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Last Update: 20th April 2011

Immigration law in the UK Immigration to the United Kingdom has increased over the years and during the 1920’s immigration to the UK began from the former colonies of the British Empire such as India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Caribbean, and Hong Kong. Others have come as asylum seekers, seeking protection as refugees under the United Nations 1951 convention, illegal migrants, from the European Union member states exercising their treaty rights, and managed migration.

The recent United Nations 1951 Convention states that as the United Kingdom is a signatory to the convention, it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to the place where they would face persecution. This has had an impact on the immigration to the UK as the government policies are aimed to be tough on asylum.

The UK has reported that it has an increase illegal immigration by those who have entered the UK without authority, entered with false documents and overstayed their visas. In an article by David Barrett posted in the Telegraph on 20 February 2010 thousands of illegal immigrants were granted squatters rights to remain in the UK permanently after proving they have lived in the UK for 14 years. The application would be granted on compassionate grounds and taking into account any criminal record of the applicant before deciding whether an illegal immigrant will be allowed to stay. If the immigrant is successful on his/her application, they will be eligible to apply for a British passport and will be allowed access to the welfare system.

Since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, which the UK is a member of, the right to the free movement of people as been codified in the European Union Directive and this has subsequently led to an increase of immigration to the UK from Europe. Immigrants from most parts of Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Malta and Cyprus have established their commonwealth connection. The UK government have tried to cap immigration to the UK from Europe by placing restriction to limit migration from Eastern Europe, especially Romania and Bulgaria.

The UK government also manages immigration to the UK through managed migration, which can be defined as all legal labour and student migration from outside the European Union. This area is managed by the UK Border Agency which is part of the Home Office. Immigration applications to the UK through this method are made at UK embassies or directly through the UK border Agency. The point based immigration system was introduced in 2006 which is composed of five tiers. Recently the UK government has introduced a temporary cap on immigration of those entering the UK from outside the EU.

In conclusion, immigration to the UK has different entry requirements, depending on where the applicant comes from, all of which have very strict entry requirements.

We at Ciasa are national immigration advisers.

Visit our website for more information and to speak to an adviser directly.

© Smita Nagi Ciasa

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