Friday, 18 September 2009

Belgian regularisation begins - and Ireland introduces "bridging visas"

Belgium's regularization programme began on Tuesday and will continue until the middle of December, during which time thousands of undocumented migrants will be brought back within the scope of the law. Like the Strangers into Citizens proposal, eligibility rests on length of stay in the country, ability to speak the language, and integration into the community.

Ireland has also recognised the need to bring undocumented migrants out of the shadows, by confirming earlier this week that they will be introducing "bridging visas". Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern announced that these visas, which give temporary legal residence, will be available for people who have become undocumented "through no fault of their own". Read more about it here - another country recognising the need for routes out of irregularity.

The Independent

Long-time ally of Strangers into Citizens, Independent journalist Amol Rajan discusses the campaign in this piece in today's Independent. It is only regularisation that will shrink the size of the UK's informal economy - as the piece notes, undocumented migrants are much less likely to return home than those who are here legally, and are more likely to be employed in less productive areas of the economy.

The arguments for regularisation are diverse and many: now it is time for politicians to respond to them.