Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lord Green of Deddington tries to eat his cake...

From the Hansard and the Immigration Bill debate in the House of Lords on 20 January 2016 (column 849):


Lord Kennedy of Southwark: The noble Lord referred to the position in most of the European Union where people have to wait for nine months before they can work. Is he saying that he would support a time period of nine months?

Lord Green of Deddington: No. I am saying that we should keep it at 12 months in order that we are not more attractive than other countries on that point.
  
Lord Kennedy of Southwark: Amendment 134A in the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, says that asylum seekers should get permission to work after 12 months as a right. Would the noble Lord support that amendment?
  
Lord Green of Deddington: The short answer is no.


So there you have it. He agrees 'we should keep it at 12 months', but won't support the amendment when he is reminded it will keep it at 12 months.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Donald Trump boycotts Fox News TV debate - my interview with TRT World


UnpubTimesLetters #10


Sir,

I am confused by David Cameron’s latest migration gimmick. He slashed funding support for English learning in 2011 and 2015 by about £45m, but now offers £20m. There is less money since 2010 to help those with language difficulties and fewer people will have access to it. English tests at 2.5 years is still not as early as under Labour. Doing too little and often too late best summarises his government’s migration policies at home or abroad. This is but the latest example.

THOM BROOKS
 
19 January 2016

UnpubTimesLetters #9


Sir,

As a migrant and naturalised UK citizen, I found much good sense in David Aaronovitch’s call for migrants to ‘live by our values’ (Jan 14). It’s time we had a national conversation about what are our elusive ‘British values’ – and more importantly how they should be confirmed, such as through much needed reform of the UK citizenship test or visa guidelines. Such change is long overdue and urgently needed.  

PROFESSOR THOM BROOKS


14 January 2016

UnpubTimesLetters #8


Sir, Theresa May laments mass immigration for weakening social cohesion. She overlooks the fact we’ve seen record net migration on her watch after five years as Home Secretary. In 2010 one of her first decisions was to scrap the Migration Impacts Fund to help relieve pressure on public services. This is a decision she should now reverse.

In the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, Enoch Powell said students ‘are not, and have been, immigrants’. When a Home Secretary shifts to the right of Powell, something has gone very wrong. It was not unnoticed that David Cameron missed the speech, but arrived for Boris Johnson. A change from one to the other beckons?

THOM BROOKS

6 October 2015

Friday, January 29, 2016

How the Government set us on the road that led to the red doors of Middlesbrough

. . . is my new piece out today in The Journal READ HERE.

PMQs: David Cameron must apologise for his 'bunch of migrants' comment - it's not US vs THEM

. . . written for the International Business Times READ HERE.

Some background: I was sitting in the public gallery of the House of Commons when the IB Times asked for a piece. I had been on Twitter arguing that PM David Cameron should not have used the phrase "a bunch of migrants" and they got in touch with me quickly.

However, bags are not permitted in the public gallery and so I could not use my laptop unless I left. So I wrote the piece...on my iPhone. A first experience. Probably won't be the last.

UnpubTimesLetter #7


Sir,

Daniel Finkelstein has helpful comments on 'what we really think about migrants'. However, one of them is confusing migrants together with refugees. There is a difference between the obligation of affluent countries like the UK to refugees versus economic migrants. I speak from personal experience as someone who came to work and broadly welcomed. A continuing problem with immigration policy today is too few know about it or know someone who has done it recently. There are two sides to any successful integration strategy, but we'll always come up short if continuing to listen to only one side. I hope the Prime Minister takes note.


THOM BROOKS

23 September 2015

UnpubTimesletter #6


Sir,

Melanie Phillips is wrong to claim Britain should close its doors to refugees fleeing civil war and persecution. She thinks it matters that many might be Muslim and confuses positive net migration with refugees when they are a small part of it. She writes from the safe enclave of her study without knowledge or experience of being a migrant or refugee. If she's worried about sending signals, she could start by rethinking her ill informed and judged remarks.

 

THOM BROOKS


10 September 2015

Interview with Thom Brooks about Obama touts legacy in last State of the Union - TRT World


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

And in the Northern Echo on asylum seekers and red doors in Middlesbrough...

Details here.

Quoted in the Guardian - G4S bosses admit number of asylum seeker homes with red doors 'too high'

A shocking story - READ MORE

UnpubTimesLetters #5


Sir,

Theresa May's comments should be met with alarm. The Calais crisis continues for over a year, but she only manages to visit it last week. She claims she's worried about 'the largest movement of people since the Second World War' so plans to 'break the link' for students coming to learn and contribute as graduates. This will do nothing to deter desperate refugees seeking asylum. She applauds the £50m gained through the new health surcharge, but forgets it was meant to earn £200m per year so another target missed. May is out of touch and possibly out of her depth.

