The Mayor of London’s remarks in India about an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the capital would be a ‘kick in the teeth’ for the many thousands of young people struggling to find a job because of the unfair competition they face, says a think tank who have today issued a report on the situation in the capital .
Boris Johnson suggested that an amnesty for illegal immigrants is somehow inevitable but, says think tank Migration Watch UK, with an estimated 500,000+ illegal immigrants in London alone such plans would be a gross betrayal of those seeking legitimately to get into the jobs market.
The report points out, that every country that has tried amnesties has found that they simply increase the number of illegals who, often correctly, have assumed that they will also be offered a further amnesty in due course.
Secondly, they reward illegal behaviour at considerable expense to the tax payers.
Even more importantly, illegal immigrants come to (or stay on in) London precisely in order to work and, often, to send money home. They mainly do low skilled work, which is exactly the kind of job that young Londoners need to get into the labour market.
To get work, illegal immigrants undercut the wages of British workers while reducing the opportunities for young Londoners. They also allow unscrupulous employers to compete unfairly with honest ones who provide decent wages and conditions.
One specific area which is highly topical at present is housing - especially social housing - where the impact of such an amnesty would be felt particularly strongly. All those granted an amnesty would be eligible for social housing and they would also have the right to bring their families to Britain. Those that had large families would move up the housing queue. A recent report from the London School of Economics assumes that only 40% would require social housing but, even on that extremely optimistic assumption, the costs of the public sector subsidy would be £6.2 billion.
It is also clear there was no public appetite for an amnesty of the kind mooted. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times in January 2012 found that 67% believe that illegal immigrants should be deported immediately with no right of appeal. This is consistent with earlier polling.
The report recognized that it is clearly impossible to deport half a million people. It is, however, possible to discourage an illegal existence in Britain. Fines against employers for employing illegal workers should be much more vigorously enforced. Action should also be taken against those who provide accommodation for illegal immigrants. These measures, combined with the development of electronic border checking, should progressively reduce the scale of illegal immigration in Britain.
Commenting, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK said “The problem of illegal immigration has to be tackled if opportunities for young people in Britain are to be improved. A situation in which nearly a quarter of young Londoners, and about half of young black Londoners, are unemployed simply cannot be allowed to continue. Amnesties are an appallingly bad idea. They have been a total failure in Italy and Spain; they have just sucked in more and more illegals. It is highly irresponsible to suggest that an amnesty in the UK is inevitable – especially in a country that is believed to be a major source of illegal immigrants,” he said.