Immigration minister Liam Byrne has concealed what looks like further ID card slippage and set himself a remarkably unchallenging series of immigration and border control targets in a "ten point plan" for 2008. Humorously described by the Home Office as "challenging", the plan consists largely of low targets, targets already …
You can lose prisoners for the simple reason prisons must release them unless there is legal authority to hold them (prison governors can be charged with unlawful imprisonment just like anybody else and it carries a very heavy sentence). So if HO fails to provide said authority for a foreign prisoner - they go free.
Needless to say, it would be wrong to dignify the way HO track these matters with the title "system", as any judge or prison governor can confirm. That's before you start on trivia like they have British spouses and small kids
2,000 colleges, 256 inspected, 124 bogus ?
For Heaven's sake that's almost 50% !!
Of course, nothing has been said about how the inspections were conducted and on what criteria the colleges were chosen for inspection, nor of the time span of the inspection period (is that 256 inspections in three months ? Six years ? A decade ?). It could be that the inspections were made on "suspicious" colleges only, in which case it would be a great demonstration of fine-tuned sleuthing and well-placed administrative effort.
Nah, can't be.
But if it's random inspections, then it's high time to put an end to student visas !
This does beg the question, though : why aren't colleges inspected BEFORE they are allowed to submit requests for visas ?
Re: 2,000 colleges, 256 inspected, 124 bogus ?
If you drill down through the related links on the BBC story you'll possibly find an investigation they did for R4 a year or two ago. As I recall they exposed a bogus college, reported it to the Home Office, then checked it again some months later and nothing had been done. I suspect they've actually only recently started checking, so the productivity rate mightn't be as grim as it looks. And the reason they don't check before authorisation is that they'd then have a huge backlog of colleges that needed to be checked NOW, no mechanism for granting prospective students visas, and therefore a savagely curtailed overseas student business.
A story to watch
This is shaping out nicely as an example of the hyperreal.
Do we assume...
... that 'foreign nationals' are only those from outside the EU? Or are we going to use our Schengen opt-out to allow this to cover EU nationals too?
I also assume they'll check *everyone* in and out, can't exclude UK Nationals without putting them through the system first to make sure they *are* UK Nationals.
Also the immigration stuff is a bit of a waste of time, as I don't see them cracking down on illegal immigration any time soon, properly implementing/enforcing the whole asylum system or working out any way of sorting out EU internal immigration - the latter is perfectly legal but also the source of much immigration volume & many perceived problems.
Let's face it, they fail to use what they already have, and can't do much about many of the most recent issues.
All they ever seem to manage to achieve is to cause problems for those who do play by the rules, or who shouldn't actually be covered at all.
Well that's just crap
I was looking forward to receiving my new Judenstern from the UK government this year.
Bastards! Get you all excited about being singled out from the crowd as something worthy of extra surveillance and then they go and push out the timeline.
Re: Do we assume...
The Schengen opt out doesn't cover that bit, which makes it interesting. Say all the signs are correct, and ID cards for UK citizens slide off the roadmap sometime in 2009. The UK is treaty bound to treat all EU citizens equally, so if there's no longer an intent to issue cards to UK citizens, cards cannot be issued to other EU citizens either. So it becomes a non-EU citizen card only, or likely non-EEA. Even without the cards, if they actually get e-borders up and running to spec, AND get on top of their database issues, we've still got the Big Brother problem to worry about, though, because the card itself is only a bit of plastic.