Professor Thom Brooks

31 August 2015

#UnpubTimesLetters

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thom Brooks interviewed by Andrew Marr

. . . in tomorrow morning's programme 'Start the Week' on BBC Radio 4 on topic "Migration and Citizenship", including discussion of my new book Becoming British.

From the BBC:

On Start the Week Andrew Marr explores the question of citizenship. While immigration issues dominate political debate, little attention is paid to the big increase in the number of people becoming British. The academic Thom Brooks and the Eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan look at the relationship between the two and the challenges for modern UK citizenship. Ben Rawlence spent four years reporting the stories of those who are stateless, living in the largest refugee camp in the world, while Frances Stonor Saunders explores the increasing complexity of today's border regimes and the obsession with the verified self.
Producer: Katy Hickman.


Link HERE.

UnpubTimes Letter #4


Sir,

The government’s policy on the Calais migrant crisis can be summed up as ‘too little, too late’ in reaction to a problem that has continued for some time. Instead of blaming France and lorry drivers, perhaps it is time the government took greater responsibility for securing Britain’s borders. Sniffer dogs and a higher fence offer no more than a temporary sticking plaster. Fundamental reforms at the EU level are required urgently.

Professor Thom Brooks

6 August 2015

Thursday, January 21, 2016

PETITION: End the use of forms to reporting ex-partners to the Home Office for deportation

DIRECT LINK

Heading

End the use of forms to reporting ex-partners to the Home Office for deportation

Background

The current forms are unfit for purpose and unworkable:
1. They do not ask for contact details making it impossible to check claims or locate person reported.
2. They do not say where they should be sent.
3. They risk being used by abusers to threaten spouses putting vulnerable people at risk.

Additional information

Home Office forms can be downloaded here-
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inform-ukvi-of-a-relationship-breakdown-statement-and-consent-form
The Independent raises concerns here-
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-helping-abusive-partners-by-producing-forms-making-it-easier-to-threaten-spouses-with-a6802966.html
Further info by Professor Thom Brooks (Durham University)-
http://the-brooks-blog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/press-release-failed-relationships-with.html

DIRECT LINK - PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE

UnpubTimesLetter #3


Sir,

The UK citizenship test was designed originally to foster integration. I published the only comprehensive report on the test finding it “like a bad pub quiz”. There is no mention in the test about how to contact emergency services, report a crime or register with a GP and none of the 12 recommendations I made have been adopted by the Government. Cameron should revise it urgently and require it is sat in schools to promote citizenship better.

Professor Thom Brooks

21 July 2015

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

UnpubTimesLetters #2


Sir,

Labour's road to recovery is the path to winning over the wider public. An inward-looking party satisfied with losing elections on principle may disappear in a generation.

PROFESSOR THOM BROOKS

14 July 2015

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Washington Times runs op-ed on British immigration peddling nonsense

At the Washington Times, they ran a column by Robert Merry about British immigration. His piece peddles a number of claims about how immigration works - and I tried to correct this in a letter to them:

Dear Editor,

Robert Merry claims Tony Blair's Labour government "eliminated nearly all previous restrictions on immigration" in support of an open border policy, in raising points made by Benjamin Schwartz in Mr. Merry's magazine. As an English law professor specialising in immigration, this so-called "scholarly" analysis is anything but that. There has never been such an open border policy - not even for European citizens. Blair is credited by the current Conservative government for greatly expanding regulations - some say too much and too fast - introducing citizenship tests and ceremonies in addition to hundreds of pages of new secondary legislation covering residency, English language, good character and much more. If there is fault, it is not where Mr. Merry claims.

Yours sincerely,
 
Prof Thom Brooks
Durham, UK

I also offered to write a longer op-ed - as I was keen to correct the problems I had with Mr. Merry's account.

Sadly, the Washington Times were merry enough to not let their readers know there are flaws with his analysis. So I've reproduced it here. You can read Merry's original post here.

#UnpubTimes Letters #1


Sir,

Tory PCC Nick Alston says bobbies on the beat are outdated. He should know about being outdated: in only a few years, the Tory government finds PCCs like him outdated too as their powers are to be transferred to regional mayors.

