UK Liberty

Identity fraud 3

Posted in ID Cards by ukliberty on June 12, 2007

Part 3 of the series investigating the Government’s current lies claims about the Identity Card scheme.

Let’s have a look at the website.

help combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the UK

Immigration and illegal working

There are an estimated 430,000 illegal migrants living in the UK (source details), and employers currently have no reliable way of establishing whether or not a job applicant has a right to work here.

Funnily enough, this could be at least partially down to the improper (and ineffective) use of existing systems. (also see uncorrected transcript of oral evidence to HAC)

For example, the DWP say National Insurance numbers (NInos) aren’t meant to prove entitlement to work – but in practice they do. Indeed the IND accepts a valid number as partial proof of entitlement. Despite this JobCentre staff issued many thousands of National Insurance numbers without checking immigration status.

Could the low number of successful prosecutions relative to the number of investigations be at least partially due to the employees in question having valid NInos, which would form part of the statutory defence for their employers?

Is why there was a change in the system in July 2006?

Have we given this change sufficient time in order to see what effect, if any, it has had on illegal immigration and working?

The National Identity Scheme will help employers find out about the immigration status of job applicants and about any visa restrictions which mean they cannot legally work in the UK. This will speed up the checking process and could be an advantage to those immigrants who are entitled to work. It could also help to identify people who try to work here illegally and could deter potential illegal immigrants from coming to the UK.

430,000 illegal migrants could be living in the UK.

Source: ‘Sizing the unauthorised (illegal) migrant population in the UK in 2001’, Home Office Research, published 30 June 2005. www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/ind/en/home/news/press_releases/Sizing_the_Unathorised_Migrant_Population.html.

The link doesn’t work. The website Search doesn’t work. Google works!

Of course the document doesn’t tell us ‘the why’, it only attempts to estimate how many there are, as the title says.

The document can be fairly summed up as follows:

As in other countries, the number of ‘unauthorised’ or ‘illegal’ migrants (including failed asylum seekers) in the UK is unknown. However, a number of other countries have tried to develop methodologies to estimate this population. One of the methodologies, the Residual Method used in the USA, is the only one that currently can sensibly be applied in the UK. This report details how that methodology has been adapted to obtain an indication of the number of unauthorised immigrants living in the UK. It must be emphasised that this is just one method for such an estimation and that overreliance must not be placed on the results in the absence of the means to produce other estimates using different methods.

I don’t feel qualified to criticise the methodology.

The Residual Method takes as its starting point the foreign-born population recorded in the UK census conducted in April 2001 and then deducts an estimate of the foreign-born population here legally. The difference is an estimate of the number of unauthorised migrants in the UK.

Using the Residual Method, the unauthorised resident population in the UK in April 2001 has a central estimate of 430,000, and a range (based on taking all the most extreme assumptions discussed in Annex 3) of 310,000 to 570,000. These 430,000 unauthorised immigrants living in the UK in 2001 constituted 0.7 per cent of the total UK population of 59 million.

According to the document there are three categories of illegal migrant:

  • illegal entrants (including clandestine entrants and those using deception on entry by presenting false documents or misleading immigration officials);
  • overstayers (those who have not left the UK after valid leave to remain has expired); and
  • failed asylum seekers who do not comply with instructions to leave the UK, who are not appealing or who have exhausted their rights of appeal (including those who abscond during the process).

It seems clear that the Government is implying the identity card scheme will help us out with all these illegal migrants. We aren’t told how – we have to draw our own conclusions from helpful Government websites and press releases and so on.

We aren’t told how existing systems – such as the issuing of National Insurance numbers – might be used more effectively, and perhaps even more cheaply, than the £5.5bn+ ID card and National Register scheme.

Nor are we told if and how new rules based on the scheme will be enforced.

For instance, why aren’t those refused asylum – the third category in our list – followed up on for deportation?

Well, we were told by Mr Dave Roberts, Director, Enforcement and Removals, IND, that it is not an “effective strategy to be pursuing individuals”.

I can only presume that once the ID card scheme is in place it will become an effective strategy to pursue such individuals… otherwise the scheme won’t make any difference to that third category, will it?

Another point is that many destroy documentation that would entitle them to return to their countries of origin. Presumably the ID card scheme won’t have the power to magically make that documentation reappear, will it?

So with regard to the proportion of the 430,000 that are failed asylum seekers, the ID card scheme doesn’t seem to make any difference.

Presumably much the same can be said of overstayers and illegal entrants.

Furthermore, if we are deporting individuals at a rate of 1000 a month, it’s going to take over 35 years to deport 430,000.

Can we improve on that rate* with the ID card scheme and if so, by how much?

What proportion of £5.5bn+ is all this worth to us?

Now, of course we might be able to make this country a more hostile environment, so

How will the scheme combat illegal working?

The National Identity Scheme will hold information about a foreign national’s entitlement to work. Specifically, it will help employers quickly and easily to check the identity of potential employees and to confirm their right to work in the UK. It will make it easier for employers to comply with Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1996.

Yes, every employer will need a biometric reader, a computer, and access to the Identity Verification Service. What is this going to cost?

Well, it could cost between £250 and £5,000 for one biometric reader alone, according to which Government Regulatory Impact Assessment you read.

ID cards will also make it easier to prove a case against employers who knowingly employ – and often exploit – illegal workers. This is part of longer-term strategic measures to tackle the problems of illegal working.

Yes, other measures – including a ‘crackdown’ – were recently announced.

By the way, between 1999 and 2003 only 23 prosecutions were brought against employers. Between 1998 and 2004 only 8 successful prosecutions against 1098 illegal working operations.
(*twice the rate, 18 years; ten times the rate, 4 years)

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