UK Immigration News Bulletin w/c February 5, 2007
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The Home Office came under renewed fire last night after
it emerged it 'lost' a failed asylum seeker who went on
to rape a Norfolk teenager.
The blunder increased the pressure on Home Secretary John
Reid, whose department is struggling with a prisons crisis
and concerns over the monitoring of sex offenders and
the immigration system. Mr Reid succeeded Norwich South
MP Charles Clarke as Home Secretary in May last year in
the wake of revelations about the disappearance of thousands
of unsuccessful asylum applicants and the failure to deport
more than 1,000 foreign convicts. Yesterday, 30-year-old
Bilal Darioglu, who arrived in Britain from Turkey on
the back of a lorry, was jailed for five years for the
sex attack on a 19-year-old in Yarmouth. The rape happened
in October last year, months after officials let more
than 100,000 people awaiting deportation slip the net.
Last night the shadow immigration minister, Norfolk MPs
and the judge who heard the case rounded on the Home Office.
Darioglu had been denied successive asylum applications
after arriving in the UK in 2000. He should have been
deported in 2005 but went missing.
Last night a Home Office spokesman said: 'We always seek
to remove failed asylum seekers as quickly as possible
but on some occasions there are legal barriers which delay
this.' Damian Green, shadow minister for immigration,
said: 'This is another in a worrying catalogue of serious
offences which could have been avoided.' South Norfolk
MP Richard Bacon added: 'It's a vivid illustration of
the real danger to the public if the asylum and immigration
system doesn't work properly.'
Norwich North MP Ian Gibson said: 'There has been a lot
of sloppy management over this situation. Its not tolerable
and presents a real risk to the public. Somebody's head
should roll for failing to carry out what should be an
elementary job. 'It is an embarrassment, especially as
we were elected on the back of a manifesto pledging to
tackle immigration and crime.' His comments seem to confirm
Dr Reid's assessment that his department is 'not fit for
purpose' and come amid criticism about overcrowded prisons;
a glitch which allowed murderers and sex offenders convicted
abroad to work in British schools; and the revelation
that UK police had lost track of 322 sex offenders. Jailing
Darioglu for five years and placing him on the sex offenders'
register for life, Judge Peter Jacobs said: 'It's quite
clear you should be deported. As to whether that will
happen others will decide.' Matthew McNiff, prosecuting,
said Darioglu was living in Yarmouth when he picked up
his victim in the early hours of the morning.
He drove her to another part of the town and raped her
in the back of his car. Mr McNiff said that at the time
of the offence Darioglu was aware all his appeals against
claiming asylum in this country had been rejected in November
2005 and his claim was found to be 'totally without merit'.
He said: 'He was to be deported but it would appear the
Home Office immigration service was unable to find him.'
Edmund Vickers, mitigating, said Darioglu had come to
this country aged 22. 'Despite being an illegal immigrant
he has always worked in this country in pizza shops and
has never claimed benefits,' he said.
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I THINK its time we took over England. Seriously.
They need us. And I think they have even started acknowledging
it themselves. Like I was in the UK a couple of weeks
back. In Surrey actually, staying at a lovely little bed-and-breakfast
on the banks of the muddy Thames. In fact, I was there
on the day of the storm, when the UK experienced gale
force winds (which had nothing to do with the goings on
at the Big Brother house as I was later informed) at some
ridiculous miles per hour. My hotel even had a power cut
that night, but, hey, thats another story (which,
incidentally, has nothing to do with the recent BMC elections).
I was ferried around by a cheerful Afghan who sympathised
with me and my brethren for the racism we undoubtedly
faced in our everyday lives. But, hey, even thats
another story. What I really want to tell you about is
this astounding piece of inside information that I picked
up: The Brits need us. Desperately. This I came to know
when I landed at Heathrow.
I walked about for a mile inside the terminal and didnt
see a Brit. Only Indians. Even the guys at immigration.
Only Indians. But not our desi version. These Indians
were a little, well, foreign. Stern looking
Indians in smart uniforms and strange stiff upper lip
accents. Which was a bit like watching Sholay dubbed in
English. 'Right, old chap. So how many of you did you
say you were?' Same fellows why we dont bring to
Indian immigration, I dont know, but hey, that also
is another story. Anyways, fortunately the cabbie in the
wonderful old London cab that took us to our hotel was
a Londoner. But after that I have to say it was Indians
(and the occasional Afghan or Pakistani) almost all the
way. And in the short time I was there (two days) I quickly
figured out why they need us. To work. See, the Brits
dont have maids. They have washing machines and
vacuum cleaners. But, I have to tell you, even with micro-chip
technology and all that guff, its damn difficult
to teach a spin dryer to sit at immigration. Or to sell
newspapers. Or to make Balti Chicken. Achcha, and the
other thing is the food.