PROFESSOR THOM BROOKS
 
17 July 2015

Letters to the Times - the #UnpubTimesLetters

I have occasionally submitted letters to the editor at the London-based The Times. Undoubtedly, some are better to the others. But - to date - not one has been published. I have had success in other papers like The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph and my work on citizenship and immigration has been picked up by all leading UK papers including The Times.

So I thought it would be interesting to post on occasion my letters to the Times that didn't make it in - and save them from the graveyard of my sent email folder.

#UnpubTimesLetters

Friday, January 15, 2016

Interview with Thom Brooks about Obama touts legacy in last State of the Union (TV interview)



Live interview with TRT World

The Politics of None of the Above

(NOTE: I regularly post comments about new blogposts or columns appearing elsewhere like ones I've written for the New Statesman, LabourList, The Journal newspaper or others. But once again I would like to post something that I have not published elsewhere - you saw it here first!)

There have been many political surprises over the last few years. Each is characterised by a rejection of politics as usual and the status quo. From the SNP and UKIP to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election, voters from all sides of the political spectrum are giving their support for something different – if not something new – voicing a shred frustration with perceived Westminster elites.

I write from the United States where I’m a visiting fellow at Yale University during my research leave from my institutional home of Durham University. American politics has for a long time seen successive campaigns targeting career politicians and the so-called Washington, DC establishment. To be successful is to be seen as an alternative.
Witness the surprising lasting power of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Trump is many things to different people, but standard politician he is not and so there is a part of the electorate that continues to provide strong support for this most unlikely of candidates.
This anti-‘the Consensus’ politics has now landed in Britain. Like most movements, it is built on myths taken by its adherents as obvious truths.
The first myth is that elected politicians are all the same no matter their different political parties. This can sometimes involve some near unbelievable comparisons. Drafting and defending cuts to public provision supporting a social safety net is rather different from agnosticism or opposition. What the majority in Parliament wants, they get. Saying no always and everywhere to anything the government does could make some feel better about their virtuous pedigree, but coming second – and losing – most votes for five years at a stretch is a winding path of despair pleasing only the career protestor – and even they can lose interest fast.
The myth that all Westminster politicians are alike is a nonsense. There is a gulf the size of a solar system that divides most Tory MPs from Labour and Lib Dem MPs on education, health, and the economy – and that’s before we account for differences in policies among party leadership. To reduce all MPs to a single issue or vote – like a welfare bill or the Iraq War – makes a simple narrative that may fit preconceived ideological views. But so often what is simple is simply a distortion of the greater complexity that is life and no less political life in Westminster.
The second myth is that politics in the capital need a redeemer that can play the role of political saviour. Someone who can cast out the vices and reassert the virtues.
But this gets wildly wrong what any one person can usually achieve as leader. Individuals can make for powerful figureheads, but organisations are composed of more than just that person. Such aspirations – if only there was the one right person, then everything else can or should fall into place – not only puts unrealistic pressure of expectations on the anointed one but they can also so easily lead to disappointment. Politics affords little time for hearts and minds to be won over.
These myths are especially powerful for the opposition as they campaign for change – or at least a change in which party has political power. It is no less existent in the US among the Republicans than in the UK among my fellow Labour Party members and supporters.
But I think there are also so cautionary tales worth telling. The first is that leadership campaigns are about choosing a party’s direction of travel – and this is now over. The new politics has arrived. Jeremy Corbyn has chosen his shadow cabinet and having his opportunities to set out his position – as is his right. To be clear, I support whoever is the leader of the Labour Party. The leadership contest is now done and dusted. Corbyn is our leader and I’m ready to assist his team however possible.
There are some among us who are a bit too oversensitive to any criticism the leadership receives. First it must be recognised that the ability to question and debate issues is at the very heart of Corbyn’s new politics. To ask for clarity is not to be disloyal – this is the democratic opening up of policy making that Corbyn’s supporters campaigned for. The politics of consensus is not a politics of unanimity, but of majority where we do not walk in lock step. Think coalitions of the willing issue by issue and not articles of faith.
Secondly it the campaign to win over the party cannot be the only aim. Labour must perform better in future contests. It was widely reported that many members supported Corbyn’s rise because they wanted a ‘real opposition’ and didn’t care much for electability. This certainly wasn’t true for many of his supporters I spoke with who are all about winning the next general election.
But the new poll out by YouGov reported by LabourList provides serious cause for reflection. I am not suggesting that party members are wrong to think Corbyn is doing well as leader – from the dire predictions that greeted his selection, he has done remarkably well in that regard.
And yet it is deeply concerning that the perception of our leader – and perhaps about politics – by Labour members is drifting away from where the public is. Note that if the public doesn’t support us, Labour will not win back power.
The easier road to victory is to move the party to the political centre – which every strategist will remind you is a moving target – where a majority of voters are found. The more difficult path to power is to move the public to where the party is – because this means not only winning over hearts and minds, but changing them.
What next? We can begin by burying the myths. Westminster is not Corbynistas versus The Others. It is much more complex than that – and the larger the coalitions within Parliament we can build then the more effective our opposition can become. Witness the success of Labour Peers for an instructive guide to how this can work and work well. Let’s also not hoist unrealistic expectations on our leaders and party for what can be achieved in the short-term. Voters are to be won over – no party is entitled to their votes. Even if the most progressive voice fighting for a Britain the public needs desperately. This is where the veterans on the doorstep are needed every bit as much as our welcome new members to get word out and win the public back.
Finally, I would be very wary about straying too far from where the voters. If the party wants to move left, it must get the public to move left with it. The voter is never wrong – he or she also chooses whoever is preferred. I’d caution against going too far too quickly because it only makes the task of winning over voters more difficult. Either way, alienating voters is a losing strategy. There is more work for all of us to do whatever our individual takes are on the big issues to get Labour into office again. I’m up for the challenge, but a challenge it is – so let’s act now because the next election is much closer than it appears.
Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government at Durham University, Visiting Fellow at Yale University’s Law School, columnist for Newcastle’s The Journal and Communications Lead for Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson @thom_brooks

