News / Europe

Britain to Cap Non-EU Immigrants

Would be Illegal immigrants to Britain stand in line waiting for a meal supplied by a humanitarian association in Calais, France. (file photo)
Would be Illegal immigrants to Britain stand in line waiting for a meal supplied by a humanitarian association in Calais, France. (file photo)

Britain attracts students and workers from all over the world. In fact,  immigration is the fastest contributor to Britain's population growth. Many say the influx is straining the country's social welfare system.  The new coalition government plans to introduce a cap on the number of immigrants from outside the EU. Critics of the proposal say the proposal will not do much to curb the growing numbers as more than 85 percent of immigrants are from EU nations. Some immigrants will go to extreme lengths in order to remain in the country and explore possible effects of the government's proposed immigration cap.

Bogus marriages

British authorities are cracking down on sham marriages, where a European Union national marries someone from outside the EU so that person can remain in Britain.

A vicar in southern England was recently convicted of carrying out more than 360 fake marriages.

"We're seeing cases where typically perhaps a West African national, who's not in the EU, marries an EU national, whether they be Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish and they then get all the rights, so they have a vested interest in marrying an EU national," explained Sam Bullimore, with the UK Border Agency.

Bullimore says it has become an industry, where a "facilitator" can earn more than $10,000 for each bogus marriage. Clergyman Tim Codling started working with the police after he was inundated with marriage requests he thought were dubious. During one ceremony he started reciting the names of train stations instead of vows, and the bride, who clearly did not understand English repeated after him.  Codling says a parallel law system makes churches an easy target.

"The Church of England is more attractive because you don't have to go through the same sort of checks as you would have to go through if you made an application in the secular system,"
Codling noted.

Fake colleges

Bullimore says another scam that immigrants are using are fake colleges, which sponsor student visas.

"We're seeing plenty of instances where colleges are opening, they have capacity ostensibly for 5,000 students or there'll be 5,000 students applying for places in that college and the college itself may, upon being visited, only have room for 200," Bullimore said.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government is trying to cut down on immigration from outside the European Union. It has put a cap on the number of immigrants who can enter the country, a little more than 24,000 per year. The rule is an interim one, but expected to become permanent next April.

Criticism, praise

The policy has been criticized by a group of Nobel Laureates who say it will discourage promising students and scientists from coming to Britain and threatens Britain's reputation as a leader in research.  Business leaders say it will prevent businesses from recruiting the best international talent. Car manufacturers here have warned the same thing.

Alp Mehmet, with the research group Migration Watch, approves of the government's cap. He believes immigration numbers are getting out of control.

"It's not immigrants, what we want is a sustainable number, a number, the numbers coming in here at a rate that they can integrate, they can become a part of this society rather than groups within society," Mehmet said.

Britain has a long history of taking in immigrants, and the capital is full of diverse ethnic neighborhoods like Brixton, in South London, home to many of Caribbean descent who came here in the 1940s.  About 176,000 immigrants a year come to Britain, the new prime minister wants to reduce that number to the tens of thousands, but has hinted to businesses here, he might relax the cap on skilled workers to keep Britain open for business.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs