Nine visa overstayers in Crawley, near Gatwick airport, have been arrested in UK Border Agency (UKBA) raids earlier this month.
Border agency officers, acting on intelligence or a possible tip-off, raided a number of residential addresses on Thursday 8 November and Friday 9 November.
The agency has been busy with a nationwide operation to crackdown on migrants and international students who have over-stayed their visas.
The Government have appointed a private firm to help track down overstayers.
The UKBA released the following details of the arrests in the Gatwick area:
- The Rise, Pound Hill, was visited at 5.30am on Thursday and a 25-year-old Pakistani male who had overstayed his visa was arrested
- Pine Close, Langley Green, was visited at 6am on Thursday and a 21-year-old Indian male visa overstayer was arrested.
- Glebe Close, Northgate, was visited at 6:00 on Thursday, 3 arrested. Indian men aged 26 and 36 had both submitted false documents for their previous visa applications and a 47-year-old Filipino man was working in breach of his visa conditions.
- Colwyn Close, Bewbush, was visited at 6:45 on Friday and a 28-year-old Indian woman who had overstayed her visa was arrested.
- Southgate Parade was visited at 7:15 on Friday. A 35-year-old Pakistani man had overstayed his visa, a 23-year-old Sri Lankan man was found to be a failed asylum seeker and a 40-year-old Pakistani man was working in breach of his visa conditions. All 3 were arrested.
Those arrested were taken to immigration detention centres where steps were taken to remove them from the country at the earliest opportunity.
People in detention should be given 72 hours in which to take legal advice or appeal.
UKBA officers also visited an address in Latimer Close, Langley Green, at 5:45 on Thursday where they found a 57-year-old Indian man who had overstayed his visa. He left the UK voluntarily on Monday 12 November.
Timothy Reichardt, UK Border Agency said:
‘Our officers carry out raids like this across Sussex almost every day.
‘We continue to gather intelligence about people who remain in the UK in breach of their visa conditions and we are taking action against those not entitled to be here.
‘My message to those who have no right to be in the UK is that you must leave the country. If you refuse, we will enforce your removal.’
If you are removed you will be automatically banned from returning to the UK for up to 10 years.
However, the ban doe not apply if you are returning to join a spouse.
Cynthia Barker of immigration advisers Bison UK is worried that people who are detained are often intimidated by the experience and feel rushed into leaving voluntarily or are scared to seek legal advice.
“Some clients have left voluntarily when they had a right to appeal or stay in the UK, for instance because they are in a relationship and have children.
“Even overstayers can avoid removal if they have an EEA partner. In a recent case we managed to pull one of our overstaying student clients off a deportation flight ten minutes before take off because he was in a genuine relationship, and therefore a human right to a family life under article 8, with his Eastern European girlfriend.”
Cynthia advises clients to always carry contact details for their immigration adviser or lawyer, as you never know when you might need them in an emergency.
If you have been detained and need advice, you can reach Bison UK on 0800 133 7329 or call Tony on 07950 458 464.
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Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit the UK Border agency’s Preventing illegal working pages, or they can call the agency’s employers helpline on 0300 123 4699
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