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Economic downtrend will affect irregular migrants in UK

Started by sajiv, Feb 11, 2009, 03:56 PM

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sajiv


Chennai: British Deputy High Commissioner Mike Connor has averred that the growing economic downtrend was expected to worsen the living conditions of irregular migrants in the United Kingdom.

Speaking at a function organised up by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for release of its study on illegal migrants from Tamil Nadu to the United Kingdom here last evening, he said irregular migrants to the UK would not get the quality of job or the pay promised by the agents.

They live in dreadful conditions and at times they are not even able to pay the their debts to the agents. Sadly, the economic slowdown will make their life even worse, he added.

Observing that the UK was a key destination for both regular and irregular migrants from India, Mr Connor said nearly 20 per cent of the global visa applications were from India, which was an important source of skilled migrants.

He said the UK was having a record number of Indian students, a majority of them from south India. The number of students from India has increased by 30 per cent last year.

Releasing the study, Chief Secretary K S Sripathi called for strengthening of laws to ensure that agents or sub-agents facilitating illegal migrations were dealt with firmly.

He said India was also facing the problem of illegal migrants from countries like Bangladesh due to "porous" border.

Addressing the issue of irregular migration from Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police K P Jain said, "last year we detected 316 cases of illegal migration of which 240 were from Chennai airport, 63 from Tiruchirapalli and 13 from Coimbatore." Describing this as just a tip of the iceberg, he said agents and sub-agents who smuggle these migrants were well networked and work with perfect coordination.

"More than the migrants, the agents' network should be cracked down, as they not only work against nation's interest but also cheat poor migrants by not guaranteeing the promised job," he added.

Mr Jain also called for a relook on the policy of issuing visas.

"Illegal migration happens as migrants occupation is categorised as unskilled profession and hence Visa not being issued. If visa polices are reworked, quick and firm actions are taken against smuggling agents, we will be able to curtail illegal migration to a great extent," he added.

The study said the profile of irregular migrants constituted youth from agricultural and rural families who could afford the high cost of irregular migration. More than 90 per cent were men and about 43 per cent were in the age group of 21-30 years.

The primary reasons for irregular migration cited in the study were the high rate of unemployment and the general attitude among youth that migration was a better alternative.

The study also revealed that irregular migration was not considered a stigma among families. On the contrary, it was considered status enhancing. Irregular migrants attempted to go to 35 destination countries, with Europe and UK being the most favoured destination.

There were also large number of cases of irregular migration to Italy, Spain and France, the study revealed.

The Modus operandi of agents included jacket substitution of passports, photo substitution, fake foreign visas, re-stitched passports, forged passports, forged residence permits, exchange of boarding cards in security areas, forging stamps, among others.


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