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Mind your language

Mind your language

The flunky that writes the Home Office press releases really needs to tone it down and get a grip. One of the latest batches of press releases is entitled ‘Tough new rules target bogus colleges and education cheats‘. The words ‘bogus’ and ‘cheats’ are very strong indeed. Yet there is nothing in the press release that justifies their usage. And this is far, far from the first time. Home Office immigration press releases increasingly read like BNP pamphlets.

OK, some colleges failed to get licences from the Home Office to sponsor students under the new Tier 4 scheme of the Points Based System. There could be plenty of reasons why colleges failed to get licences, as the Home Office conditions are really rather onerous. Maybe some of those colleges do have deficient systems in some way, or their student monitoring does not meet the Big Brother requirements of the Home Office licences, or they did not fully understand the highly complex application process. That does not make them ‘bogus’, nor does it make their students ‘cheats’.

The use of this type of language is highly damaging to the immigration debate. Ministers and officials, eventually followed by the press, were eventually shamed into abandoning words like ‘bogus’ in relation to asylum seekers, yet now we see it cropping up about general migrants. It is aggressive, it adds heat rather than reason to the debate, it encourages a highly polarised, defensive worldview and it is often plain inaccurate.

Shame on the Home Office.

Free Movement

The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.

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