Thursday, January 14, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Government wrong about border security, says Durham academic


Government wrong about border security, says Durham academic

For immediate release – Thursday, 14 January 2016

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

A Durham University academic accused the government of attempting to mislead the public about border checks. In reply to a Parliamentary question from DUP MP Jim Shannon, the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire claimed the UK carries out ‘full checks on all arriving passengers in order to identify any criminal, security and immigration concerns’ in a written statement on Wednesday.
 
Professor Thom Brooks, a leading immigration law specialist at Durham University’s Law School, argues that the government’s reply is not correct. Professor Brooks said: ‘It is simply untrue that “full checks” are made on every person who arrives in the UK from another country to our airports’.

The UK is part of a Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. While the Republic of Ireland conducts passport checks of passengers coming to Irish airports, Britain does not reciprocate with passport checks at its airports. Arriving passengers typically walk straight to baggage collection and the exit without passing through any border control checks on the ground.

Professor Brooks does not argue the Common Travel Area should end, but he does urge the Immigration Minister to set the record straight by correcting his inaccurate response on border security to Mr Shannon.

‘There is no good reason why the UK cannot conduct checks at all ports like the Irish’, said Brooks, who is an immigrant earning British citizenship in 2011. ‘This minor inconvenience for passengers could improve border security and make checks across the travel area more consistent’.

ENDS

MEDIA INFORMATION

NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.

Interviews 

Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on Thursday, January 14, and Friday, January 15, 2015, or thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk

Alternatively please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

To request and check the availability of interviewees please contact the Durham University Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075 or email media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.

Photographs

A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

Further reading

Correspondence between Jim Shannon MP (DUP) and James Brokenshire MP (Tory) Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration), ‘Criminal Records: EU Nationals’, HC Deb, 13 January 2016, cW - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2016-01-05.21033.h&s=immigration#g21033.r0

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education

-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities

-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students

-          Ranked in the world top 25 for the employability of its students by blue-chip companies world-wide (QS World University Rankings 2014/15)

-          In the global top 50 for Arts and Humanities (THE World University Rankings 2013/14)

-          In the 2015 Complete University Guide, Durham was the only UK university to receive a top ten ranking for all of its subjects and 19 of Durham’s 22 subjects were ranked in the top five.

-          Durham was named as The Times and Sunday Times 'Sports University of the Year 2015' in recognition of outstanding performance in both the research and teaching of sport, and student and community participation in sport at all levels. 

END OF MEDIA RELEASE

Many thanks to Teesside University

Many thanks to Dr Anqi Shen of the Social Futures Institute at Teesside University for inviting me to give a public lecture on rehabilitating restorative justice yesterday - great discussion with colleagues there and enjoyable event.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Donald Trump praises North Korea's dictator as a leader who is "amazing" and "incredible" - for executing his opponents to show the public who's boss

When you praise North Korea's brutal dictator as "pretty amazing" and we "got to give him credit" for the leadership he's shown in executing any and all opponents...words escape me.

