Immigration Minister, Damian Green, will be answering questions from the public in a quick fire Q&A video to be posted on YouTube.
Questions must be submitted by 20 April 2011. It is requested that questions are concise, on topic and not party political.
His announcement, which can also be found on the Home Office website, comes on the day that the new limits on Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas come in to force.
Whilst Mr Green will only be providing ‘quick fire’ answers to quetsions this is an opportunity for members of the public to raise their concerns.
We at www.lifeintheuk.net will be submitting questions ourselves and we encourage you to do the same.
The UK Border Agency have let an unknown number of people into the UK through ports and airports without proper checks of their biometric information, passports and identity over summer 2011.
In what has proved to be a controversial story since it broke, it now seems that Theresa May may be fighting to save her position as Home Secretary. Further details continue to emerge on a daily basis and May today faces an opposition-day debate in the Commons.
The discovery of severe reductions in UK border checks comes ahead of further tightenings of the Immigration Rules from a government supposedly cracking down on immigration and abuses of the immigration system.
With Brodie Clark - who has already resigned in protest at May’s accusations that he is responsible - keen to talk to the Home Affairs Select Committee to offer his version of events it seems that May is fighting a difficult position.
Further details can be found on the link above - it is clear, however, that there is more to come from this controversial story.
With immigration proving such a hot topic at the moment it can be hard work to make sense of all the conflicting opinions, statistics and numbers. What does it all actually mean? Is the UK going to sink under the weight of so many people or have the numbers been spun for political gain?
Well the lovely people at the Guardian have taken the latest Immigration Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics and created interactive diagrams, charts and tables to break it all down.
This means that you can now see things such as how many people have come and gone from the UK, where they came from, how asylum application patterns have change over the years and how many people are deported.
This incredibly useful summary means that you no longer have to read a news story saying ‘Net migration hits 250,000’ and say to yourself, ‘is that a lot? How much was it five, or ten, years ago?’
If you are concerned about immigration, about the government’s recent changes to the Immigration Rules, or simply want to understand what’s happening in some more detail then this is the perfect place to start.
In a short summary report the independent think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that recent falls in net migration are the result of economic factors and not government policy.
The report, Migration Review 2011/12 identifies changes in migrant numbers over the last year and provides some explanation of the changes. One of the key conclusions reached in the report is that the self-set target of reducing net migration to under 100,000 will be very hard, if not impossible to reach.
The paper also questions the value of net migration as a metric given it is resulting in policies which risk damaging economic growth - at a time when it is greatly needed in the UK:
"Reducing immigration is a legitimate policy goal – but the choice of target brings two risks. The first is that by promising what it cannot deliver, the government, far from achieving its stated aim of taking the heat out of this emotive issue, will instead feed the public’s sense of disillusionment. The second risk is that the target will distort policy choices. This is happening across the board, for example with the proposal to introduce a high salary threshold for those wishing to marry someone from abroad. But the most troubling area, at a time when returning to growth should be the UK’s top priority, are the wide-ranging changes to economic migration."
In reference to the cap on visa numbers introduced at the start of this government’s term, the report is also critical. It should be noted that the cap was not reached in 2011 due to economic conditions, and the report notes that “IPPR remains concerned that it could be a drag on economic performance in the longer term.
The conclusion adds: “It is slightly odd to see a government making a virtue of their flagship policy not actually having had any effect, but the more serious conclusion is that the experience of the cap so far should not be seen as a vindication of the policy for the future.”
The Home Secretary has announced the UKBA will be split into two separate new bodies following the publication of the critical report, An investigation into border security checks, by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency John Vine.
The Home Secretary tried to put a positive slant on the report’s findings but the Shadow Home Secretary and Brodie Clark, former head of the UKBA who was forced to resign last year, suggest otherwise.
Further details on this, including the specific recommendations provided in the report, can be found on www.lifeintheuk.net. It will be interesting to see how these recommendations marry up with the Home Secretary’s forthcoming plans.