It seems Theresa May’s best hope of keeping the Irish border open – a promise made by her on becoming prime minister – is also her worst nightmare as far as illegal immigration is concerned.
The plan, it seems, is to pretend that EU citizens crossing the border from the Republic of Ireland, which is still an EU country, are only visiting the UK or doing business here before moving on again.
Businesses will be expected to find and eject illegal migrant workers – but they’re not good at that.
So it seems we’ll end up with a worse immigration system than we had as part of the EU.
Wasn’t Brexit supposed to solve that problem?
[It seems that] post Brexit, [the government] won’t put any extra checks on EU citizens who just want to visit the UK or do business here. The only visas will be for people who want to work.
The question is how we can then stop EU citizens who fail to get a work visa from working illegally. Here the government doesn’t yet have full answers. But its initial thinking seems to be that we should use the current approach of relying on firms to crack down on illegal workers. Companies that employ workers illegally can be heavily penalised if they are caught – unless they cooperate with the authorities, as Byron, the hamburger chain, did last month in a sting operation that rounded up migrants from Albania, Brazil, Nepal and Egypt.
The snag, of course, is that the current system isn’t terribly effective at stopping illegal migration.
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