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Immigration Minister announces crackdown on sham marriages and bogus colleges | Immigration Matters

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Immigration Minister Damian Green has confirmed plans for a high-profile crackdown on sham marriages and bogus colleges – and promised “radical changes” to the UK Border Agency.

He said the Government was determined to send out a signal the Britain was no longer a soft touch for those with no right to come to the UK.

And he defended the controversial policy of returning detainees to Iraq on charter flights.

Mr Green also defended payments of up to £4,000 to those in Calais seeking to cross the Channel illegally as the “least worst option”.

The minister told MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee: “Britain has been seen as something of a soft touch. One of the drivers of the new Government’s immigration policy is to send a message around the world that Britain is no longer a soft touch.”

He went on: “We are going to do a lot of enforcement over the next few months on sham marriages, bogus colleges, illegal work.

“I think it’s very important that we not only clamp down on all that but clamp down very publicly. It’s all part of sending a message.”

On flights to Iraq, Mr Green told MPs: “I am absolutely unrepentant about returning people who have no right to be in this country to Iraq.”

He told the committee he had continued the previous government’s policy of offering cash payments to those in Calais hoping to smuggle themselves into the UK.

“It looks unpalatable but it is the least worst option,” he said. “That’s much better for the taxpayer.”

Source: Press Association

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