Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has rubbished claims that the Home Secretary Theresa May is considering special UK immigration powers.
28 May 2012
Nick Clegg rubbishes talk of UK immigration shut down
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has dismissed talk that UK immigration officials are ready to close Britain's borders after Home Secretary Theresa May revealed her contingency plan should the Euro collapse.
As Greece looks set to leave the single currency and potentially go bankrupt, a mass exodus of Greek migrants is expected and, as Britain remains apart from the Euro, UK immigration experts are expecting London to be the destination of choice.
Being forced to allow potentially huge numbers of Greek migrants to enter the country freely without a UK visa could have severe consequences to the British economy and has politicians scrambling to address the prospect. Under single market rules within the European Union, citizens from any of the 27 states are permitted to enter, live and work anywhere within the union.
Reports over the weekend claimed Mrs May was prepared to use emergency powers to bypass EU law and prevent migrants from entering the UK, effectively sealing the borders.
However, while the deputy prime minister warned that Greece's exit could cause 'unpredictable, irrevocable damage' to the European economy, Mr Clegg rubbished claims Mrs May was considering exercising emergency powers and said the home secretary was purely 'keeping an eye on migration patterns'.
"I really do think some of the breathless talk in the media about 'do we pull up the drawbridge to stop hordes of people migration across Europe?' is both farfetched, somewhat apocalyptic in tone and deeply unhelpful, we are not there yet" said Mr Clegg.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, said any changes to immigration policy Mrs May is considering would be extremely difficult to achieve.
"The Government has always maintained that they could never do anything about EU migration as it was illegal to do so," said Mr Vaz.
"The home secretary is suggesting a short-term fix, whereas the euro zone crisis will be long-term and involve several countries.
"[Mrs May] will cause unnecessary panic as people in Greece seek to move to the UK before any new measures are put in place. This risks causing chaos at the borders just before and during the Olympics."
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.