and one has been legally arrested for throwing projectiles
at police in the incidents between the Turkish and Kurdish
communities in Sint-Joost-ten-Noode on Sunday afternoon.
The man who was legally arrested was handed over to the
Brussels public prosecution department. The police say
the area was calm last night. The incidents took place
after the deliberate setting of fire to a Kurdish cultural
centre on the Liedekerkestraat in Sint-Joost-ten-Noode
in the early hours of Sunday morning. A Kurdish centre
was also set on fire in the Booneelsstraat in the same
municipality in 1998. On Sunday the Kurdish community
started gathering in front of the community centre from
about 10 am and a spontaneous protest arose. Police had
to use water cannons on the crowd in the afternoon. At
about 8 pm police had to intervene once again in order
to separate smaller groups that had becoming engaged in
fighting. The area was quiet last night, say police.
Further proof that the concept of human rights
isnt about rights at all, but about destroying the
nations of the West. Turkey must never be allowed to join
Turkey has criticized a German draft immigration law which
stipulates that if spouses wish to join their partners
in Germany they have to possess a basic proficiency in
the German language. In an interview in Thursday's Süddeutsche
Zeitung newspaper the Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah
Gül, said I wish that all Turks in Germany
could speak German. But making it compulsory is against
human rights. And it doesn't solve the problem.
The German cabinet approved the new immigration bill in
March, but it still has to be approved by the Bundestag,
Germany's parliament. Among other measures, the law stipulates
that in the case of immigrating spouses, the person coming
to Germany must be at least 18 years old and be able to
speak at least basic German.
The government says it wants to improve the integration
of foreigners, while also attempting to reduce the number
of forced and fake marriages. Addressing the issue of
Turkey's ambitions to join the European Union, Gül
said that he didn't consider Turkish accession to be automatic.
He said Europe should not fear Turkey and that on some
issues the country was further ahead than a few EU member
states. He pointed, for example, to the Maastricht criteria
which determine a member state's eligibility for the euro.
Turkey, he said, had already fulfilled the five benchmarks.
Gül was quick to praise the current German EU presidency.
Germany's foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier,
supports us. We now hope for some progress in the negotiations
with the EU. However, the minister was critical
of the decision not to invite Turkey to the EU's 50th
anniversary celebrations in March. It says something
about Europe's vision. Enthusiasm for the EU has
dropped significantly in Turkey, he said. He put this
down to the tone of the debate within Europe about Turkey,
which many Turkish people find offensive.
Gül met with his German counterpart in Berlin on
Tuesday and after the meeting Steinmeier said that there
was movement again on a possible entry of Turkey into
the EU. The two men talked about the possibility of opening
further chapters in the accession talks between Brussels
and Ankara. Turkish EU membership talks had been partially
suspended for eight of the 35 accession chapters in December
2006, due to Turkey's reluctance to open up its ports
and airports to ships and planes from Cyprus. Brussels
gave the green light to open one of those chapters --
on enterprise and industrial policy -- with Turkey last
week. At the news conference after the meeting Gül
said Turkey always appreciated support of Germany
... when Turkey-EU relations are in question.
Not only is immigration bad for Britain, it is bad for
some of the countries the immigrants are coming from.
Boxes full of provisions are tucked away just under the
roof of a deep refrigerated warehouse in Clondalkin, 20
minutes outside of Dublin, the Irish capital. Temperatures
here are below 15 degrees Celsius. Bytautas Sikvinskas
is wearing special clothes to protect him from the cold.
Today his job is to repack pizza and ice-cream for different
branches of one of the biggest supermarket chains in Ireland.
He is preparing them for shipping with ten other Lithuanian
colleagues. 3.5 million people live in Lithuania today.
About half a million emigrated after independence in 1991.
There are no exact figures, but many are illegal immigrants.
100,000 Lithuanians live in Ireland alone. Other countries
targeted by immigrants include Spain, the UK, and America.
Following a survey by the Public Policy and Management
Institute, the reasons for immigration are attributed
to poor working conditions and low pay. 'In Ireland I
earn 500 Euros (after tax) per week,' says the 21-year-old.
'A friend of mine back home in Vilnius works as a forklift
truck driver. Translated into Euros, he earns 140 a month.'
Slivinskas came to Ireland two years ago: 'I wanted to
be free and no longer dependent on my parents. I found
myself bored with study, so I gave it up.' Many Lithuanians
had already left for other parts of the world during the
time of the Tsar, in order to avoid the compulsory year
of Russian military service.
The first big wave of emigration began shortly after Lithuanias
independency. The country consequently underwent a big
economic crisis with unemployment rates rising to 20%.
'Many Soviet public enterprises were run with a complete
lack of efficiency and took on too many employees. However
this was not the case in the economical market, so many
businesses either had to close or let a lot of their employees
go,' explains Jonas Cicinskas, Professor of Economics
at the University of Vilnius. Ten thousand lost their
jobs and many left Lithuania seeking prospects abroad.
In the long run, this has had a positive effect on the
economy as those who left still today send hundreds of
millions of Euros home ever year. They are therefore helping
to once again give some impetus to the countrys
economy. Since Lithuania became a member state of the
European Union in 2004, even more people are moving out.
