Asylum system in meltdown couldn't be further from the truth

Contributed by editor on Feb 28, 2009 - 12:00 AM

The Prosser Perspective.... a weekly column from Dover and Deal MP Gwyn

26 February 2009

If you believed half of the headlines on some of the tabloid
newspapers you could be forgiven for believing that our immigration
rules are unenforceable, our asylum system is in meltdown and no one
gets sent home – but nothing could be further from the truth.

My Home Affairs Select Committee is conducting an in-depth inquiry
into the Government’s new ‘Points Based System’ of immigration and
there’s no doubt that our final report will criticise some aspects
of the new rules but it’s already clear that the reformed system is
more effective and more practical than anything that preceded it.

The changes we’ve brought in are delivering the biggest shake-up to
our border protection and immigration system in decades and the
latest figures are starting to bear this out.

Quarterly statistics covering immigration and asylum, and reports of
migration from Eastern Europe were published by the Home Office this
week. Work applications from the eight accession countries have
fallen to their lowest level since the new countries joined the
European Union in 2004, according to the latest Accession Monitoring

The Control of Immigration Statistics for the last quarter of 2008
show that: asylum applications have fallen by two per cent, the
number of initial decisions to refuse or grant asylum was up by
three per cent, and 16,525 failed asylum seekers and others were
removed or departed voluntarily from the UK.

We have already demonstrated the flexibility of the points system
through the suspension of the low-skilled worker tier and our plans
to toughen up the existing Resident Labour Market test for
employers. This will ensure that during these difficult economic
times, when jobs are being lost, people already here have the first
crack of the whip at getting work.

Along with our new Australian-style Points Based System, a high-tech
process for counting people in and out of the country and the
introduction of ID cards for foreign nationals; we are building a
new immigration system fit for the 21st century, one which benefits

We have a zero cap on non-EU low-skilled migration and strict limits
on Romanian and Bulgarian workers so we can monitor the impact on
the UK.

In the House of Commons the Tories talk tough on asylum and
immigration but they vote soft - they have repeatedly voted against
the measures we have taken to control Britain's borders, including
tougher penalties for those who attempt to smuggle people into the
country and measures to simplify the appeals system.

The Opposition claims to be tough on border security but at the same
time they question our plans to count people in and out so that we
can control immigration and they continue to oppose ID cards which
will help control our borders and stop fraudulent access to benefits
and public services.

None of these details have shown up in the tabloid headlines of
course but if you’ve lived in Dover for any length of time, the
results of our reforms are only too clear to see.