There is always some interesting and thought-provoking news in the area of UK immigration and as the election approaches, the conversation is becoming more critical and sadly, also very toxic.

You may have heard about the recent story of the Zimbabwean grandparents who have been refused a visa to attend the funeral in Eastbourne of their five-year-old granddaughter.  She was tragically killed in a car accident just before Christmas. According to the granddaughter’s parents, the Home Office refused permission for the temporary visa because the grandparents (who are street traders), and her aunt (a hairdresser), who all wanted to attend the funeral, were deemed “too poor” and so would not want to go home.

The grandparents were even prepared to wear electronic tags and report regularly to a police station during their stay, but the Home Office apparently remained unconvinced.  According to the Home Office communications department, they were refused visas for three reasons – they had not previously travelled out of Zimbabwe, they could not demonstrate a regular income, and there was a danger they would abscond.

A decade ago the Home Office had also refused a Sri Lankan woman permission to enter the UK to donate a kidney to her daughter-in-law here, who was in end stage renal failure.  Medical tests had found the mother-in-law to be a match.  The Home Office expressed concern that the poor economic conditions in the country would act as an incentive for the mother-in-law to remain in the UK permanently, despite the fact that most of her family and friends were in her home country.  The case was eventually overturned on appeal.

While the government’s desire to manage immigration numbers and protect the resources of this country is plausible, to what extent can this go? Cases like these portray a complete lack of humanity and an extremist attitude towards immigration policy. Is the government taking things too far? As the Guardian newspaper quite correctly stated in a recent article: “When money and political expediency are prioritised over the nobler values that glue us together as human beings, it raises much deeper questions about the kind of society we have built.”

Of course the Government wants to ensure that out of control immigration does not burden those living in the UK, which is certainly a good thing. But even the ex Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration is criticising the current attempts to reduce immigration, saying that the Government is trying to control factors that it really has very little control over. They can’t control the numbers choosing to leave the UK on a permanent basis, and they can’t control those coming into the UK from the EU because of the freedom of movement act. No wonder they have come up with, in my opinion, unrealistic attempts to curb EU migration – that seems to be the main source of immigration into the UK at the moment.

Clearly, this is a hot topic in light of the General Elections being less than 100 days away. I’m eagerly watching, along with most of the UK electorate, to see what they attempt next!