Thursday, December 20, 2012

Up to 90,000 students 'in Britain illegally': Thousands fail to attend courses and some don't even register

Ministers have been notified of up to 90,000 foreign students who may be living in Britain illegally.

Audits by universities and colleges have thrown up tens of thousands of students who may have broken the rules by failing to attend their courses or even register.

In August, London Metropolitan University had its licence to bring in foreign students after inspectors found thousands of illegal immigrants were studying there.

Since then, hundreds of other institutions have been examining their books to find if they have students who should not be in Britain.

The Border Agency revoked the Met’s licence after it discovered a quarter of overseas students sampled were in the UK illegally and around half may not have been attending lectures.

Problems have also been discovered at Teesside university and Glasgow Caledonian university.

UK Border Agency chief executive Rob Whiteman told the Home Affairs committee it had received 90,000 notifications since the Summer.

He said: ‘We are now working through them. We have a new team in the new year in the Liverpool area which includes some DVLA staff transferring over and those 90,000 notifications we have received will be processed by the end of March in terms of triaging them, making a decision on whether there’s important information in them.

‘Because the student notifications are greater than we expected - the London Met position led to a great many notifications coming through - we have created an additional team.’

Immigration Minister Mark Harper told the Committee that revoking London Met’s highly-trusted status had served as ‘a lesson’ to colleges and universities over ‘what would happen if they didn’t meet their sponsorship requirements’.

‘I think perhaps if they weren’t taking that seriously I think they will do now,’ he said.

Mr Whiteman also admitted that the Agency had found a backlog of 50,000 applications from immigrants which have not been entered into the UKBA database.

He said it should be cleared by March.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz asked Mr Whiteman if he could confirm the size of cases for entry to the UK that have been received but not put on the agency’s database.

After hearing the figure was 50,000, Mr Vaz said: ‘You have given me a straight and astonishing number.’

Mr Whiteman said the backlog would be cleared by March.

He said: ‘You must remember we receive one million applications a year. We work on the basis that we want all cases put on the system in a week.’

Last week Home Secretary Theresa May said she wanted to eradicate the abuse of the student visa system and encourage only the ‘brightest and the best’ to come to Britain.


Two thirds of Germans believe immigrants are an 'extra burden' which have caused 'serious problems' for the country

Ulrich Kober said that Germany failed to grasp a culture of welcoming foreigners and overplayed its own attractiveness to immigrants

Ulrich Kober said that Germany failed to grasp a culture of welcoming foreigners and overplayed its own attractiveness to immigrants

Two in three Germans believe immigrants have caused 'serious' problems for the country's social services and schools.

The poll - commissioned by the respected Bertelsmann Foundation think tank - shows two thirds of people say immigrants are an 'extra burden' on the country's social services system.

Two thirds of people quizzed in the survey also believe that incomers are a source of conflict with 'native' Germans and cause problems.

There is a widespread belief that in big cities like Berlin and Duesseldorf, where there are high concentrations of Turkish people, the foreign children 'hold back' natives because of their lack of German skills.

The poll comes after official figures showed immigration had leaped to its highest level in 16 years in 2011.

Almost a million people arrived in Germany, many of them from Spain and Greece as well as the new Eastern European states now in the European Union, such as Poland.

Around 163,000 Poles moved to Germany in 2011 and 41,000 Hungarians.

'Germany underestimated the importance of a culture of welcome and overestimated the attractiveness as a country of immigration,' said Ulrich Kober of the Bertelsmann Foundation which commissioned the study released on Monday.

He fears that Germany, which has a falling birthrate and is desperately in need of skilled workers to drive its export led economy onwards, will continue to be 'shunned because we are not attractive to the skilled immigrants we need.'

Less than half of Germans who took part in the survey were in favour of relaxing immigration rules or allowing immigrants to take dual nationality.

Pollsters Emnid said the anti immigration views were less marked in under 29s.

Nearly three quarters - 70 per cent - said immigration could make Germany more attractive to international investors and believed that it facilitated the placing of international companies in the country.

But almost 90 percent of respondents demanded that immigrants adapt to 'German culture' and seek out a 'good relationship' with the Germans they are living amongst. Fully 96 percent thought that learning German should be made mandatory.

The country could pay a heavy price for its anti-immigration views as its older workforce dies out, concludes the Foundation. 'Highly qualified people from non-EU countries actively avoid moving to Germany,' added Herr Kober.

'Without more social openness, we are not attractive for qualified immigrants, who we badly need to counter the demographic development.'

The poll comes after a new research revealed that Germany's population is set to soar by 2.2 million by 2017 as immigrants from failing EU states try to take advantage of the country's stable economy.

Around 6.93 million people with only foreign citizenship lived in Germany at the end of 2011 - 177,300 more than a year earlier. Federal Statistical Office figures showed that the increase of 2.6 percent was the highest in 15 years.

Currently there are 4.3 million Muslims in Germany, making up 5.4 percent of the population. Most of these are of Turkish origin, the descendants of the 'Gastarbeiter' or guest workers who flooded to the country after WW2 to fill the manpower vacuum left by the conflict.

The vast majority, some 88 percent, of arrivals moved to Germany from other European Union countries.

Rising neo-Nazism and a long-held belief among mostly elder-Germans that their's is not a country for immigrants have contributed to the image abroad of the place being unwelcoming to newcomers.

Two thirds of people quizzed in the survey also believe that incomers are a source of conflict with 'native' Germans and cause problems with schools and the education of their own children.


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