back to article Blighty's Home Office database blunders will deprive hundreds of GB driving licences

The UK Home Office's dream of a database state – in which Theresa May's anti-immigrant policies can be automatically executed through SQL commands – now looks less likely. An independent review has slammed officials' for making critical mistakes through their handling of personal data. Hundreds of people have been refused …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Archibald Tuttle, not Archibald Buttle!!

    a new criminal offence of illegal working

    This reaches Terry Gilliam levels of utter absurdity. If illegal immigrants work, that's a plus. Check out France for countries where illegal immigrants DON'T work.

    And since when is it possible to revoke a driving license without going through proper court proceedings? Looks like the executive is out of control and fellating Mussolini.

    1. Michael Hoffmann
      Pint

      Re: Archibald Tuttle, not Archibald Buttle!!

      Clicked on comment to post just that reference to Brazil. Beer to you for thinking alike!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Archibald Tuttle, not Archibald Buttle!!

      " If illegal immigrants work, that's a plus"

      Not it isn't. It drives down wages for indigenous employees, and it makes life more comfortable and attractive in the UK for illegals. We want to make it as tough as possible for undesirables in this country so they don't still form queues in Calais because we are considered an easy touch compared to the rest of Europe....

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Archibald Tuttle, not Archibald Buttle!!

        Talk to huntapac, they risk going bankrupt due to lack of workers. They need minimum wage workers for packing veg. No locals will work there (simple work but plentiful). Once the students go back to uni tthey need foreign workers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Archibald Tuttle, not Archibald Buttle!!

          "They need minimum wage workers for packing veg. No locals will work there (simple work but plentiful). Once the students go back to uni tthey need foreign workers."

          Or they could simply pay a decent wage...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home office can revoke as much as it likes

    As long as UK is a signatory to the two conventions which allow driving with an international driving license and as long as there are insurers which will insure a driver with it it cannot do a thing. Unfortunately, the act closes the small side gate, leaving the gigantic barn door open.

    The people in question will go back to their home country, get an international driving license on the basis of their native one and come back.

    That used to be the standard modus operandi of Eastern Europeans before they joined the Eu. It is the standard modus operandi of the non-Eu migrants today. While in theory, they are not road legal as they are not entitled to drive more than one year with it, in practice there is no checks and on top of that there are insurers that will _RENEW_ a policy issued on the basis of an international driving license.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

      In Germany, if you have an EU or international license, you can use it for up to six months, after that you have to hand it in and get a German license. If you fail to do so and are caught, you can get up to a 1 year driving ban.

      I assumed that this would be the same all over Europe...

      1. The other JJ

        Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

        Are you sure an EU issued licence isn't valid until expiry (as is the case for an EU licence in Malta) but certainly a licence issued outside Europe varies in validity depending on host and issuing country but generally in the 3-12 month range. I say "licence issued outside Europe" because there's no such thing as an "international driving licence" despite what various scam sites may claim. There's an "international driving permit" which is essentially a translation of the driving licence to make it understandable to polis in other countries, but is not a licence in its own right but only when accompanied by the licence itself.

        http://www.snopes.com/autos/law/idp.asp

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

          The German licensing department told me that I needed to hand over my EU/UK driving license and I was automatically issued a German license to replace it.

          The rules might have changed last year, now that different countries can issue fines and points to license holders in different countries (and collect on them). When I came over in 2002, there was no way for German authorities to force foreign drivers to pay fines and there was no way of applying points issued in Germany to foreign licenses.

          Therefore, as I was resident in Germany, I had to hand over my UK license and get a German one. If I travel back to the UK for a short period (less than 6 months), then I can use my German license. If I move back to the UK permanently, then I can apply for my UK license to be given back to me, in exchange for my German license.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

            > The German licensing department told me [....]

            > When I came over in 2002 [....]

            Did they tell you that fourteen years ago? Things have changed quite a bit since then.

            > [....] that I needed to hand over my EU/UK driving license and I was automatically issued a German license to replace it.

            That would be wrong, as UK licences are not valid for life (unless you pop it before 70, that is).

            > If I travel back to the UK for a short period (less than 6 months), then I can use my German license.