Without good homemade Indian food the Brits will starve.
Like, I tried their fish and chips. And I tell you straight
to your face, I dont blame them. Even three-day-old
Indian cardboard tastes better than golden fried cod.
Which I think also explains why the English never smile.
Even at their own jokes. I mean its depressing.
But now they are learning slowly, slowly. Already we have
given them a little Balti Chicken and the corners of their
upper lip have begun to twitch. So if we let them graduate
to Bombil Fry imagine the dhamaal! Or what about some
good Mangalorean Kori Rotti? Speaking of which, I am thinking
that for the best colonisation of England, we should first
export a few Shettys. And not just some pretty Bollywood
types but the hard core ones who come with Restaurant
and Bar after their name. I mean that should really change
the face of England. Like imagine: Trishna-on-Thames Restaurant
and Bar (no smoking and spitting, only dancing up to 11
pm). After the Shettys we should send them a few Shindes
and some Gangulys and Tiwaris. And one or two Billimorias
only for taste because we cannot afford too many of those.
Throw in a few of our bureaucrats, bank tellers and cricketers
and the bloody Brits will be loving it. And I think England
will be well on its way to being the second best Indian
city in the world. Second only to Dubai.
Postscript: And the sun will never set on the Indian Empire.
(You can contact the columnist at email@example.com)
Seventy people have been arrested in late night
raids on Indian restaurants as part of a major investigation
into an alleged illegal immigrant employment racket. Among
the businesses raid by the Police and Immigration Service
were those belonging to Nighat Awan, a British Pakistani
who runs a successful chain of restaurants called Shere
Khan and who is said to be friends with Prime Minister
Tony Blair and his wife Cherie. Awan, dubbed Curry
Queen, has built up a fortune of £35 million
and is a close ally of former foreign secretary Jack Straw.
She is a friend of Cherie Blair and has thrown garden
parties for the first family at her home. She has been
decorated with an OBE for her export and overseas charity
work and last year was appointed head of a Department
Trade and Industry-backed group to support black and ethnic
minority businesses. Police officers carried out simultaneous
raid across the country as well as storming the Awan family
£3.5 million mansion in Cheshire and spoke to Awan
as they searched the premises.
Neighbours told one newspaper they saw documents and computer
equipment being taking away. Awans husband Rafique
was out of the country. The first Shere Khan restaurant
was set up by Awans 65-year-old husband in Manchesters
famous curry mile on Wilmslow Road in 1987. Since then
Awan and his 51-year-old wife have expanded the business
to a string of ten Shere Khan restaurants all over the
country. Their restaurants in Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire,
Sheffield and Kent were all raided on Friday night. Awan,
one of Britains richest businesswomen, has in recent
years made Shere Khan a global brand by opening restaurants
in Dubai and Japan, and expanded into the production of
ready-made curry sauces and other Indian food for supermarkets.
The Awans company is now worth £300 million.
'We understand there is an ongoing inquiry into the employment
and immigration status of a number of employees,' said
the firms solicitor Michael Kenyon, who added that
his clients were co-operating with the police. 'No member
of the management team has been arrested or interviewed
by the authorities,' said Kenyon.
India has cautioned Britain that it would be the loser
if its immigration laws are not liberalised to allow freer
movement of workers from the sub-continent nation. 'Short
of permanent immigration, we are asking for freer movement
of personnel who can render services abroad,' Finance
Minister P Chidambaram told The Times. His comments come
as many highly skilled Indians -- entrepreneurs, scientists,
doctors and IT specialists -- find it impossible to stay
in Britain since changes to a migrant programme in November.
The changes to the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme,
which was applied retrospectively, lays greater emphasis
on earnings and education than work experience. 'Many
knowledge workers could go abroad for three months, six
months or a year and add to our exports, but they are
constrained by a very restrictive visa regime and local
tax laws,' Chidambaram said. Indians are the largest national
group affected by the new rules. 'If a qualified professional
from India is denied entry and that place is taken by
a less qualified person from, say, Eastern Europe, surely
the UK is the loser,' he said.