Don't believe me? READ THIS.

Appearing on "The Week" - and laying into the Home Office and the government




Letting rip at Home Office's new policy making it easier for abusers to threaten their partners with deportation - on Made in Tyne & Wear's "The Week" series 9, episode 5, part 4 -- http://www.madeintyneandwear.tv/programme/the-week/

Saturday, January 09, 2016

My research exposing Home Office policy of wanting citizens to report ex-lovers makes several newspapers

. . . including The Independent and The Daily Mail.

The original press release:


Failed relationships with migrants to be exposed in ‘public statements’


For immediate release – Tuesday, 14 December 2015

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The Home Office has published new documents aimed at exposing the broken relationships with migrants. A new form available online invites anyone who is no longer living with a migrant as a spouse or partner to insert their names and submit to ‘give my permission for the Home Office to use the information referred to’.

Professor Thom Brooks of Durham University, a leading authority on immigration law and policy, says: ‘the government is taking clear aim at bogus marriages that allow migrants to reside in the country on a false basis. Ministers will hope that more estranged people come forward to inform the Home Office to improve their detection of anyone overstaying their visa – but they have not thought this through’.

According to the latest International Passenger Survey, there were 45,000 non-EU nationals immigrated long-term to the UK to accompany or join others with the intention of residing one year or more over the past 12 months. This is a decrease from 53,000 over the previous year.

Spouses or partners can be permitted to stay and work in the UK to EEA citizens because of EU free movement rules. However, they may have to leave the country when their relationship breaks down.

It is feared by some experts that the new online form may do more harm than good. Professor Brooks says: ‘The government’s “public statement” form seems directed more towards looking tough for the public than taking appropriate action. The public will wonder why a form meant to help the Home Office identify potential visa overstayers that it asks only for names, but not addresses or mobile numbers so statements can be checked and verified’.

Professor Brooks is concerned that the form is more useful as a threat that may intimidate non-European citizens into remaining in relationships they wish to leave for fear of removal from the country leading to potential abuses.

He says: ‘If the Home Office wants to identify relationships no longer subsisting, it can begin by checking the courts for divorce announcements. Ministers would do better to use common sense and raise their game by becoming more knowledgeable about the system works – before making yet another policy change that well make necessary detection more difficult’.   

ENDS
 
 
 
NOTE:
 
1. Nowhere to state the contact details (address, email, mobile, etc) for the person making the submission
 
2. Nowhere to state the contact details (address, email, mobile, etc) for the person identified as the migrant 'estranged spouse partner'
 
3. No contact details for where this signed and dated form should be sent - no address, email, fax, etc.
 
4. Erm, that's it. Major fail.

MEDIA INFORMATION


NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.

Interviews 

Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on Tuesday, December 15 (in Durham), and Wednesday, December 16, 2015 (in Westminster) thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk

Alternatively please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*
Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

To request and check the availability of interviewees please contact the Durham University Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075 or email media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.

Photographs

A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

Further reading

Home Office guidance, ‘Inform UKVI of a relationship breakdown: statement and consent form’, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inform-ukvi-of-a-relationship-breakdown-statement-and-consent-form

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website https://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?id=11140


UPDATE: I am delighted to see this press release has been covered by The Independent and The Daily Mail.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Syrian starvation: Is there any hope left?

I spoke on this programme for Al Jazeera TV yesterday - WATCH HERE.

Their blurb:

"As the war in Syria enters its fifth year - with no signs of the fighting coming to an end - millions are struggling to survive.

This week a series of strong storms blanketed much of the country in snow. Syrians living in towns and villages - besieged by government forces and their allies - are facing starvation.

The blockade of the town of Madaya near the Lebanese border, in particular, has become a focal issue for Syrian opposition leaders.

They told the United Nations envoy this week they won't take part in talks with the government until the siege there and in other areas is lifted.

So, what can be done to help the millions of desperate Syrians?

Presenter: Richelle Carey
Guests:

Melissa Fleming - Spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Thom Brooks - Law Professor at Durham University in the UK, specialising in Immigration.