            And for longer than 6 months too.

            > If I move back to the UK permanently, then I can apply for my UK license to be given back to me, in exchange for my German license.

            You certainly can, but you don't have to, as long as your German licence remains valid (15 years from issue, or 2033, depending on when you got it).

            > now that different countries can issue fines and points to license holders in different countries (and collect on them).

            That is not the case, unless there is a bi-lateral agreement between individual countries. I know France and Belgium are working on that, but nothing has been signed so far. I am not aware of any such agreements, thought there might well be. In any event, that is currently outside of the scope of EU law.

            Head over here to brush up on EU driving licence legislation: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32006L0126.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

        > In Germany

        ... you can use any valid EU licence for as long as you like, same as elsewhere in the EU, as per EU law (that I can't be bothered to reference right now).

        I am surprised you would have been told otherwise by German authorities, although that misconception is still occasionally present (albeit just as wrong) in other countries such as France and Spain.

    2. M7S

      Re: Home office can revoke as much as it likes

      Re: Insurers renewing policies, in the UK they do this on the basis that you assert you have a valid licence as part of the contract entered into, or that you disclose pertinent information such as points, pending prosecutions etc. If you make a claim, and that turns out not to be the case, then they are entitled to refuse to pay.

      There's no obligation, yet, on insurers to check your licence status before issuing a policy, and I know in regards to fleets I am covered to drive for, that any checks are internal to cover ourselves.

  3. Queeg

    I refer you to an earlier comment

    Both hand...Map...Guide Dog...GPS Unit.....Arse

    Nuff said again

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Arse about face

    Seems to me if an illegal immigrant is working they will at minimum be contributing to the economy via VAT, if they have a bank account then that provides HMRC a route to taxing them ( assuming the tax man can be arsed to look into odd bank accounts rather than persecuting normal honest tax payers), otherwise with no bank account it reinforces the likelyhood of all their work and earnings to be part of the black economy.

  5. batfastad

    Internet Connection Records.

    See title.

  6. cantankerous swineherd

    police state here we come

    soon to be rolled out to the aboriginal population.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: aboriginal population..

      Ah, so you've been to Clacton then?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    259 individuals

    isn't it a small price to pay for putting GREAT back in Great Britain?! Particularly as we're not paying the price?!

    PLUS, 259 is positively encouraging. I would imagine it'd be like... 50% mis-match. With this... this is great start! Hurrah for the independeence! :/

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: 259 individuals

      Hard to know if you are being serious or sarcastic.

      259 is 259 too many. Just think about it, one day you find your bank account has been closed and your driving licence revoked. Now what ?

      Will your creditors, such the the mortgage company, take the attitude "that's OK Mr AC, we'll give you all the time you need to deal with this misunderstanding" or will they tell you "Sorry Mr AC, your mortgage is being called in, you've got until next Wednesday to repay it" ? If you're renting, then expect to be getting a notice to quit quite quickly after you stop paying the rent - or when the landlord is told you're an illegal immigrant and he gets a £3000 fine (or possibly even prison under new proposals) if he doesn't serve a S21 notice on you immediately.

      Your employer isn't too likely to be impressed either - once you are declared an illegal immigrant then your employer has no option but to sack you.

      So there you are - freshly out of a job, no money, no home, and fighting to clear your name from a presumption of guilt. But look on the bright side, when they round you up, you'll have a roof over your head in the detention centre.

      Personally, I think that not one person should have to go through any of that. That officials seem to think it's a price worth paying is doubly bad. It's certainly not what I think "Great" Britain should be about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 259 individuals

        take a guess, ref. sarcasm.

      2. bep

        Re: 259 individuals

        Yep, the majority of people in the Western world these days are two pay days away from the street. If you live at home with your parents, it's possible THEY are two pay days away from the street. Banking is an essential service these days, as bankers realised long ago and charge accordingly, and an essential service should not be denied or removed without an appeals process.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 259 individuals

      259 is a good start, but now it's time to send these bloody anglo-saxons back to Germany!

  8. C. P. Cosgrove
    WTF?

    Total xenophobia !

