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Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Political Minefield 

Immigration in the UK: a political minefield

Immigration has turned into a political minefield in the UK. The government is introducing all sorts of laws to stem the inflow of illegal immigrants, unfortunately as the Home office found out this week, some of the tough new laws breach human rights.

Sham marriage law breaches rights
Tough government rules to prevent sham marriages discriminate against immigrants, the High Court has ruled. In a significant defeat for the government, Mr Justice Silber said the rules were unreasonable and breached human rights.
Campaigners said the law was discriminatory because it effectively labelled some immigrants as fraudsters.
The judge gave leave to appeal - but the Home Office has partially suspended the rules while it considers its case.
The rules, introduced in February 2005, mean people born outside the EU and some bordering European nations who have only six months' permission to be in the UK must seek special permission from the Home Office to marry, irrespective of the status of their partner.

Another story that caught my attention.

Ship's stowaways 'facing death'
A group of suspected illegal immigrants who had been in a container for nearly three weeks were "saved from death" by sharp-eared dock workers.
The four men were found at Tilbury Docks in Essex after the container was unloaded from a ship.
Essex Ambulance Service said the four were in squalid conditions and three found to be badly malnourished.
The container was to be stored and an ambulance spokesman said they could have died if they had not been heard.
Dockers were alerted to the plight of the men when they heard cries from inside a container.
Ambulance service manager, Steve Brant, said: "We understand the container had come from Nigeria and was due to stand in Tilbury for a period before being shipped out to Amsterdam.

Initially i thought they were escaping from some war ravaged country, so imagine my surprise (or shock?) that they were from Nigeria. Now, i understand things are tough over there but trying to get in to the UK this way is definitely not worth the risk. They would have died if no one found them.

which brings me to the drama i was talking about in a previous entry . I've never had any personal experience of the humiliation a lot of Nigerians go through while applying for an entry visa to the UK (since i was born here).
My baby sister has been a university student here in the UK for the past few years. She came in to the UK on a student visa and decided to apply for a working holiday visa when she finished her course last month.
The rules state you have to return to your home country to apply for any change to your existing visa. So she returned to Nigeria and applied to the British High Commission.
Her application was declined (to use their parlance)

I'm aware the UK government is trying to discourage illegal immigration, but when you tell people to follow the rules, you can't then turn around and change those rules or come up with ridiculous reasons to try and get round them.
My sister's application was turned down based on the entry officers' view that she may not return to Nigeria when her visa runs out. This was complete bullshit as she returned to Nigeria to reapply for the visa when she could have stayed in the UK and extended her student visa.
what happened to the British concept of fair play ?

I was livid, and when i'm in such a mood i do what i do best, so i fired off a series of letters to the High Commission and the Foreign office. Hell i'm not going down like that, I'm one Nigerian who knows how to fight.
Luckily, it seems they realised their mistake and called her back a few days later to give her the visa. (I should have pressed for an apology but i thought i'll be pushing my luck)

But i'm still mad, i think its an outrage the way they treat Nigerians and i can only blame the spineless government we have. A government that seems incapable of protecting the rights of its citizens. Last year when the UK government introduced restrictions on Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 30, our government did nothing about it.
I expected the Nigerian government to retaliate by introducing tough measures against British nationals, especially the expatriate workers in the oil industry.

Some may argue that retaliatory actions against British interests/nationals may be counter productive, i say fuck that. Like Jimmy Cliff sang in the 'Harder they come' 'I'd rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave'
During Abacha's rule when the British government banned Nigeria airways from flying to the UK, Abacha did the same to British Airways. BA was begging and lobbying the British government to rescind the ban as it was losing a lot of money.

Nigeria will definitely regain its lost glory and we'll never forget the way our "commonwealth friends" treated us.

Quote: 'The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.' - anon

get involved by sponsoring an African child today:

posted by ijebuman  # 1:01 pm
I've recently been thinking through the whole issue of Immigration since George Dubya is talking about it in the states and its been used as the argument for the BNP's successes in East London. All you really need to do is speak to people in deprived neighbourhoods in the UK to see the level of resentment the 'natives' have for recent immigrants. What I find interesting having some of these conversations is how a person who has claimed govt benefits for over ten years (ostensibly to be able to sit at home to bring up her children) is able to complain about immigrants coming into 'our' country to claim 'our' benefits?
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