Dibeh Fakhr - Public Relations Officer and Spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Near and Middle East division. "

SEE THE VIDEO

Brilliant news - Sir Keir Starmer QC to launch national tour developing fair and principled migration policy

. . . as the Tory government's immigration strategy is a dog's dinner and utter shambles. Further details here.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Breaking up is hard to do – especially when you have to fill out a government form

Thom Brooks, Durham University
The British government has published documents for people to use to report the end of a relationship to immigration services.
When your relationship breaks down you are expected to use these forms to confirm that it’s over and give the name of your partner to the government. They ask you to declare that you “do not live with them” and “do not intend to live with them” in the future. These forms ask for the names of who is confirming the break-up and the estranged spouse or partner. These are then to be filed with the Home Office.
The purpose of all this is to provide information to UK Visas and Immigration, the Home Office department in charge of managing deportations. Spousal visas can become invalid when the holder’s relationship with a British citizen ends. The new form appears designed to help identify individuals overstaying their visas.

Message in a bottle

According to the latest International Passenger Survey, 45,000 non-EU nationals migrated long-term to the UK to accompany or join others with the intention of residing one year or more over the past 12 months. This is a decrease from 53,000 in the previous year.
The Home Office’s new forms take a clear aim at exposing bogus marriages but the government no doubt hopes that more estranged people will come forward to inform the Home Office when their real relationships end.
The problem is that the government has not thought this through. The flaws in these forms are startling. For one thing, they fail to ask for the contact details of the person submitting the form. Any submitted statement cannot be verified before it is investigated.
That form, in full. Home Office

But there is more. The forms don’t ask for the estranged partner’s contact details or nationality either. This makes their discovery and potential removal all but impossible. Without an address, phone number or email account, these new forms are all but meaningless.
And it gets worse. The Home Office also appears to have forgotten to note where the form should be submitted. It provides no address, email or fax number leaving completed forms with nowhere to go. In my many years of working in immigration policy, I have never seen such a shambles before.

Worse than useless

So why do this at all? These forms seem directed more towards looking tough than being effective. The public will wonder why the Home Office produced a form that no one can use – and that can be sent nowhere.
Usually such forms are accompanied by a press release to help communicate new measures introduced by the government. But remarkably, the Home Office appears to have forgotten to produce one. It’s almost as if it did not want the public to know about this new measure aimed at getting the public to rat out their ex-lovers.
And really, this form should never have been released in the first place. There will rightly be concerns that it could be used to intimidate non-European citizens into remaining in relationships they wish to leave for fear of removal from the country. This could make these forms more a tool for abuse than the public good.
If the Home Office wants to identify terminated relationships, it can begin by checking the courts for divorce announcements for a start. Ministers would do better to use common sense and raise their game by becoming more knowledgeable about how the system works before making yet another policy change that may well make necessary detection more difficult. This isn’t rocket science. But it is people’s lives, and the public deserves better.
The Conversation
Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, Durham University
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Breaking up is hard to do – especially when you have to fill out a government form

. . . is my latest piece for The Conversation that can be READ HERE.


 It begins:

"The British government has published documents for people to use to report the end of a relationship to immigration services.

When your relationship breaks down you are expected to use these forms to confirm that it’s over and give the name of your partner to the government. They ask you to declare that you “do not live with them” and “do not intend to live with them” in the future. These forms ask for the names of who is confirming the break-up and the estranged spouse or partner. These are then to be filed with the Home Office."

READ MORE

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The Best of The Brooks Blog - 2015

Happy New Year! Many thanks for reading The Brooks Blog. Another busy year awaits with much blogging ahead - a major focus will be on significant changes in UK higher education arising from the forthcoming 'TEF' (Teaching Excellence Framework) and the EU Referendum.

My highlights for 2015 are:

January

Birmingham (UK) on Fox News

February

Inaugural lecture - "Why Hegel Matters" (video)

March

New migrant 'health surcharge' an election stunt full of loopholes

English language requirements for migrants inadequate

April

Thom Brooks & Martha C. Nussbaum (eds), Rawls's Political Liberalism

Phil Wilson launches his re-election campaign

May

I was right about the 2015 General Election results

June

New migrant guide is 'unfit for purpose'

July

Boris Becker faces new test match for UK citizenship

Three reasons why Bloomberg won't run for London mayor

August

My thoughts on the Calais migrant crisis

Honoured to be included in Debrett's People of Today

Labour leadership contest - my thoughts

Chaos in Kos (video)

September

Durham academic wins EU referendum change

On BBC 2 Newsnight from Labour Party annual conference (video)

October

The hypocrisy of Theresa May - in a letter

Political Theory and Its Impact -- Special Issue of Political Studies Review

November

I'm visiting at Yale Law School this semester

The friends that Jeremy Corbyn never knew he had

December

Failed relationships with migrants to be exposed in ‘public statements’