18. Fifth supplementary memorandum
submitted by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Home
STRATEGY FOR TACKLING ABUSE IN MANAGED MIGRATION
This note provides a summary of key strategies
developed by Managed Migration Directorate (MMD) to tackle potential
abuse. There are four key strands in the approach:
As part of the wider IND strategy based on the
National Intelligence Model (NIM), we have created a single intelligence
unit to cover all managed migration workstreams. The unit has
staff at each of our three main sites (Liverpool, Croydon, Sheffield).
The key function of those staff is to develop intelligence packages
and conduct assessments of potential risks to the control so that
suitable counter-measures can be developed. For each of our four
main workstreams (employment, study, family and nationality) senior
operational managers chair monthly meetings to analyse "heatmaps"
which summarise trends in intake and decisions that might indicate
potential areas of abuse. Action to tackle potential abuse may
be taken by local managers. Significant or cross cutting issues
are referred to the Managed Migration Tactical Tasking and Co-ordination
Group, chaired at Senior Director level and including representation
from UKvisas, which meets monthly to review risks across Managed
Migration as a whole.
2. RISK BASED
The intelligence process outlined above provides
the basis for a risk based approach to casework. Certain categories
of application may be subject to additional casework checks, such
as pre-decision verification visits, where the intelligence indicates
that there is a higher risk of potential abuse.
In other circumstances, intelligence may require
changes to the management of casework teams to reduce the risk
of abuse. On the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, we have organised
our operation into country specific teams to enable caseworkers
to gain expertise on types of abuse prevalent in some countries.
We are working with the Risk Assessment Units at posts abroad
to check documents at source where we have concerns over authenticity.
Intelligence has led to concerns about the validity
of some certificates purporting to provide an assessment of proficiency
in English at ESOL level in support of Naturalisation applications.
Action is being taken to verify the actual ability of applicants
in those cases, for example by arranging a separate interview.
Changes have also been made to ensure that nationality applications
submitted by those abroad go via local posts so that suitable
identity and verification checks can be conducted locally.
To tackle abuse in the study route,
the Education and Training Providers register which is run by
DfES was introduced on 1 January 2005. DfES estimates that between
200-300 colleges, probably non-genuine, were not able to meet
the requirements for registration, and so were no longer able
to attract international students. Between April and December
2004 the Student Task Force visited 1,218 educational institutions
and 314 (25%) were found not to be genuine. All applications from
students to study at these institutions were refused. This work
resulted in around 10,000 fraudulent student applications being
avoided or refused and appropriate action taken on approximately
1,800 bogus students. Details of students granted leave to study
at colleges can be placed on appropriate IT systems so further
enquiries can be made when encountered.
The Student Task Force continues
to build on these successes by continuing to conduct compliance
visits where adverse information or intelligence is received about
a provider on the register or where the DfES make a request for
us to find out more information about a potential provider. Where
sufficient evidence of abuse is discovered a college can be removed
from the register and of the 45 further colleges visited in 2005,
21 were deemed non-genuine and removed from the Register. Since
June 2004, education providers have been encouraged to voluntarily
report discontinuation of study to IND and approximately 100 institutions
report to the Student Taskforce monthly. Investigations identify
those who have enrolled elsewhere. Those whose whereabouts are
not confirmed are flagged on IT systems so that further enquiries
can be conducted.
The Student Task Force is also conducting
the Joint Notification project with UKvisas and 38 volunteer institutions
from the education sector, to test options and processes, for
notification of discontinuation of study. The results of this
project are expected in March 2006 and will further our understanding
of the impact of this activity on the education sector and inform
decisions about whether this should be a mandatory requirement.
Certificates of approval for marriage
and closer working with registrars has substantially reduced the
number of sham marriages taking place. The numbers of reports
from registrars have dropped from 3,740 in 2004 to less than 200
since February 2005 when the new marriage provisions were introduced.
Dedicated marriage caseworking teams have been set up in Croydon
and Sheffield. These teams conduct an increased number of marriage
interviews (including marriage to EEA nationals). Also, a number
of high profile targeted enforcement operations aimed at sham
marriage fixers and participants have resulted in convictions.
In the London area alone, there have been 114 people arrested
in connection with taking part in or arranging sham marriages
during 2003-04. Of these 43 people were charged and given custodial
sentences of up to 18 months. The offences range from: conspiracy
to commit perjury; offences under the Immigration Act 1971; offences
under the Conspiracy Act. During 2004-05, 100 people were arrested
of whom 59 were charged and received sentences from three months
to nine years.
On the employment side, we have
compliance and validation teams who undertake visits to employers
to check they are complying with the work permit arrangements.
This may be in response to intelligence gathered on a particular
employer or as result of casework teams highlighting concerns
that need to be checked. Last year, we visited around 600 employers,
the findings range from minor breaches that can be rectified to
more serious instances of abuse. As a result, we have revoked
222 work permits issued to 61 employers. This had also led to
the curtailment of leave for 124 individuals.
4. BUILDING CAPACITY
Finally, we are increasing our capacity to identify
forged documents. Caseworkers who decide Right of Abode applications
can refer documents for examination if there are any doubts over
the authenticity. Dedicated Forgery Teams will be operational
in Liverpool by September 2006 and Croydon by the end of the year.
The National Document Fraud Unit, working in partnership with
our team in Sheffield has already proved very effective, for example
Lithuanian passports presented through the Worker Registration
Scheme over a two week period resulted in the successful prosecution
of 12 individuals.
27 February 2006