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Facts, Worries about New UK Immigration Laws

Aug 1, 2008, 7:56 AM | Article By: By Alagie Mbye from London

Following the last week publication of a report detailing the reactions and concerns of immigrant communities in the United Kingdom, especially Gambians, a continuation of the statement of facts and worries has been sent by our London correspondent. According to the latest, the Immigration Minister of UK, Liam Byrne, has said that the current take-up rates for British citizenship were low among certain foreigners such as Filipinos, Australians and Americans, who, he disclosed, account for 50 per cent, 49 per cent and 40 per cent respectively. He added: "There are some residents from some parts of the world who are languishing in limbo for some considerable period of time. This is the kind of circumstances the government said it is trying to sort out in a responsible and fair manner."

The above statement is part of a report prepared by our London correspondent on the new United Kingdom Immigration laws in relation to illegal migration.

According to this reporter, whatever the case, with the new proposal, winning citizenship will take at least six years from the time someone arrives in the UK, a year longer than at present. The new stage is what is known as "probationary citizenship". It is made known that any migrant who does not take part in certain community work will have to wait longer. Therefore such individuals may have to wait for the existing five years plus a minimum of three years' probation.

The proposed rules will soon become binding and will then affect not only prospective African immigrants but all other nationals who wish to become British citizens.  However it is interesting to note that such rules will not be applicable to European nationals including those from the Eastern European countries, which recently became part of the EU.

The report nevertheless commended the country for being successful in integrating new arrivals and providing important facilities such as education, employment and a better life for thousands of immigrants. The government has always insisted that it wants to encourage a fair and better system where law-abiding foreigners who deserve assistance are properly taken care of.

Whatever the conclusion of the report, these important new changes, according to the Green Paper, will only apply to new arrivals after the new laws are passed, and not to foreigners already living in the UK. It is pertinent to indicate that some of the new reforms are only likely to affect migrants arriving from 2010. Meanwhile a draft Bill proposal is due this summer, with full legislation expected in November. The debate intensifies and of course many Gambians still in clouds of doubt.