If you are planning to stay in the UK, think twice, and if you have overstayed or are living illegally, be on guard as the Home Office has reinforced efforts to pursue illegal immigrants with about 140 arrests done so far.
Although the crackdown has been widely criticised after a pilot campaign using billboards on vans, posters and leaflets to warn illegal immigrants, depicted a conflicting message, the UK Border Agency, UKBA staff are now carrying out street spot checks, especially at popular places like train stations.
The controversial message on the four vans sent out in the North London, read: “In the UK illegally?” “Go home or face arrest”.
The message on giant billboards also provides a text number, 78070, for which willingly illegal immigrants can seek free advice and help for travelling documents back home.
While the “Go Home” in the message has been labelled to be racist, as only non-whites are targeted, reports from 10 Downing Street, said the pilot scheme has been successful.
Immigration has remained a hotly debated political topic in the UK, as the Home Office has been blamed on several occasions of being too sagging at handling the cases of people caught to have over-stayed or living without documents in the country.
Others criticisms have been on the treatments offered to immigrants on forceful deportation as cases of dead or injuries have been reported.
While the recent campaigns to crackdown unlawful foreigners are being extended to other parts of the country, after London, Durham, Manchester and Somerset, some critics believed those targeted are most coloured people – Arabs, Asians and Africans.
British Vice-PM, Nick Clegg has also joined the camp against the “Go Home” scheme said to be very embarrassing to some of the people questioned or threatened with arrest, but the Home Office has maintained its stance that the message has no racist drive.
According to a spokesperson for the Home Office, there is no apology for enforcing immigration laws.
UK, harder to enter, hell to stay
Most immigrants surely have different stories to tell about the experience of getting a UK visa from abroad as conditions and demands are constantly changing.
For students it is even a very difficult adventure to dream of if your pockets are not heavy enough to keep you in the classroom as well as sustain your stay during the programme.
After successfully getting a visa and a place to study, the next agenda is often a lookout for ways to stay for a while to raise money before returning home.
However, because some scrupulous students abused the privilege to study in the UK, by opting not to go school or study at all, but to chase the Pound, the immigration law for studying has equally been hardened to thaw any intension to stay in the UK.
Universities, colleges and other institution of studies are being closely monitored by officials from the Home Office to ensure that students on studying visa are actually attending classes and are ready to leave at the end of their studies.
As a result, some goodwill schemes like the Fresh Talent introduced a few years back to give two years for postgraduates to work in the UK, have now been scrapped.
Apart from students, people who either came in as visitors and do not want to return or smuggled their way in through various unlawful channels, conditions have been made even frustrating for them.
Employers who knowingly recruit illegal workers are now heavily fined, just as landlords who accept illegal immigrants as tenants.
With UK – Great Britain Isles and Northern Ireland – being a very small country by geographical size, to hide from very vigilant police, immigration officers and CCTV cameras everywhere, chances of overstaying or hanging on without working documents are now reduced even to nothing.
Though some smart immigrants now use asylum as the stepping stone, applying for one at the moment - when the government is very tight with its spending budget – is a suicidal mission since either the application is granted or the applicant is escorted or forced to leave within a given time.
While UK’s immigration rules have been tighten or reinforced, it does not mean that people or students cannot come to the UK or can apply to stay.
With the required paperwork and proof of funds to sustain the stay or studies, getting a visa or work permit should be straight forward in any embassy or British High Commission abroad.
With the success of the 2012 Olympics Games in London, the UK has become a favourable destination for tourists and first visitors.