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30,000 illegal Pakistanis 'missing' in United Kingdom

07 July, 2012

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LONDON: The Pakistan High Commission in London said it knew nothing about more than 30,000 Pakistanis who had been refused permission to stay in Britain and whose whereabouts were unknown to the British authorities.

According to official documents obtained by the our sources, the chief immigration inspector of the UK Border Agency disclosed for the first time the existence of a backlog of more than 150,000 cases involving people who had been refused permission to stay in Britain. According to the documents, British chief inspector of immigration, John Vine disclosed the existence of the UK Border Agency's national "migration refusal pool" during his first inspection of a local immigration team. He expressed his concerns and said that it was being impossible to know whether the 150,000 were still in Britain or had left voluntarily.

Vine said in his report that the "migration refusal pool" concerned cases where applications, for instance from students, had been made in the UK to remain, and had been refused. "Applicants are given notice that they must leave the UK within 28 days. The cases are officially described as work in progress."

The inspectors say that the list includes people who have failed to leave Britain, those who have applied to stay under another category, those who have outstanding legal appeals, and those who have already left the country but by a route not covered by the e-borders computer database. Vine revealed that local immigration staff were confused about how many cases in the pool they were supposed to be chasing.

A source in the UK Border Agency told our sources that a large number of Pakistanis who were in the "refusal pool" had not even been formally served with the documents informing them that they had to leave Britain within 28 days. The Pakistan High Commission seemed to be least bothered about the fate and welfare of the 30,000 missing or underground people. When this scribe contacted Pakistani High Commissioner in the UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan, he actually thanked him for informing him about the development. When our sources contacted the welfare officer at the Pakistan High Commission, Balakh Sher Khosa, he said, "I don't know about these Pakistanis. I will try to find out and will let you know. You had better ask the high commissioner."

A large number of Pakistanis living in the UK have complaints about the indifference of these diplomats. Nobody knows about the condition of the Pakistanis mentioned missing by the British authorities. There is no information if they have food, shelter, money or access to health care.

Situation is not different at other Pakistani missions around the globe. A senior immigration expert Syed Rashid Masood said, "When most of the failed asylum seekers attend the Pakistani foreign mission in the UK, their application to have their Pakistani passports issued are rejected on the basis that they do not have any right to remain in the UK. I'm puzzled to note that why the Pakistani government fails to honour its international obligations to its citizens. However on direct contact from UKBA to Pakistani foreign mission, the travel documents are issued forthwith to implement the removal directions of individuals. Furthermore, needless to say that Pakistani overstayers in the UK remain here in the hope of Home Office concession which usually follows every three to four years, such as we have recently seen amnesty and legacy policies."

British Immigration Minister Damian Green said, "We are working to create a hostile environment which makes it much harder for migrants to live in the UK illegally."

The Home Affairs Select Committee of the British Parliament chairman said that senior UKBA officials should be banned from getting bonuses until the organisation makes serious improvements.

End.

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