Politics

Patel needs chief who ‘knows something about immigration’ to end Migrant crisis – expert

Priti Patel advised on tackling immigration by Saunders

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Kevin Saunders, who was the UK’s Chief Immigration Officer in Calais for 13-years, warned how in the ten-years since 2012, too many of the Director General’s of Immigration Enforcement at the Home Office have had little to no experience of immigration, experience that he argued is vital to fulfil their jobs to the standard required and to tackle the crisis in the Channel.

He explained how following a year of chaos in the English Channel, Ms Patel “could certainly get a Director General that knows something about immigration in place”.

Discussing the issue, he claimed the fact that so many Director General’s lack experience is a “big problem”.

Mr Saunders said: “Probably since 2012, the guy at the top has not been an immigration person.

“We have had a retired Chief Constable, we have had an Admiral, we have had a career civil servant!”

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He noted how the only people with experience of immigration affairs have been “interim” leaders who have only stayed in their role for around six-months.

Mr Saunder’s expressed his sheer amazement asking “God knows why” those with experience were not kept on in their roles because it would have been “the best idea in the world”.

The current Interim Director General of Immigration Enforcement is Tony Estaugh who was formerly the UK Director of Operations Immigration Enforcement.

He joined the Home Office from the Metropolitan Police in February 2014.

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Prior to Mr Estaugh, Tyson Hepple CB held the role from 2018-21.

He had never held a job outside of the Home Office.

Mr Saunders’ comments come as more than than 28,300 migrants have arrived in the UK by small boats from France in 2021.

That amounts to more than three times the 8,469 that landed in 2020.

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The crossings culminated in a tragedy towards the end of last year when 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank off Calais on November 24.

It comes as crossings have continued despite the hazardous winter weather which have seen the RNLI scramble dozens of boats to rescue those in trouble.

While UK Border Force rescued 67 people from a major incident involving at least two boats at 1.30am Christmas Day.

Tom Pursglove, minister for justice and tackling illegal migration has said the Government is working to reform its approach to people crossing the Channel through the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords.

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