Boris Johnson has said he is considering commissioning a study into the possibility of an amnesty for London’s estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants.
Speaking last night on Channel Four news the Mayor said he wanted to look at ways people who have been in the UK for a “very substantial period” could earn the right to stay and suggested “there might be some sort of financial obligations” that people would need to meet in order to qualify
However the Mayor appears to be at odds with his colleagues on the London Assembly. Last month Conservative Assembly Members voted against a motion calling for irregular migrants “who have been in the UK for many years” to earn UK citizenship.
The motion, proposed by Green Party AM Darren Johnson, called on the Mayor to join the Assembly in urging the UK Government to introduce “a one-off, time-limited, earned regularisation of suitable irregular migrants, many of whom live and work in London, which would allow those who have been in the UK for many years to be admitted to a two-year pathway to citizenship.”
At the time Labour members on the Assembly sought to embarrass the Tory AMs by playing up the fact that the BNP’s Richard Barnbrook had also voted against the motion.
Responding to Labour’s efforts Conservative AM Roger Evans told MayorWatch his group “believe the policy is unworkable without more details and stronger border controls to deal with the inevitable spike of people who would be tempted to follow the regularised migrants.”
Evans’s comments were echoed last night by Immigration Minister Phil Woolas who said the Mayor’s comments “might start with the best of intentions but will lead to more people traffickers making more money and exploiting more vulnerable individuals.”
On Friday Mayor Johnson and Assembly Chair Jennette Arnold hosted the first ever London-wide Citizenship ceremony at City Hall where they awarded a certificate and commemorative gifts to those taking their oath of allegiance.