    This fear of immigrants - illegal or not - sickens me. The UK is getting totally paranoid on the subject. I've been running around Europe first as a haulier and now as a tourist since 1990 and west of the German - Czech border, with one exception, the only place I ever have a passport examined is coming into the UK. And in 36 years I have never been asked for a driving licence !

    All this type of action will do is drive illegal immigrants further underground and further into the arms of criminal organisers with even bigger problems consequently.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Total xenophobia !

      I had my passport examined today, just this morning at Dublin Airport. On a journey that started and ended in the CTA.

      1. mickaroo

        Re: Total xenophobia !

        I don't know what the CTA is, or it's relevance here, but maybe having your passport examined in Dublin has something do with Eire (like the U.K.) not being part of the Schengen Zone.

        I'm a U.K. citizen living overseas, and my passport is checked every time I enter the U.K..or Ireland, irrespective of whether I've come directly from overseas or via the E.U. However, I travel widely inside the Schengen Zone without having my passport checked except on initial entry.

        And 259 innocent people having their licenses revoked is 259 too many: "That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer". Or something...

        1. nematoad Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Total xenophobia !

          "I don't know what the CTA is..."

          CTA is the Common Travel Area introduced in 1922 after The Republic of Ireland (nee Irish Free State) became independent. It allows free travel between the two islands but is, to my knowledge, not in force at airports. There as far as I can recall you do have to show your passport.

          When living in Ireland I frequently came back to the UK for holidays and on a number of occasions I was waved into a side area where I was grilled by anonymous police types concerning where I was going, why I was coming into the UK etc. etc. This happened as far as I can recall three times in a row, which was infuriating as I had other connections to make and a tight time scale to do it in.

          So "security" will be capricious and give you the third degree if they feel like it. Because they can.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Total xenophobia !

            When travelling by ferry between the UK and Ireland I've never had to show my passport. When travelling by plane I've had to do everything short of bend over (although I was tempted to do that when told to stand still in front of a one-way mirror in an oddly narrow corridor in Bristol Airport).

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Total xenophobia !

        The CTA between Ireland and the UK, AFAIK, means that you can travel between the two countries without a passport. However, you will still need some form of identity document when boarding a plane, and in practice, this is usually going to be your passport.

        When entering the UK from Eire, depending on which airport you are flying onto and whether they can be arsed to route you through the right gate, you may find you don't go through passport control.

        Every time I have flown to Dublin (which is quite a few as my partner used to live there), I have been routed through passport control. However, unlike UK airports, they are friendly, fast and efficient there. (cf the 30 minute hellqueue when entering the UK via Gatwick). Come to think of it, efficient and friendly is the experience I have had at most European airports. This probably tells you all you need to know about Ms May's border policies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Total xenophobia !

      "This fear of immigrants - illegal or not - sickens me."

      I think you are confusing fear with widespread distain and dislike...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stasi nation

    Theresa May is rubbing her clit in glee at this 1984 state control

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Stasi nation

      And thanks for that image, now where can I get a couple of hundred gallons of brain bleach?

      It's no wonder the Scottish parliament are trying to get another devolution referendum going, who would want to be associated with such a poisonous government?

      We need an election as soon as possible, ideally a complete hard reset of parliament. No one allowed to stand who has previously & the current parties dissolved. It'll cause chaos for a bit, but chaos is better than many years of May & all being considered representatives of a Nazi state.

      Ack, still need that brain bleach, the thought of May rubbing one in, is enough to turn a girl straight!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Stasi nation

        "We need an election as soon as possible, ... May & all being considered representatives of a Nazi state"

        You've clearly forgotten that what they're doing is responding to what they believe was the expressed will of a majority or the electorate, albeit a narrow one, as expressed in the referendum. Assuming for a moment that that belief was correct* how do you think a general election would change matters?

        *I'd like to think it isn't but he spate of xenophobic assaults since the referendum result is far from reassuring.

        1. Jemma Silver badge

          Re: Stasi nation

          I don't think that the brexit referendum was over whether we should have a proven right wing nutcase in power, it was about staying in or going out of Europe. I don't remember any democratic election that brought our new Fuhrerin into power. Those situations are entirely separate things, excepting that the one has made the other unutterably worse.

