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Harsh Visa Controls Counterproductive & Ineffective, Motivate Unlawful Immigration: UK Researchers

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Contrary to the popular belief, stricter visa controls do not help; these in fact, often prove counterproductive and unsuccessful, and inspire many migrants to explore illegal methods to move to an overseas hotspot.

This is the observation of some UK based researchers, who, in a report, say that when people find it difficult or impossible to move to an overseas destination of their choice, using lawful channel, they try exploring other, frequently unauthorized, channels for the purpose.   

The study by a few academics from some of the topmost UK universities found that increased visa checks on migrants create a bigger requirement for enforcement. As per the researchers, administrations would do well to mull over the wider impacts of controls, and consider the ambitions of the individuals to stop and control unlawful immigration.

Allegedly, just a tiny minority, roughly 20%, of migrants will consider entering a country unlawfully. It’s extremely difficult to measure unauthorized migration with the reason being it is frequently covert & unobservable. The report further observes that many migrants employ illegal methods when immigration & visa rules become very preventive, and they are not left with many alternatives.

Reportedly, in the year to March 2017, the UK Home Office obtained 2.98 million visa petitions. While 400,000 were declined, out of the 2.55 million approved – 299,000 were for study, 47,000 for family/dependants, 164,000 associated with work, and 1.96 million were travelers.

The study, on which this report is based, examined the reasons why and how people move, based on the varying degrees of restrictions. Those behind the study focused on four streams managed by the visa immigration system, namely, families, students, low and high skilled candidates.

Their findings suggest that curbs on the high trained visa petitions & students had little or no effects whatsoever on controlling the figures.

On the other hand, the curbs imposed on the admission of families (in particular around unification) and the low skilled, which seem to reduce the flow of migrants, reportedly redirected a major figure of the aspiring candidates towards prohibited admission.

As per one of the authors behind the study, the biggest reorientation towards unauthorized channels takes place when the family path is shut down. When controlling immigration strategy, governments require considering that they are also cutting down the aspiring migrants’ already restricted choices available for the officially permitted migration, points out the study.

UK Researchers

Where minimal attainable visa limits could easily be fulfilled, researchers discovered that 44% of the aspiring candidates moved, via lawful channels. Adding further restrictions-such as work permits and sponsorship-resulted in a decrease in those looking for legal methods of admission. The same test applied to the families and low-skilled candidates, and discovered that immigration decreased by 32% and 21% in that order, but boosted unlawful immigration by 24% and 14%.

The report also discovered that four-fifth of those entering unlawfully would require to be held with a view to counterbalance the effect of legal restrictions, rendering the solution fruitless whilst putting major pressure on resources.

Internationally there are an anticipated 258 million migrants (individuals residing in a nation other than that of their birth), or 3.4% of the world’s entire populace. From 2000 to 2015, migration was behind 42% of the population rise in North America though in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the overall effect was quite negative. As per UN statistics, in Europe, however, the population would have been heading south had it not been for overseas movement.

As per the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), during the year gone by, a projected 282,000 more individuals moved to the UK than left, with yearly immigration being an average of 630,000 and emigration being 350,000.

Though the data offered by the ONS is employed by the UK administration to decide policy, actual figures are not easy to discover. Human trafficking & smuggling, and the utilization of fake papers/certificates, are facilitated by organized criminal gangs, who exploit migrants running away from conflict, harsh economic pressures, etc.

Unlawful migrants may live “under the radar” in place of seeking refuge, catching the attention of the concerned officials only via hospitals, police or homeless or other charity recommendation, at which point they become an official statistic.

Certain long-term issues-like migrant camps, for example-further alter the appraisals made by the officials. A survey carried-out earlier this year reportedly found that close-to 6,700 people were in migrant camps at Calais and Dunkirk, majority of whom came under the family, low-skilled or aspiration-al class and were evading the visa procedures.

Camps, reportedly, witness a steady flow of migrants making an effort to reach the UK. With the smuggling gangs reportedly functioning with almost 100% success rate, the figure of the migrants who are in the UK illegally, allegedly, is expected to be considerably higher, vis-à-vis the ONS numbers put forward.

In the year ending 2017, the UK Home Office, reportedly, obtained 27,316 petitions for refuge, down 17% from 2016. Bangladesh (5%), Iraq (13%), Pakistan (14%), Afghanistan (35%), and Iran (38%) were the leading 5 nationalities submitting an application for asylum in the UK.

During 2016, the UK was placed at the fifth position in the EU league table for refuge petitions, with Germany being placed right at the top in the list with 722,265 petitions.

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