Hundreds of foreign criminals who have completed their
jail sentences in the UK but cannot be deported because
they may be tortured or executed in their home countries
could be housed in a prison at RAF Coltishall, it has
been revealed. The latest news will send shockwaves through
the local community, who were promised in November that
if an immigration detention centre were built on the former
airbase, it would not hold criminals. In fact it is the
third suggested use for the site since the Home Office
became involved in the autumn. They initially said they
might build an immigration centre for people who had not
been convicted of crimes in the UK, then last week the
prison idea was put forward - and it is understood that
the latest plan may well be announced officially later
The prison would be used to take foreign criminals out
of 'mainstream' prisons, freeing up spaces for other prisoners.
The prison service is currently in crisis amid widespread
accusations of incompetence and chaos in the Home Office.
Today Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson said: 'The story that
is leaking out of the Home Office is probably correct
in its general assumption. 'This is being driven by a
crisis within the prison system. 'The problem is RAF Coltishall
looks like an easy quick fix for the Home Office.' His
North Norfolk counterpart Norman Lamb said he has been
left 'completely bemused' by the latest news. 'This is
born out of crisis management and I have huge concerns
on a number of levels, including the sustainability of
any decisions being made in the Home Office in the current
Many local councils are struggling to cope with the flood
of workers from EU accession states such as Poland and
Lithuania, a Government watchdog reports today. The study
by the Audit Commission says that some local and national
organisations are unprepared for migration on such a scale.
Although many areas are dealing well with the increase,
there have been negative impacts such as a rise in homelessness
in some places, the commission says. And it recommends
that teaching migrant workers English would be the best
way to ease the pressure of EU enlargement on local councils.
This will help migrant workers to integrate properly with
communities, learn about their entitlements and avoid
exploitation. Figures from the Department for Work and
Pensions quoted in the report show that 662,000 foreign
nationals gained a national insurance number for the first
time in 2005/06 - almost twice as many as in 2002/03.
Foreign nationals made up 6% of the national workforce
in 2006, up from 3.5% in 1996, the report says. Much of
this increase comes from countries that joined the EU
in 2004, with Polish nationals by far the biggest source
for new national insurance number applications in 2005/06.
The commission's report, Crossing Borders - responding
to the local challenges of migrant workers, says: 'National
and local agencies were unprepared for migration on such
a scale.' It says there has been a particular impact on
housing, with a worrying rise in overcrowded properties
in some areas. Migrant workers who fail to find accommodation
and work are also helping to fuel a rise in rough sleeping,
street drinking and squatting in some areas, because they
are rarely entitled to benefits. In one example, the report
says that accession-state nationals now comprise up to
half the recognised street drinkers in one London borough,
Hammersmith and Fulham. Nevertheless, the report says
that economic studies also suggest that migrant workers
are having a positive impact on the economy. And national
and local surveys show that employers across the UK welcome
the influx of cheaper labour. The commission says that
the key to increasing the positive impacts is to improve
communication and links with migrant-worker communities.
This communication will be improved by better access to
English classes, as many foreign workers are arriving
in the country with limited knowledge of the language.
Commission chairman Michael O'Higgins says: 'Migrant workers,
most of whom are young and don't make excessive demands
on public services, have brought economic benefits.
'The single most useful thing local agencies and employers
can do is to make it easier for migrant workers to speak
better English, so they integrate better with local communities
and can understand public information more easily.' The
report says that Government spending on English for Speakers
of Other Languages (ESOL) had doubled in the five years
to 2004/2005. Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: 'This
report underlines why the Government was right to take
a gradual approach to letting Bulgarians and Romanians
come to work in Britain. 'It is essential that migrants
wishing to live and work in the UK recognise that there
are responsibilities that go with this. 'Having a good
grasp of English is essential in order to play a full
role in society and properly integrate into British life.
'From April 2 next year all those seeking to live in the
UK permanently will have to pass English language and
knowledge of life in the UK tests before being granted
permanent settlement rights. 'This will bring them into
line with the requirements for those seeking British nationality.'
Responding to the report, shadow home secretary David
Davis said: 'This reinforces what we have been saying,
that immigration can be of real benefit to the country,
but only if it is properly controlled, taking into account
its impact both on the economy and the public service