ILLEGAL immigration and the consequent loss of life will continue so long as the high price of a ticket for the passage is perceived as a sound investment.

This depends upon the prospects for gaining illegal employment, on the likelihood of being caught and the extent to which this would disrupt further employment, on being able to conserve much of the income from a very low wage by subsisting in housing conditions which should be regarded as unacceptable here and the ease with which the funds accumulated can be returned home. The motivation could be weakened by action at every link in this chain.

Employers of illegal labour could be jailed and their businesses closed down. Greater effort could be made to detect and apprehend illegal workers.

They could then serve a term of imprisonment before being deported rather than simply being deported or bailed pending deportation, in either case to return speedily to illegal work.

The minimum wage legislation could be supplemented or replaced by a minimum living standard, including housing, so it becomes illegal to use a work force living in this country in Third World conditions. The international transfer of money could be more tightly policed.

In reality, however, political interest in such immigration is only concerned with fobbing off and pacifying those of the public who object to it or with harnessing their anger to other purposes.

John Riseley, Harrogate