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Legal Pinoys safe from UK crackdown say Philippine Embassy | Immigration Matters

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Manila. GMA News reports that the Philippine Embassy in London has responded fears that undocumented Filipinos in the United Kingdom are targeted by British immigration authorities for arrest and detention.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila on Thursday, the embassy clarified that Filipinos in the UK are “generally law-abiding” and have not been affected by the anti-illegal migrants drive in that country. 

“The target of the campaign involves nationals without appropriate work permits or other documentation, from Eastern European countries outside of the European Union, as well as those from Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa,” the embassy said.

Last May, Migrante International, an overseas Filipino workers’ advocacy group, said Manila needs to act with dispatch in view of the allegedly increasing cases of detention, inhumane treatment and deportation of arrested undocumented workers.

”We call upon the Philippine government and its satellite consulate here to address the needs of its people abroad and play a part in the lobbying efforts for regularization,” Migrante-UK secretary-general Jamima Fagta said.

The Philippine Embassy in Britain said that since 2007, it has proposed to the UK Home Office to conduct regular and official consultations on immigration concerns involving Filipinos.

There are more than 200,000 Filipinos living and working in the UK. Filipinos are often employed there as nurses and caregivers. Source: GMANews.TV. 

Immigration Matters Comment 

The Philippine Embassy in London has a good relationship with the Home Office and British Government. In recent years embassy staff worked closely with the British authorities to secure the rights of Filipino Domestic Workers and Senior Carers affected by changes in the points based system.

The crackdown on illegal immigration and employers hiring illegal workers is not targeted at Filipino’s or for that matter any particular nationality. 

However, the UK Border Agency has employed hundreds of additional officers to carry out raids on employers and stop suspected illegal immigrants at tube stations and public areas. The message they want to convey is that if you are an overstayer and working illegally you do have a far greater chance of being caught and deported that at any time in the past. 

Immigration authorities in the US, Canada and Australia have similar programmes. 

The UK has an estimated 500,000 – 750,000 illegal workers, and leading think tank, ippr, says it would take 20 years and £5 billion to remove them.

The London School of Economics said in a recently published a report that granting amnesty to long-term illegal immigrants in the UK, could add up to £3bn to the economy. The LSE report added that an amnesty would not lead to a rise in migration but would raise spending on welfare services and housing. 

But in the current climate, where a recent ‘Yougov’ poll revealed that immigration is the second most important issue to voter, a full scale amnesty is unlikely. 

Employers are not always fully aware of the range documentation and the process required to check a workers entitlement to work. Indeed, even the Government’s top legal adviser Attorney General Baroness Scotland did not seem to be aware of the law she helped create when she employed an illegal housekeeper. 

In a statement the attorney general’s office said: “[Lady] Scotland has never knowingly employed an illegal immigrant. She hired Ms Tapui in good faith and saw documents which led her to believe that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in this country.

“Ms Tapui lives locally and is understood to be married to a British national. Prior to being hired by Lady Scotland she was in registered employment. She is registered for tax and insurance. 

The fact that someone “lives locally” or is “understood to be married to a British national” has no bearing on whether or not they are legally entitled to work. 

National Insurance number no defence 

Baroness Scotland was part of the Home Office legal team which drafted rules to punish employers with new civil (which means there is a lower burden of proof and therefore easier to impose) penalties for failing to carry out proper checks before employing non EU workers. 

The Home Office said at the time that an employer could not rely on the fact that an overseas worker has a National Insurance number and said that such evidence would not provide a “statutory defence”.  

Related articles: 

Undocumented Filipino’s in UK seek GMA help 

Government Minister ’employed illegal worker’

Illegal workers charged under Identity Card Act

UK Border Agency ‘cleans up’ arresting three illegal immigrants at car wash

Employing illegal migrants could cost you £10,000 per worker 

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