Thinktank eyes illegal immigrant amnesty

Britain’s illegal immigrant problem will only be solved if the government allows non-citizens to purchase their legalised status, a thinktank believes.

CentreForum says a £5,000 fee, to be paid in five annual instalments, should be considered to help solve the problem of Britain’s illegal immigrants.

It believes already scarce resources need to be targeted at those who pose a “genuine security threat” and that earned amnesty is a viable solution for those who deserve to stay.

Report co-author Will Somerville said security, social cohesion and prosperity would all improve if the move was pushed through.

“Deporting all Britain’s illegal immigrants is impossible. Any rational approach to the problem must involve some form of regularisation,” he said.

“The best way to do this is through an earned amnesty.”

There are an estimated half a million illegal immigrants in Britain at present and the report argues it is impractically expensive to rigorously pursue all of them.

Instead a one-off three-tier process is proposed for implementation, beginning with background checks for all those putting themselves forward.

They would have to pay a non-refundable £5,000 to cover local government expenditure and fund additional investment in integration services.

“The fee of £5,000 may be perceived as high. It is not, however, intended as a barrier to participation,” the report states.

“For regularisation to be politically palatable, it must be self-financing in the immediate term.”

Once this process is complete applications for permanent resident would be made, with criteria including stable formal employment, the payment of taxes and a basic language test.

“A radical rethink of how best to deal with the estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants in the UK is long overdue,” the report concludes.

“The significant national security benefits that a well designed regularisation policy brings with it could provide the catalyst for the political realignment that will be required if such a policy forms part of a more nuanced approach to migration management.”