          I also wonder how many of the reported racist attacks would have even been on the radar pre brexit..

          If we hard reset parliament with no one over 45 we might actually get a representative sample of what the people actually want, instead of crusty old flakes with pre dementia and incontinence pants who'd be better off starring in a reboot of Blackadder (although no one would believe the script). The irony is that all the crusties in power at the moment, when they aren't trying to start ww3, are spending a huge amount of time putting the boot into their fellow crusties..

          Don't you just love the many splendoured craphole that is modern England?

          1. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: Stasi nation

            parliament with no one over 45

            Well, speaking as someone well over the age of 45, but fortunately still in control of my bladder, I suppose I may be predisposed to find fault with your argument. Two flaws that are immediately apparent are:

            1/ The majority of voters are crusty old flakes

            2/ The swivel-eyed loons on the parliamentary right have been swivel-eyed loons from birth

            There has been a long-standing transfer of wealth away from younger people towards the elderly - none of which, incidentally, is going to fund their care needs - in what seems to me to be a glaring exercise in buying votes. Most of that started under Blair (who was 43 at the time he became PM), so it wasn't a case of crusties helping themselves - however it does seem to have fostered a sense of entitlement to which politicians are now increasingly in thrall.

            What does seem to be missing is any meaningul response from the younger generation - and, given University debt, unaffordable housing and the "gig economy" you would expect vociferous opposition. I always suspected that may be because there was always, at least in theory, an "escape route" abroad to dream of, but I must have been wrong, because, now that has been cut off, there still isn't much response save disappointed resignation.

            Oh, and grumbling on Twitter. Or joining up with Corbyn/Momentum, which is essentially the same thing.

            It's your future. It's your job to do something about it.

            1. Maty

              Re: Stasi nation

              'There has been a long-standing transfer of wealth away from younger people towards the elderly'

              Not necessarily so. Interest rates at the moment are lower than inflation, which means that those on fixed incomes or saving for pensions are getting right royally screwed. The elderly usually benefit from interest on their savings, but currently they're running on capital.

              Meanwhile, it's the millenials who are borrowing cheap money at rock-bottom rates to buy houses, cars and yes, a better education. In other words, in the topsy-turvey world central bankers have given us, nothing really works the way it did (or should).

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Stasi nation

            What is really needed is a hard reset of the way any government or opposition communicates its activities to the electorate. What we need is actual truth, but what we get from the variously polarised media outlets is shit-stirring. Consequently we have a broken democracy, millions of hysterical gullible twats crying and wetting their pants, hopeless people in government and even more hopeless people being offered for opposition.

          3. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Stasi nation

            Difficult though this may be for the clear-thinking majority to understand, this is nothing to do with Brexit.

            We are not out of Europe. We have not yet requested to leave Europe. This is nothing to do with avoiding or rescinding EU law. This, in fact has nothing at all to do with Europe. Without a referendum, without Brexit, this would still be.

            We also don't vote for a president or prime-minister, we vote for parties. If you don't like the party in power, vote for a different one. I think that would be a good thing.

            >If we hard reset parliament with no one over 45 we might actually get a representative sample of what the people actually want

            I was going to say I'm speechless, but I've come to expect such statements. Even so, the logic failures and the inability to accept that anyone else might have a valid point of view are still depressing. The utter self-centredness of dismissing anyone who disagrees with my point of view as a non-person is increasingly common. Tolerance for all - unless you disagree with me!

            The median age of the UK is rising. In 2014 it passed the 40 years mark. How does anyone come to the conclusion that by barring anyone 45 and over from being in government, we'd get "a representative sample of what people want"? Using the referendum as an example, you might not like the result, but it is about as pure a representation of "what the people want" as you will ever get - far more representative than parliament (with its lobbyists) which mostly opposes leaving the EU. So what do you want? A representative government or a government elite which ignores the people?

            None of this is to support the abhorrent legislation proposed. However, actions speak louder than words. What do you truly, effectively, believe in? To what do "the people" devote more of their time - selfies, facebook and x-factor, or political campaigning for a kinder government? Which do people really value more?

