When we talk about immigration we tend to focus on the UK, however, there are numerous countries across the globe that have the same immigration issues as us. Last week Australia tightened up its immigration after a stormy late-night debate in the upper house Senate.

The “temporary protection visas” (TPVs) grant refugees protection for up to three years but do not give them the right to settle in Australia for good. They could also be returned to their home country at the end of that period. The Australian government re-introduced these visas, used by previous conservative governments, to deal with a backlog of 30,000 asylum-seekers who arrived by boat. However they also pledged to increase the overall refugee intake by 7,500 and free hundreds of children held in detention.

Just like in the UK, Australia has an influx of immigrants who wish to settle there for a number of reasons including their own personal safety and financial situation. In today’s news one of the major headlines was the UK is now importing brick LAYERS on £1,000 per week! Builders are now hiring Portuguese labourers because there simply aren’t enough British staff and this not the only stand alone case where labour shortages is causing a greater need for immigrants to come to the UK. A similar labour shortage forced sandwich firm to recruit in Hungary Recruiters say there is a ‘severe shortage of skilled trades-people’ in the UK.

We often talk about citizenship and the rights of those with or without a British/EU passport, but today I wanted to know more about what are the hurdles and problems that ‘illegal’ immigrants face when they want to settle down in a country such as the UK?

I was joined by Pavan and Vicash from Duncan Lewis Solicitors who talked about the huge backlog of applications which is approximately 20 years!

More and more people are coming to the UK in the hope of having a better life, and were consequently scared of returning to their home in-case they were not allowed back.

Both guests emphasised the need to take the plunge and make an application to stay, if a person had indeed overstayed. They said that seeking a legal adviser to help with the process was paramount and to not give up.

I love tv shows such as CSI and I know that people who harbour fugitives are equally guilty of committing a crime. However, many people who sub-let rooms and accommodation to illegal immigrants could also experience difficulties. Does this make them equally guilty by having an illegal immigrant residing in their property?

The British government has launched a new directive which outlines the need for all landlords or estate agents to take copies of valid (in date) passports with the appropriate stamps in place, then allow someone to reside in their property. It is also equally important for employers who wish to hire people to work in their businesses to have a valid visa that actually ALLOWS them to work in the country. By hiring someone who is not legally permitted to work in the country the employer could face a fine up to £20,000. That’s a financial hit that I’m sure no employer would want to take.

Being an illegal immigrant can be a pretty scary time for some people who are unsure about where they stand in the eyes of the law, but it is important  to take legal guidance to ensure that one is not breaking the law and is also either given the help and support they need to stay or ultimately be sent back to their country.