Immigration in Europe — страница 10

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frequently print headlines about an "immigration crisis". This is denounced by those seeking to ensure that the UK upholds it international obligations as disproportionate. Critics suggest that much of the opposition to high levels of immigration by refugees is based on racism. Concern is also raised about the treatment of those held in detention and the practice of dawn raiding families, and holding young children in immigration detention centers for long periods of time. However, critics of the UK's asylum policy often point out the "safe third country rule" - the international agreement that asylum seekers must apply in the first free nation they reach, not go "asylum shopping" for the nation they prefer. EU courts have upheld this policy. Since

the UK is geographically much further removed from any third world nation than most other European countries, many assume that asylum seekers in the UK choose it out of preference rather than absolute necessity. In February 2003, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised on television to reduce the number of asylum seekers by half within 7 months, apparently catching unawares the members of his own government with responsibility for immigration policy. David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, called the promise an objective rather than a target. It was met according to official figures, despite increase world instability caused by the Iraq War. There is also a Public Performance Target to remove more asylum seekers who have been judged not to be refugees under the international

definition than new anticipated unfounded applications. This target was met early in 2006. Official figures for numbers of people claiming asylum in the UK were at a 13 year low by March 2006. Opponents of the government's policies on asylum seekers and refugees, such as Migration Watch UK and some newspapers are critical of the way official figures are calculated. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have argued that the government's new policies, particularly those concerning detention centers, have detrimental effects on asylum applicants and those facilities have seen a number of hunger strikes and suicides. Others have argued that recent government policies aimed at reducing 'bogus' asylum claims have had detrimental impacts on those genuinely in need of

protection. Illegal immigration Illegal (sometimes termed irregular) immigrants in the UK include those who have: entered the UK without authority entered with false documents overstayed their visas Although it is difficult to know how many people reside in the UK illegally, a Home Office study released in March 2005 estimated a population of between 310,000 and 570,000. Migration Watch UK has criticised the Home Office figures for not including the UK-born dependent children of unauthorised migrants. They suggest the Home Office has underestimated the numbers of unauthorised migrants by between 15,000 and 85,000. In the past the UK government has stated that the figures Migration Watch produces should be treated with considerable caution. A recent study into irregular

immigration states that "most irregular migrants have committed administrative offences rather than a serious crime". Jack Dromey, Deputy General of the Transport and General Workers Union and Labour Party treasurer, suggested in May 2006 that there could be around 500,000 illegal workers. He called for a public debate on whether an amnesty should be considered. David Blunkett has suggested that this might be done once the identity card scheme is rolled out. London Citizens, a coalition of community organisations, is running a regularisation campaign called Strangers into Citizens, backed by figures including the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, the Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Legal advice Although the guidance notes and numerous online resources

are available to help out people applying for immigration to United Kingdom, one can also seek legal advice for this matter. The guidelines to the immigration programs states that immigration advisers should fulfill the requirements of good practice. An independent public body set up under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 named The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) maintains and publishes the register of advisers. Legal advisers for these applications are required to provide their full details along with the OISC number with each application. A complete list of OISC immigration advisers can be found on their website. 2.5. Greece Greece is largely an ethnically homogeneous state, and throughout the early period of its modern history it experienced