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Stasi nation

          "An election as soon as possible" would be a promise, not a threat, to the present government.

          They'd like nothing better than to go head to head against the present opposition.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stasi nation

          "May & all being considered representatives of a Nazi state"

          Even if that were true, it's still better for the country than the socialist scumbags that we would get with Corbyn...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what's it to be ?

    ... Claiming political asylum and a passport in Scotland or in Ireland?

    The Ireland route has the advantage that one will no longer be a bonded serf of the Prince of Leichtenstein (*)

    * = [under the Jacobite Succession.]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd get an Irish passport for the hell of it

      even though I intend to stay here... problem is I'm not actually Irish at all. I'm 1/4 Austrian, but I don't think Austrian passports are as easy to get.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what's it to be ?

      > Claiming political asylum and a passport in Scotland or in Ireland?

      The former, assuming they don't bottle it again when they have their new referendum*.

      *Which would seem to be a certainty, assuming that May's current Brexit means Belarus model rhetoric is not just a ploy to really tank the pound for the benefit of the Tories' currency speculating mates, before an announcement of not doing anything stupid after all.

  11. The_Idiot

    How long...

    ... before some 'genius' comes up with the (to them) obvious answer?

    Bolt reported that due to “a mixture of human error and [Home Office] data quality

    Wait for it. "We can fix this! We'll fire all the humans (so less 'human error'), and you (parliament) can give us more powers to gather more data! If we gather enough, then some of it will be better quality, right?"

    Sigh.

  12. Tomato42 Silver badge
    Meh

    Criminal proceedings

    "meaning the Home Office can seize wages as proceeds of crime for the first time."

    I'm assuming that this will be the wages of the employers of the illegal immigrants? Doesn't it take two to tango?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Immigrants scewing up a country?

    we should never have let them Angles and Saxons in, you know. Bloody Anglo-Saxons. Should all bugger off back to Nothern Europe, the lot of them, including their descendants.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I checked out the Act

    And the introduction says what it is:

    “ An Act to make provision about immigration law; to limit, or otherwise make provision about, access to services, facilities and employment by reference to immigration status; to make provision about marriage and civil partnership involving certain foreign nationals; to make provision about the acquisition of citizenship by persons unable to acquire it because their fathers and mothers were not married to each other and provision about the removal of citizenship from persons whose conduct is seriously prejudicial to the United Kingdom’s vital interests; and for connected purposes. ”

    It utterly fails to explain WHY though, which is what the introduction is supposedly for.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway, I have a question

    Are the cabinet really so far out of their minds as it looks? I mean, what is the purpose of all this?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Anyway, I have a question

      Yes.

      The "purpose", as with about three-quarters of what they do currently, is to appease this bloke.

      And it's easy to belittle that, but it's a mistake - because he's a real bloke and up until June he'd been feeling pretty disenfranchised for the past 20 years or so. If people feel their votes are being ignored, that's when life gets really dangerous. It's got nothing to do with substance, and everything to do with perception.

  17. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    $DROP_DATABASE GB$

    redo from start

  18. martinusher Silver badge

    Much ado about nothing

    The UK has relatively lax bureaucracies, which isn't to say that they can't be incompetent, bloody-minded or even both but rather that there's nothing baked into the institutions that's particularly Kafkesque. This reference was sent to me by my son-in-law....

    http://www.bucharestlife.net/2016/09/registering-a-car-in-romania/

    ...and I came across this little piece in the Los Angeles Times as a nice little tale of what happened to a visa overstayer in India (compare and contrast to what would happen to an Indian overstaying by a few days in the US or UK).....

    http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-tr-india-20160906-snap-story.html

    England, like the US, is a preferred target for immigrants of all types precisely because of its relatively lax bureaucracy -- the lack of ID cards, DNIs and so on makes it easy to disappear into the background. Attempts by governments to tighten things up (rather ham-fisted attempts in the UK, it seems) gets a chorus of 'racism', 'its not fair' and so on but realistically all they're trying to do is institute the same sorts of controls over residence and work permitting that are common elsewhere. It's worth exploring some of this EU open borders stuff because I think you will find that it really isn't quite as open as it looks -- unless you're a corporation.

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