Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Asylum corruption exposé shows Blair's failure to close down this route of bogus immigration

Exposés don’t come more spectacular than that of Immigration Service worker Joseph Dzumbira and his in-house (and out-sourced) accomplices. He couldn’t have been caught more red-handed if he’d slit his own wrists.
Since I kick-started two years ago the unravelling of the total fiasco that is the immigration and asylum ‘system‘, I knew there were lots of beans to spill -- and believe me there are plenty more. But just as I was starting to think that things really couldn’t get that much worse for the Government ….. they just did.
As a former immigration caseworker myself, I immediately recognised the core fact of this latest scandal: that nobody checks if someone is from the country they claim they’re from.  We had no training whatsoever in what the passports of all the various countries looked like -- even what colour the cover should be -- and very few staff were given any training in forgery detection. So how could we check that any application to us was above-board?
I used to work in a part of the IND (Immigration & Nationality Directorate) called Managed Migration -- great joke name -- handling the full range of immigration applications. We didn’t meet would-be migrants face-to-face like Dzumbira met his asylum applicants, but we had plenty of knowledge of Dzumbira’s colleagues in the aptly named Lunar House at Croydon.
The ineptitude of Lunar House staff was legendary: necessary computer case-notes were ultra brief (if there were any at all), often cryptic, ungrammatical and leaving us in the dark about anything much about how the applicant had previously been dealt with. As it was for us, pay was appallingly low, and because of this and the location out at Croydon, recruitment and retention of staff was a major problem. The Home Office was bound to end up with plenty of duds.
We did meet face-to-face one of Dzumbira’s colleagues: a man originally from Ghana gave us all a day-long ‘asylum awareness’ training day. We looked forward to this because it wasn’t the usual equal opportunities and diversity baloney: we thought we might learn something. Well his English was so bad nobody could understand more than the odd word he said! I complained that he did not get to first base as someone fit to have a teaching role, and for that I was threatened with a disciplinary interview for racism!
The Home Office is riven with political correctness fascism, which is the big backlash against ordinary people by the political classes because we all just kept up with the Joneses instead of thinking politics like them. The Home Office likes to employ and promote non-whites (and women, gays, disabled). They reckon it a bonus if they can find (ex-)nationals from the parts of the world where applicants most often come form. The problem is that in Africa corruption in public administration is endemic. So if you employ people who formerly lived there or are connected with people there, then you run the risk of the same sort of corruption becoming embedded in our own Civil Service. If you employ them just where their fellow nationals would find them most useful to be corrupt -- in immigration -- then what do you expect?
Remember the case recently of a senior Home office immigration officer who was found to be himself an illegal immigrant?
I personally handled many very suspicious applications from African nationals claiming to want to come here as students. I was not allowed to scrutinise these -- I was hauled in for interview and told not to do necessary checks because it took too long and ... get this ... because it was not my job! Was this so that would-be migrants didn’t need to try the asylum route and so spoil Tony Blair‘s targets for reduced asylum figures?
Tony Blair has been telling us that he’s closed off the asylum route for bogus immigration. The Sun newspaper's exposé has shown as clearly as it could that he hasn’t.

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