It's giving rise to concern amongst politicians and economists,
who are viewing the increasing development with consternation.
Meanwhile the economy is gaining momentum, being 7.5%
up on 2005. The small Eastern country is suffering from
a severe labour shortage.
As with many new EU member states, the average wage has
now increased so much so, that in 2006 almost 20% of the
population was earning a monthly salary of 479 Euros.
Because the economy today is particularly employment-intensive,
goods such as furniture and textiles are being produced,
which in the long run means a loss in over-competitiveness
with products which are being produced cheaper still in
Romania and Western Russia. Professor Cicinskas believes
that Lithuanian businesses badly need to bring new innovative
products to the market. Other than this though, the country
relies upon investment in future technology of foreign
firms. 'In particular, the emigration of highly qualified
academics (the so-called 'brain drain') has hindered the
modernisation of the economy enormously.
This is the real danger for the future of our country,'
he says. Gabrielius Zemkalnis, a representative of the
Lithuanian World Community in Vilnius, an organisation
which represents the interests of Lithuanian emigrants,
is of a similar opinion. Zemkalnis has an office far from
the gaze of the Lithuanian parliament not without
reason, as the 78 year-old former expatriate is first
and foremost a lobbyist. 'I would not be very happy if
our organisation was to be redundant anytime soon, because
all emigrants return home eventually,' laughs Zemkalnis.
In explaining what the state must first do in order to
achieve this goal, he slams the country's bureaucracy.
'There's too much. We do not gain any foreign investors.
We scare off any fledgling home-grown businesses,' says
a man who spent half a century in Australia. Politicians
in Lithuania have known for a long time what the problem
is. Barely a month goes by without new proposals being
made as to how to put an end to emigration.
At last Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkiklas has demanded
a decrease in income tax, so that all Lithuanians stand
to make more money. This is the only measure which can
avert further emigration and secure the return of existing
Lithuanian emigrants. Many Lithuanians are terrified that
their national identity will be lost along with their
fellow inhabitants. Their thinking is that if even more
of their people leave so their language and customs will
soon fall into oblivion. This means that a lot is riding
upon Lithuanian emigrants maintaining their culture whilst
living abroad, so there are many Lithuanian festivals,
which take place at regular intervals. In Spain, eleven
Lithuanian schools have already been opened. 'The children
have to learn to speak in their native tongue. Only then
will they be able to find their feet again in Lithuania,'
explains Zemkalnis. 'They will only return if there is
an improvement in living conditions in this country.'
Vytautas plans to leave Ireland shortly to pursue a particular
development in his homeland. 'Each time I come back home
for a holiday, I find that so much has changed for the
better. I miss Lithuania and now is the time to go back,'
Vytautas says. He will still meet his Lithuanian friends
one last time in Clondalkin for a pub-crawl. Vytautas
has no idea what will happen in the future: 'I have many
plans which I want to put into practice in Lithuania immediately.'
Reserving jobs for actual Russians is not racism,
as liberals say, but common sense. The BNP strongly endorses
the determination of Russian Government to put the interest
of Russians first.
Migrant workers in Russia found themselves legislated
out of a job yesterday after a controversial new law reserving
retail jobs for ethnic Russians came into force. The legislation,
which has been described as state-sponsored racism by
human rights activists, bans non-Russians from working
in large swaths of the country's retail sector. It will
affect Russia's food and clothing markets and the thousands
of roadside kiosks that sell anything from newspapers
to cosmetics . Until yesterday it was not uncommon to
visit a market staffed exclusively by migrant workers
from across the former Soviet Union.
Now hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from countries
such as Georgia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan are looking
for new jobs. In Russia's Far East such positions have
typically been filled by Chinese migrant workers and many
of them appear to have already returned home. At Ussuriysk's
vast market near the Chinese border almost all the stalls
were reported to be deserted. We had hoped good
sense would prevail ... This could disrupt the economy
and bring many problems, said Sergei Simakov, a
district councillor from Ussuriysk. Some commentators
have raised fears that prices may rise as employers are
forced to pay higher wages and wonder if ethnic Russians
will be willing to take up jobs that entail working 12-hour
days. At Moscow's famous Dorogomilovsky food market several
stalls were denuded of their usually exotic mixture of
fruit and vegetables from across the former Soviet Union.
In their place hung signs that read: Wanted: Salespeople.
Must be Russian. Officials from the migration service
raided a Moscow market in a sign that the Kremlin expects
the new law to be scrupulously followed.
A spokesman for the Federal Migration Service said the
raid proved that the new law was effective. Considering
that this particular market has 1200 trading stalls and
only four foreigners were detected you can conclude that
in general the law is working. The Kremlin insists
that there is nothing racist about the law that it says
is intended to protect the rights of ethnic Russians who
have complained of being squeezed out of the retail sector
by migrant workers. But human rights activists say nationalism
is on the march ahead of crunch parliamentary elections
in December and a presidential election next March and
have accused the state of pandering to racists. Allison
Gill, head of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch,
said in the Soviet era Russia was famous for promoting
friendship between peoples, hosting large
numbers of students from the developing world. But
now that slogan seems to have been turned on its head.
It is now Russia for Russians.